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Published Sep. 12, 2021

The pain of sensitive teeth is an intense response to such stimuli as cold, hot, sweet or acidic foods, drinks, or even cold air. It is usually caused by enamel loss and/or gum recession. As many as one in eight adults may deal with this condition, and children may suffer from it as well. 

Fortunately, brushing with the right product can help. Sensitive-teeth toothpastes often feature two key ingredients: potassium nitrate, to soothe nerve endings inside the teeth, and fluoride to shield dentin, the soft, exposed inner part of the tooth (though fluoride-free options may do the trick as well). Check out this toothpaste roundup and put the bite on sensitive teeth.

How We Picked the Best Sensitive Teeth Toothpastes

Methodology

The following criteria was taken into account when awarding sensitive teeth toothpastes:

Value: Toothpaste may be sold by individual tubes or in value packs of two or more, and each tube may contain different quantities. To determine product value, we compared the price per ounce, rather than the price per tube.

Fluoride: A common ingredient in many toothpastes, fluoride is used to help strengthen enamel and prevent decay. Holistic dental practitioners may caution, however, that fluoride can accumulate in the body and potentially be a health risk. We made sure to offer fluoride-free options so you can make the right choice for you

Brand: Oral hygiene is a very serious matter, so only safe, trustworthy brands that have proven themselves over time were considered. 

Trends: Activated charcoal and the overall popularity of natural, eco-friendly choices were explored to stay on top of the market and give consumers quality alternatives to more commercial brands.

The Best Sensitive Teeth Toothpastes: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall Toothpaste: Sensodyne Fresh Mint Sensitive Toothpaste

Created for Sensitive Teeth

Sensodyne’s Sensitive Toothpaste is the product nine out of 10 dentists recommend to help stop sensitivity long-term. Sensodyne

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Why It Made The Cut: Dental professionals highly approve of Sensodyne, which has been helping alleviate tooth sensitivity for nearly 60 years. 

Specs: 

  • Amount: two 4-ounce tubes
  • Flavor: Mint
  • Ingredients: Potassium Nitrate, Sodium Fluoride
Pros:Cons:
  • Reputable brand
  • Only available in mint flavor
  • Convenient two-pack 
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free
  • Sensodyne’s Fresh Mint Sensitive Toothpaste has been specially created to provide sensitivity relief while protecting against cavities. The toothpaste works inside teeth to calm the nerves that surround exposed dentin, the most common source of pain due to sensitivity. 

    Used twice daily for two minutes per brushing session may reduce sensitivity long term. The toothpaste also offers cavity protection, freshens breath, and helps maintain healthy gums, but it’s only available in mint flavor. 

    Best Value: Crest Pro-Health Advanced Sensitive & Enamel Shield Toothpaste

    Clinically Proven Protection

    Crest’s Pro-Health Advanced Sensitive & Enamel Shield Toothpaste provides thorough all-around protection while working to build strong teeth. Crest

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    Why It Made The Cut This affordable Crest product targets sensitive teeth by helping strengthen enamel while staving off the wear and tear of everyday acids. 

    Specs: 

    • Amount: one 3.5-ounce tube
    • Flavor: Regular 
    • Active Ingredients: Stannous fluoride 
    Pros:Cons:
  • Fights against plaque buildup
  • Somewhat grainy texture
  • Contains ActivClean Crystals for stain prevention
  • Contains SLS
  • Internationally reputable brand
  • Crest’s Pro-Health Advanced Sensitive & Enamel Shield Toothpaste is a solid option at an affordable price for those with tooth sensitivity. Its deep-cleaning formula fights cavities, gingivitis, tartar, acid erosion, and plaque as well as sensitivity. Positive user reviews often mention the focus on strengthening enamel and treating erosion caused by acids in everyday foods, which can weaken teeth and exacerbate sensitivity. 

    This Crest toothpaste also helps whiten teeth and freshen breath, but it should be noted that it contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS, a thickening agent that creates foam while brushing, has been shown to increase the incidence of mouth ulcers and also disrupt the effectiveness of fluoride. 

    Best Charcoal: BURST Charcoal Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

    Protects Dentin

    BURST Charcoal Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth has a low relative dentin abrasivity (RDA) score to avoid triggering sensitivity. Burst

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    Why It Made The Cut: This toothpaste boasts the whitening benefits of activated charcoal without triggering sensitivity. 

    Specs: 

    • Amount: two 4.7-ounce tubes
    • Flavor: Coconut Salt
    • Ingredients: Activated Charcoal, Fluoride 
    Pros:Cons:
  • Activated charcoal without powdery mess
  • Coconut Salt flavor is an acquired taste
  • SLS free
  • 100 percent recyclable, BPA-free tube
  • The use of activated charcoal to whiten and polish teeth has become trendy, but the powder can make a mess at the bathroom sink. BURST Charcoal Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth captures the benefits of activated charcoal in an easy-to-use paste formula. And thanks to its low relative dentin abrasivity (RDA) score, it should not exacerbate sensitivity. 

