The 7 Best Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth of 2023

For sensitive teeth, dentists agree that Sensodyne toothpastes are the best. The Sensodyne Full Protection offers protection against sensitivity, cavities, and stains in one tube.

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The Best Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth

Health / Alli Waataja

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth: A 2013 study put the figure at around one in eight U.S. adults, who on average had 3.5 hypersensitive 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 blood flow 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 the seven best toothpastes designed to help people with sensitive teeth. An orthodontist on our Medical Expert Board reviewed this article for medical and scientific accuracy surrounding what to look for in toothpastes for sensitive teeth, their effectiveness, and other ways to reduce tooth sensitivity.

Best Overall

Sensodyne Full Protection Whitening Sensitive Toothpaste

Sensodyne Full Protection


Why We Like It: It contains potassium nitrate, a natural compound that desensitizes the dental nerve.

It’s Worth Noting: It has a whitening agent, which could counteract some of the anti-sensitivity benefits.

There’s a reason why Sensodyne is the most recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth by dentists—it works, and it’s vetted by experts. Sensodyne is a dentist-recommended brand, and Kristen Klement Oldham, DMD, a dentist with Klement Family Dental in St. Petersburg, Florida, can attest to that. “Sensodyne is our No. 1 brand because the entire product line is specifically created with sensitivity in mind,” she says, adding that any Sensodyne toothpaste will be effective for treating sensitive teeth.

Asharie Campbell, DMD, a dentist at Circle City Dentists of Sebring in Sebring, Florida, agrees. “What's nice is that you can further refine your choices with their additional modifiers, such as whitening, fresh breath, gum health, tartar control, and so forth,” she says, pointing to the Sensodyne Full Protection as her go-to recommendation for its potent active ingredient—5 percent potassium nitrate, one of the most effective active ingredients in toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

While there’s no shortage of Sensodyne toothpastes to choose from, they’re not all formulated with the same active ingredients. This one contains the maximum amount of potassium nitrate allowed, which has been shown to significantly decrease tooth sensitivity.

It also contains sodium fluoride to protect against cavities and a whitening agent, though some with severely sensitive teeth usually opt to avoid whitening toothpastes.

Price at time of publication: $7

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Mint
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

Best Budget

Arm & Hammer Sensitive Teeth & Gums Toothpaste

Arm & Hammer Sensitive Teeth & Gums Toothpaste


Why We Like It: It contains the same active ingredients as our top pick at a lower price point.

It’s Worth Noting: It’s less abrasive than other ingredients, but the baking soda in this toothpaste is still an abrasive, which could wear down enamel.

Toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth tend to be pricier than regular toothpastes. Opting for this one by Arm & Hammer can save you a few bucks, though you won’t be missing out on any anti-sensitivity benefits since it contains the same active ingredients as our top Sensodyne choice—potassium nitrate to decrease sensitivity and sodium fluoride to protect against cavities. What’s more, the tube is slightly larger, making it an even better value.

“I recommend this product to patients who have sensitive teeth and are interested in a whitening option,” says Jessica Pharar, DMD, a Las Vegas dentist. “It does a really good job and is still very gentle on sensitive teeth.”

In true Arm & Hammer fashion, this toothpaste also contains baking soda, which has tooth whitening properties. According to a 2017 review in The Journal of the American Dental Association, baking soda toothpaste effectively removes stains and whitens teeth, and it’s less abrasive. However, it’s still an abrasive, which can sometimes wear down enamel when used excessively.

Price at time of publication: $10

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Refreshing mint
  • Size: 4.5 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

Best Whitening

Sensodyne Sensitivity & Gum Whitening Toothpaste

Sensodyne Sensitivity & Gum Whitening Toothpaste


Why We Like It: In addition to lessening sensitivity and lightening stains, it supports gum health—the root of many dental issues.

It’s Worth Noting: It comes in a smaller tube, so it won’t last as long as other options.

A lot of dental issues, including sensitivity, can be attributed to gum health, so taking proper care of your gums now will benefit you in the long run, Dr. Campbell says. She recommends this toothpaste for reducing sensitivity as well as the chances of developing gingivitis and gum disease, which can exacerbate sensitivity. 

Some cases of sensitive teeth can be explained by gum-related issues. Gum recession and gum disease can both contribute to hypersensitivity because they cause the gum line to recede, notes the Cleveland Clinic. This matters because receding gum tissue exposes the roots of teeth, which contain nerves. When left exposed, you may feel sensitivity or pain with stimuli like hot or cold foods.

So, don’t skip out on gum care—the right toothpaste could help. Its main ingredient is stannous fluoride, which protects against gingivitis, cavities, and stains, per a 2019 review. It also coats the teeth to reduce hypersensitivity, notes a 2019 clinical study. Talk about a quadruple threat.

