7 Best Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth According to an RDH

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Written by Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH Medically reviewed by Dr. Aierress Davis DDS 🔬 Evidence Based

Best Overall

Sensodyne Rapid Relief

Sensodyne is one of the top-recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
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Best Complete Protection

Colgate Sensitive

Colgate Sensitive toothpaste contains the maximum FDA-allowed anti-sensitivity active ingredient.
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Best Natural Sensitivity Toothpaste

Hello Sensitivity Relief Fluoride

Hello toothpaste has no dyes, artificial sweeteners, SLS sulfates, artificial flavors.
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Best Sensitive Whitening Toothpaste

Twice Sensitive Teeth Whitening

Twice toothpaste is cruelty-free and clean. It also doesn’t contain any SLS.
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Best Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth

Finding the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth is important for people with tender, hypersensitive teeth. Even if reading labels on oral care products seems a bit overwhelming, there are a couple of easy steps you can follow to find the best sensitive toothpaste for teeth in a matter of minutes. Knowing what to look for—and more importantly, avoid—can help you see significant results in a matter of days.

Regardless Of The Brand, Make Sure They Have This…

1. ADA Seal of Acceptance

How can you know whether or not you’re picking the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth? Look at the label. If it has the ADA seal of acceptance on the box, you know that it’s clinically proven to help with whatever the claim is on the packaging. In this case, tooth sensitivity. The ADA seal of acceptance usually takes about five years for a product to earn. Most dentists and hygienists will tell you to choose products with the ADA seal, as they can be trusted to work regardless of which brand it is.

2. Fluoride & Potassium Nitrate

Maybe you’re open to trying new products that don’t have the seal of approval yet. That’s ok too. The two things you want to make sure you look for are fluoride and potassium nitrate. Fluoride is important since it helps to remineralize enamel and protect the pores (tubules) responsible where sensations are targeting your tooth nerves. Next to fluoride, the potassium nitrate helps block those pores, preventing sensations from coming into contact with the nerves inside of them. As long as these ingredients are in the toothpaste, you’re headed in the right direction.[1]

3. Sensitivity Relief vs. Sensitive Whitening 

Some types of toothpaste for sensitive teeth will be a combination blend that is both for whitening as well as sensitivity. People who prefer to use whitening toothpaste but tend to get sensitive teeth from it may prefer using this type of product instead. Whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth is more of a maintenance product to help reduce new stain buildup without triggering sensitivity. On the other hand, if you’re purposely trying to treat sensitive teeth, it may be best to avoid any types of toothpaste that say “whitening” on them.

Best Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth

What are some of the top brands of toothpaste for sensitive teeth? If you haven’t talked with your dentist or hygienist, here are some safe products to try out on your own:


1. Sensodyne Rapid Relief Sensitive

Best Overall

 

Sensodyne is probably the top-recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This brand uses either potassium nitrate or fluoride. Bonus, most of them are free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which can sometimes irritate people’s mouths.

  • ADA-approved
  • Contains fluoride
  • SLS-free
  • Quick sensitivity relief
  • Mint

There are several different types of Sensodyne on the market. All of them are effective, but they have added perks like plaque control or whitening. When in doubt, go with the rapid relief sensitive toothpaste (“Rapid Relief” version), which can provide results in as quickly as 3 days. 

 

2. Colgate Sensitive

Best Complete Protection 

Colgate® Sensitive Complete Protection Toothpaste boasts that it contains the “maximum-strength FDA allowed anti-sensitivity active ingredient” in its product. Not only is it great for managing tooth sensitivity, but it also helps protect teeth against tartar buildup and cavities while it cleans. 

  • Clinically Proven Sensitivity Relief
  • Provides 24/7 Sensitivity Protection (with twice-daily brushing)
  • Maximum Strength FDA-allowed Antisensitivity Active Ingredient
  • Helps to Repair and Strengthen Painful Sensitivity and Weakened Tooth Enamel

People also say that it tastes good and leaves their breath feeling fairly fresh after using it, so that’s also a win!

 

3. Hello Sensitivity Relief Fluoride Toothpaste

Best Natural Sensitivity Toothpaste 

You can pick this toothpaste up at Ulta, Amazon, and Target. The cost-effective product also contains coconut oil for extra soothing relief while you’re using it. One of the perks of Hello Sensitivity toothpaste is that its naturally friendly ingredients also include fluoride. This is quite notable since a lot of “holistic” products tend to remove this essential mineral from their products, as it’s vital for healthy teeth.

 

4. Twice Sensitive Teeth Whitening with Fluoride

Best Sensitive Whitening Toothpaste 

 

If you have severe sensitivity, you want to go with a non-whitening sensitive toothpaste. Twice-sensitive toothpaste aids in preventing new stain buildup without triggering sensitivity.

  • Not ADA-approved
  • SLS-free
  • Plant-Based
  • Cruelty-free

 Twice toothpaste is cruelty-free and clean. It also doesn’t contain any SLS. Some people do complain about the lavender mint taste only tastes like mint, but it does leave a fresh feeling in your mouth. It also has a 7 PH which helps keep your microbiome in balance. 

 

5. Arm & Hammer Sensitive Teeth & Gums Toothpaste

Best Affordable Sensitivity Toothpaste

 

This low-abrasion formula is meant for also whitening your teeth while you brush them. It’s made by the makers of Orajel, which if you remember, is a product that helps relieve tooth and gum pain. While it does contain a couple of abrasives and SLS, it still has the sodium fluoride and potassium nitrate that you need for managing tooth sensitivity. 

