Many people suffer from sensitive teeth: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the figure somewhere between 15% and 30% of US adults with natural, permanent teeth.
Suffering from sensitive teeth can look different depending on how severe a person’s case is. Sometimes, those with sensitive teeth experience mild pain when, for example, eating ice cream, while others experience severe discomfort, according to the Oral Health Foundation. And, interestingly enough, women are more likely than men to suffer from sensitive teeth, as are people aged 20 to 40, per the Oral Health Foundation. Why? According to the American Dental Association, female hormones cause greater bloodflow to the gums, which causes them to be more sensitive.
The causes of sensitive teeth vary as well, Eunjung Jo, DDS, a dentist at Astor Smile Dental in New York City, tells Health. “Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel [and] gum recession,” Dr. Jo says. “Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease.” This is why thorough and regular dental checkups are necessary for good oral health, Dr. Jo adds.
Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the symptoms of tooth sensitivity, both at the dentist’s office and at home. One such way is to pay attention to the type of toothpaste you’re using, since some are better than others for those with sensitive teeth. Two specific ingredients to look for are potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride. “Toothpastes with potassium nitrate soothe the nerves inside your teeth, preventing them from sending pain signals from triggers, like a burst of cold air or hot coffee,” Dr. Jo says. “Toothpastes with stannous fluoride work like a shield to protect the exposed soft, inner part of the tooth called dentin,” she adds. This “shield” works to keep pain-causing agents, like cold soda, from getting to the nerves inside your teeth and thus causing pain, Dr. Jo explains.
Below, you’ll find five toothpastes designed to help people with sensitive teeth.
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This Sensodyne toothpaste, which can help with sensitivity pain in three days (as long you’re brushing regularly!), is the one Dr. Jo recommends to patients who suffer from sensitive teeth. As an added bonus, it also removes tooth stains and fights cavities.
One Amazon reviewer wrote: "After about 3 weeks of using this I definitely noticed less sensitivity in most of my teeth. I used to not be able to drink cold liquids or eat cold foods during the summer, which was always a bummer during the super hot months... This has really helped me eat and drink almost like I used to. I'll definitely be buying this again."
This Colgate toothpaste features potassium nitrate, one of the two ingredients that fights tooth sensitivity pain and removes plaque. Also great: It's raked in nearly 3,000 five-star ratings from Amazon customers who tout it for being very effective at reducing sensitivity to cold.
“I’ve been using this toothpaste for a month, and, thankfully, it really does work. The sensitivity to cold in my teeth has decreased considerably," noted a shopper.
Also featuring potassium nitrate, this toothpaste strengthens enamel, and, thanks to the baking soda, whitens your teeth. Worth noting: This toothpaste has earned nearly all five-star ratings on Amazon (it has a 4.8 rating, to be exact), so you really can't go wrong.
"I used to only use the regular Arm and Hammer whitening toothpaste but began to have tooth and gum pain," said one five-star reviewer. "I found the sensitive version and haven't had any pain since."
This option includes stannous fluoride (the other ingredient that fights tooth sensitivity pain) and it treats gingivitis and helps prevent cavities. With over 1,400 five-star ratings, shoppers say it conquers bad breath, minimizes bleeding gums, and is well worth the price tag since it really works to relieve tooth sensitivity.
"My gums always bleed when I brush my teeth and I also have sensitivity. This toothpaste works wonders and even tastes great!" raved a customer.
Aquafresh’s toothpaste for sensitive teeth features potassium nitrate and helps strengthen your teeth, keeps your gums healthy, and fights cavities. Many users state they've been brushing with this sensitive paste for years, and while it's apparently hard to find in stores, they love it so much, they keep returning to Amazon to buy it whenever they're running low.
One reviewer wrote: "I purchased this style of toothpaste many years ago at the suggestion of my dentist. I have very sensitive teeth and gums and he suggested this sensitive toothpaste as a way not only to clean my teeth, but to build up the resistance of my teeth. I have used Aquafresh exclusively and now have very pleasant dental visits. I highly recommend this toothpaste, especially for those of you with sensitive teeth."
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