Price at time of publication: $7

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Mint
  • Size: 3.4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Stannous fluoride

Best Natural

Tom's of Maine Natural Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste

Tom's of Maine Natural Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste


Why We Like It: It relieves sensitivity by coating dentin with natural ingredients like arginine and calcium carbonate.

It’s Worth Noting: At roughly $10 per tube, it’s one of the priciest options on our list.

The active ingredients in conventional toothpaste, such as fluoride, may occur naturally, but the inactive ingredients often fall in the gray area. For example, some toothpaste products contain artificial dyes and flavor. This pick from Tom’s of Maine has a simpler ingredient list with ingredients that are naturally derived, such as peppermint oil for flavor and freshness.

Speaking of its natural ingredients, this toothpaste is powered by arginine and calcium carbonate instead of traditional fluoride—in fact, it’s fluoride-free. Together, this duo significantly reduces dentin hypersensitivity, per a 2018 clinical study. They work by occluding dentin tubules, which are responsible for the sensation of sensitivity and pain when exposed, according to earlier research.

However, natural products often come at a higher price point, and this toothpaste is no exception. You’ll pay more for a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and this one is on the higher end.

Price at time of publication: $19

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Fresh mint
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Arginine, calcium carbonate

Best Multi-Pack

Colgate Sensitive Prevent & Repair Toothpaste

Colgate Sensitive Prevent & Repair Toothpaste


Why We Like It: With 6 ounces per tube and three tubes per pack, this multi-pack is a great value.

It’s Worth Noting: Some user reviews report a polarizing taste.

If you’re looking for maximum-strength protection against hypersensitivity, Dr. Campbell says to give this one a go. “When you have really bad sensitivities and other products haven't helped as much as you like, Colgate's Sensitive Prevent & Repair Toothpaste is worth a try,” she says, noting that it contains the highest allowed levels of potassium nitrate at 5 percent. It’s this ingredient that offers serious protection against sensitive teeth, and the fluoride helps, too.

It targets tooth sensitivity by focusing on enamel health. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to oral health, and enamel is a big one. Dental enamel is the body’s hardest tissue that works, in part, by forming a thermal layer around the root of the tooth, per a 2017 review. When that layer is worn down, the dentin underneath is exposed to thermal sensitivity from hot and cold foods. Using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth that’s also formulated with fluoride, such as this one by Colgate, can prevent sensitivity from worsening by protecting tooth enamel. Fluoride can also help repair weakened parts of the enamel layer—this is known as remineralizing teeth, and there are studies to back it up.

Price at time of publication: $15

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Gentle mint
  • Size: 6 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

Best Tasting

Sensodyne Pronamel Fresh Breath

Sensodyne Pronamel Fresh Breath


Why We Like It: It protects enamel all while freshening breath and reducing sensitivity.

It’s Worth Noting: It’s sweetened with sorbitol, which some aren’t a fan of.

Sendoyne’s Pronamel line targets hypersensitivity while hardening enamel, which is an important part of preventing sensitivity from developing in the first place or worsening over time. Enamel loss exposes dentin and eventually the dental nerves, contributing to sensitive teeth. “If you have sensitive teeth, you likely could use some extra love in the enamel department,” says Dr. Oldham. “The Sensodyne Pronamel Fresh Breath does that and it's without abrasive properties, so it has sensitivity in mind.” Plus, it has a pleasant taste, Dr. Oldham adds.

So, how does it work? Good ole fluoride and a heaping dose of potassium nitrate. Fluoride goes to work on enamel protection and remineralization while potassium nitrate minimizes painful sensitivity. The result is strong, hard teeth that aren't as sensitive to temperature changes. It also fights cavities and bad breath, making it a well-rounded toothpaste overall.

Price at time of publication: $13

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Fresh breath
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

Best Fluoride-Free

Davids Sensitive Whitening nano-Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

Davids Sensitive Whitening nano-Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste


Why We Like It: It comes with a tube roller, so you can squeeze out every last drop.

It’s Worth Noting: It doesn’t come cheap.

For those looking for a natural and fluoride-free toothpaste for sensitive teeth, this one is a solid option. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s thoughtfully formulated to reduce sensitivity without conventional ingredients. By now, you might be expecting potassium nitrate and fluoride to make appearances, but its anti-sensitivity properties are actually attributed to hydroxyapatite, a mineral with quite a few dental benefits.

In a 2019 meta-analysis, researchers concluded that toothpaste formulated with hydroxyapatite may be the most effective at desensitizing sensitive teeth. It’s found naturally in the bones and teeth, so it’s no surprise that it has been shown to possess significant remineralizing effects.

It also contains other beneficial ingredients, such as calcium carbonate to polish enamel, baking soda to whiten, and xylitol to protect against cavities. Fluoride is the gold standard for cavity prevention, but xylitol is an effective option for those looking for a fluoride-free alternative. According to the California Dental Association, xylitol inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, making it less likely for decay-causing bacteria to survive on the surface of teeth. However, more research is needed.