  • Helps maintain healthy gums
  • Fluoride cavity protection
  • FDA-approved

 

6. Up & Up Extra Sensitive Whitening Toothpaste (Target)

Best Generic Brand Sensitivity Toothpaste

 

Target’s store brand sensitive toothpaste is 100% satisfaction guaranteed and available at a lower cost than a lot of other major brands. The ingredients do say to use at least a one-inch strip of toothpaste (normally it’s a pea-sized amount) and to use it no more than three times a day. It’s comparable to Sensodyne Extra Whitening toothpaste. 

  • Contains Fluoride
  • Compared to Sensodyne Extra Whitening
  • Helps Whiten Teeth

 

7. Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, Sensitive and Gum

Best Sensitivity + Gum Health 

 

There are a couple of different variations of Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, one being Sensitive and Enamel Shield and the other being Gum and Sensitivity. Both begin working immediately and claim to offer relief within a matter of days. The Enamel Shield variation also helps with whitening, so you might want to go with the Gum and Sensitivity version if you’re trying to avoid anything with whitening in it. 

  • ADA-approved
  • Found in stores nationwide

As you might guess from an established toothpaste brand, Crest also contains the ingredients necessary to help combat acid erosion, gingivitis, plaque, and cavities, making it a great all-around toothpaste for just about anyone with sensitive teeth.

 

Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth 

Teeth can be sensitive for several different reasons. Cold sensitivity is the most common. You might just have generally sensitive teeth, or you could have areas of gum recession where the roots are exposed. In those cases, the roots tend to be hypersensitive because they have thousands of tiny nerve endings not covered by tooth enamel.

Sensitivity to heat or sweets usually means tooth decay or a dying nerve inside your tooth. These symptoms shouldn’t be addressed with something simple like toothpaste; you need to see your dentist ASAP.

Regardless of who you are and how healthy your teeth may be, biting straight into something cold like ice cream will probably still make your teeth sensitive. There really isn’t anything to do about it. But if you can’t drink a cold beverage, that’s different. 

And finally, using the wrong toothpaste or oral care products can make your teeth sensitive. In particular, anything with whitening ingredients. Whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash, and bleaching agents do tend to make teeth sensitive if not used properly.

How Does Sensitivity Toothpaste Work

Every time you brush your teeth—which, hopefully, is twice a day for two minutes—the toothpaste that you’re using can cover all of the tooth surfaces. When you physically apply special minerals to your teeth, they attach to the tiny porous surfaces and strengthen that area. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth works by targeting the tubules in teeth to help seal them off. That way the nerves inside of them aren’t triggered by any type of external stimuli. When you eat or drink, the food and temperature stimuli slip right over the blocked tubule, rather than settle into them and irritate your tooth. [2]

For best results, you’ll want to use sensitive toothpaste twice daily for a minimum of two weeks. It usually takes about 14 days before it produces full results but some types of toothpaste claim to work within as quickly as a few days. And with this type of product, you’ll have to keep using it each day to prolong the benefits. It’s not a “use once and you’re done” kind of thing. [3]

Why Must It Have Fluoride? 

Fluoride is a natural-occurring mineral that’s found in everything from soil to seafood. Like any other vitamin or mineral, there are certain levels that your body needs to stay healthy. A deficiency of fluoride could lead to sensitive, eroding tooth enamel.[4]

Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth helps restore lost fluoride minerals into the tiny tubules across your tooth surfaces. These tubules house small nerve endings, which trigger tooth sensitivity. As you place fluoride minerals back onto the tooth, it helps to strengthen your enamel so that the tubules are less prone to sensitivity when you eat, drink, or breathe in through your mouth. 

Trying to combat tooth sensitivity without fluoride will be an uphill battle. The best sensitive toothpaste will nearly always include this ingredient.

Potassium nitrate is the other active ingredient that’s important to use in toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Unlike fluoride, the potassium nitrate ingredients work as natural soothers to the sensitive nerve endings. It also works with fluoride to help close up or block off the pores/tubules that house your tooth nerves. Combining the two makes the sensitive toothpaste work more quickly when it comes to managing your symptoms.

SIDE NOTE: Remember not to scrub your teeth too hard. If you’re an overzealous tooth brusher, scrubbing or using harder toothbrush bristles will damage your enamel and gum tissue, exposing more sensitive areas. 

Talk To Your Dentist

Always be sure to communicate dental symptoms to your dentist and hygienist, even if you think they seem minor or not important. Diagnosing dental issues tends to require a bit of detective work. Even the slightest twinges here and there can range from minor, reversible issues to complex needs that require immediate attention. 

The best time to talk to your dentist about your tooth sensitivity is during your six-month checkup. If you see your hygienist first, they can also help you figure out what’s going on. Be sure to communicate the type of symptoms you’re feeling, how often they occur, and if you notice any factors that cause your sensitive teeth to trigger flare-ups. Such as types or temperatures of foods, pressure, or gum swelling.

When should you schedule an exam or emergency appointment for sensitive teeth? If your symptoms are preventing you from going about normal activities—like going to work or being able to eat—then you need to make an appointment. Or, if moderate sensitivity continues to persist after using sensitive toothpaste for two weeks, it’s best to go ahead and plan a visit with your dental team.

The Best Toothpastes For Sensitive Teeth

Using the wrong toothpaste can make your teeth sensitive. Understanding the types of tooth sensitivity can help you decide if you just need to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth or actually go to the dentist for treatment. Cold sensitivity and whitening-induced sensitivity are common. Selecting the best sensitive toothpaste can help you reverse symptoms within about two weeks. When in doubt, look for one that’s labeled with the ADA seal of acceptance on the box, because you know it will work. If your symptoms don’t improve within a couple of weeks and you’ve already cut out any extra whitening products, be sure to see your dentist. The last thing you want to do is accidentally ignore symptoms of a serious condition like decaying enamel or gum disease.

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