Sensitive toothpastes – a users guide

sensitive toothpastesThere’s a bewildering selection of toothpastes on offer nowadays, and the waters have been muddied somewhat by the rise of ‘sensitive’ toothpastes. Not necessarily by their claims to take the edge off pain, though: here at CK Dental in Bristol, we find them to be very effective.

However, not everyone knows if they actually need them or not.

Why do people suffer from sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is a very real symptom, especially when it comes to cold food and drink. The most common cause for this is gum recession, which exposes part of the root of the tooth. There are many reasons for gum recession: simple gum disease, aging, and – in certain instances – overbrushing. Or a combination of all three.

What ingredients are in sensitive toothpastes?

Almost all of the sensitive toothpastes on the market can be split into two categories.

The cheaper brands contain two strains of potassium – potassium nitrate and potassium citrate. These work by seeping into the nerve of teeth and preventing it from transmitting pain signals to the brain. The downside to these toothpastes is that they take a while to get to work, so expect to have to used them on a twice-daily basis for two weeks before they start to work.

The more expensive brands, on the other hand, contain ingredients such as strontium, argintine and calcium sodium phosphosilicate. These are a lot faster in taking the edge off, as they block the dentine tubules – the pores located
in the roots of teeth. There are other active ingredients, but they haven’t been clinically proven as yet.

And more often than you’d expect, they don’t contain fluoride, which is absolutely essential in fighting tooth decay.

Our advice: if you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, come and talk to the team here at our Bristol dental practice as soon as possible, especially if the problem has recently flared up for the first time. We’ll be able to check the condition of your gums, see what’s causing the pain, and advise accordingly.