Price at time of publication: $12

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Peppermint
  • Size: 5.25 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Hydroxyapatite

How We Selected

To find the best toothpastes for sensitive teeth, our search began by interviewing dentists. We first spoke to four practicing dentists to learn more about what makes for an effective toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Dentists we spoke to included:

They shared their product recommendations based on clinical experience—ahem, Sensodyne—and noted what criteria to look for. 

With expert input, we considered the following when making our selections:

  • Active ingredients
  • Size
  • Benefits related to enamel, cavities, whitening, etc.
  • Price

What to Know About Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

When to Use Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste

Sensitive teeth, also known as hypersensitivity, can be uncomfortable and even painful. In some instances, this can be a symptom of an underlying problem, so Dr. Pharar says to see your dentist before using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth to treat your symptoms. Once underlying issues have been ruled out, it may make sense to switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

If you feel pain when your teeth are exposed to a change in temperature, you may have sensitive teeth. “Sensitive teeth are an indicator that something is changing in your mouth,” explains Dr. Pharar. This comes down to the relationship between enamel, dentin, and nerves, she says. Enamel is the outer part of your teeth. When enamel is damaged, the inner part of the tooth—dentin—is exposed. The pores in dentin extend to the tooth’s nerves, and these nerves interpret hot or cold temperatures as pain.

If your sensitivity doesn’t improve, Dr. Campbell recommends a visit to your dentist. “Like anything oral health-related, see your dentist when it begins to worry you or when it becomes a proper nuisance,” she says, adding that sensitive teeth shouldn’t interfere with your daily life, sleep schedule, or eating patterns.

Ingredients to Look for 

Based on dentist advice and scientific research, the following ingredients are best for reducing sensitive teeth:

  • Potassium nitrate
  • Sodium fluoride
  • Stannous fluoride
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Arginine
  • Calcium carbonate

The ingredient our dentists recommend the most? Potassium nitrate. “Toothpaste with potassium nitrate helps with sensitivity because it restores your enamel by filling in those areas that have experienced enamel erosion, exposing the sensitive portion of your tooth, the dentin,” Dr. Oldham explains. “Dentin is filled with nerve endings, so when it comes in contact with something really cold or hot, it's shocking. The potassium nitrate becomes a restorative barrier in those places.”

Ingredients You May Want to Avoid 

When it comes to sensitivity, abrasive and whitening ingredients are the ones to watch out for. 

“Whitening toothpastes are more abrasive and can irritate the exposed dentin pores.” says Dr. Pharar. Whitening strips and treatments tend to increase sensitivity, and the same is true of whitening agents in toothpastes. Some toothpastes for sensitive teeth have whitening properties, and those with severe sensitivity may choose an alternative as a result.

Abrasive ingredients help scrub the tooth to get it squeaky clean, but Dr. Oldham says this can worsen enamel issues and accelerate sensitivity. She says to look for low-abrasive toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth.

Your Questions, Answered

How can I stop my teeth from being sensitive?

Brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth can help. There are also mouthwashes designed to reduce hypersensitivity. 

Other than swapping your oral hygiene products, dentists say to brush your teeth gently. Aggressive tooth brushing can cause your gums to recede and wear down on your enamel—both of which contribute to increased sensitivity over time. “Use a soft bristled brush or an electric toothbrush that has a pressure sensor to ensure you do not abrade your teeth,” says Dr. Pharar. 

A night guard can also help with sensitivity caused by clenching or grinding. “The additional force placed on your teeth from clenching or grinding causes the enamel to flex off the teeth, triggering sensitivity,” Dr. Pharar explains.

Avoiding your triggers is another way to curb sensitive teeth. “It’s usually relaxed to extreme cold or hot food and acidic ingredients,” Dr. Oldham says. She says to start with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and if it doesn’t help, see your dentist for other treatment options, such as a prescription-strength toothpaste or night guard.

Can toothpaste help sensitive teeth?

Yes, the right toothpaste can help relieve sensitive teeth. They work by sealing up the pores of the exposed dentin, which is usually the part of the tooth causing sensitivity and pain, explains Dr. Pharar. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth are formulated with specific active ingredients to alleviate hypersensitivity while also supporting overall oral health.

However, not everyone with sensitive teeth will benefit from special toothpaste. “They do work for many patients, but there are always going to be those outliers who have notable discomfort and pain that can't be solved by toothpaste alone,” Dr. Campbell says. If toothpaste doesn’t seem to help, pay your dentist a visit.

Who We Are

Lacey Muinos is a health and wellness writer. She covers topics ranging from nutrition to oral hygiene, and she’s reported on dental products like electric toothbrushes, tongue scrapers, and toothpaste. As someone with sensitive teeth herself, Lacey only uses Sensodyne toothpaste and has experienced relief.

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11 Sources uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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