    This charcoal toothpaste promises to whiten and polish, treating stains and discoloration with consistent use. Developed with the input of thousands of dental professionals and made in the USA, it is SLS- and triclosan-free and contains no artificial sweeteners. The unique coconut salt flavor may take some getting used to, especially for folks accustomed to “regular” or mint toothpastes. 

    Best Eco-Friendly: Hello Oral Care Sensitivity Relief Toothpaste

    Ethically Crafted

    A vegan and certified cruelty-free product, Hello’s Sensitivity Relief Toothpaste eases sensitivity without taking a toll on the planet. Hello

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    Why It Made The Cut: This toothpaste contains the most potassium nitrate—the active ingredient that reduces sensitivity—allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter products at five percent.   

    Specs: 

    • Amount: one 4-ounce tube
    • Flavor: Soothing Mint
    • Certifications: PETA Vegan & Cruelty-Free; Leaping Bunny Certified 
    Pros:Cons:
  • Never tested on animals
  • Somewhat watery consistency 
  • Five percent potassium nitrate
  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors; SLS-free, gluten-free, dye-free
  • Eco-friendly recyclable paperboard tube printed with soy ink
  • Hello Oral Care Sensitivity Relief Toothpaste is a perfect option for those who want to ease tooth sensitivity and protect the planet in the process. It contains the most potassium nitrate to treat sensitivity allowed by the FDA: 5 percent. It also strives to build enamel and reduce cavities via its fluoride formula. 

    The Hello brand is serious about sustainability, ethically sourced ingredients and cruelty-free practices. For example, the mint flavoring in this toothpaste is intentionally grown by fourth-generation farmers in Oregon. Other ingredients include coconut oil and aloe vera to soothe and moisturize. A lot to smile about! 

    Best All Natural: Jason Total Protection Turmeric & Ginger Sensitive Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

    All-Natural Alternative

    JāsönTotal Protection Sensitive Toothpaste puts the most hard-working potassium nitrate allowed in its mix of gentle, natural ingredients. JASON

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    Why It Made The Cut Jāsön Total Protection Sensitive Toothpaste uses high-quality all-natural ingredients to strengthen and whiten teeth, maintain enamel health, and reduce overall sensitivity.

    Specs: 

    • Amount: one 4-ounce tube
    • Flavor: Turmeric and Ginger
    • Maximum potassium nitrate at five percent 
    Pros:Cons:
  • Non-GMO, no sulfates, no animal byproducts and cruelty-free
  • Comparatively expensive
  • Infused with natural botanicals as opposed to synthetic ingredients
  • SLS free
  • Working in holistic personal care since 1959, Jāsön combines high-quality, all-natural ingredients with a hefty five percent potassium nitrate to combat sensitivity in its Total Protection Toothpaste. Its botanical, gluten-free ingredients are gentle on sensitive teeth yet can still improve oral health. The ginger and turmeric flavor is unique and refreshing.  

    Jāsön doesn’t test its products on animals, nor does it include any animal byproducts or artificial colors. It’s a prestige brand that inspires trust but it rings a bit higher at the cash register. 

    Things to Consider Before Buying Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

    Sensitive teeth can vary greatly in severity, occurrence, and location. One person may occasionally get a brief tingling sensation when sipping very hot coffee, while another might feel significant discomfort often and in response to a variety of foods and drinks. If you identify more with the latter, you should first consult with a dentist to consider treatment options from a medical professional. If you deal with minor sensitivity, you may wish to try a toothpaste designed to ease the problem. When shopping, keep in mind:

    • The brands you’ve used in the past. Do you trust them enough to try their sensitive formula? Or would you rather purchase from a manufacturer that specializes in tooth sensitivity?  
    • The flavors you enjoy. After all, you’ll be less inclined to brush well and consistently with a toothpaste that doesn’t taste good. Do you want to go with an old favorite, or try something completely different? 
    • Your stance on fluoride. Do you want this enamel-building ingredient in your toothpaste, or are you concerned about potential health risks? Fluoride-free products for sensitive teeth are available.  
    • Sustainability and natural products. Folks who tend to shop at health food stores can find sensitive-teeth products in line with their beliefs on eco-friendly brands and botanical  ingredients. 
    • Price. If budget is an issue, consider a quality brand in a larger tube or multi-pack to save money. If price is no object when it comes to oral health, you may find a prestige brand that you’ll love for long-term use. 

    Remember that trying a toothpaste for sensitivity probably won’t be an immediate fix. It will take time and consistency to achieve results, so be patient. That said, if a new toothpaste seems to have any negative side effects, stop using it and consult with your dentist. 

    FAQs

    Q: What does toothpaste for sensitive teeth do?

    Sensitivity toothpastes generally work by covering exposed holes in the dentin of teeth (the part of the tooth under the enamel) and/or desensitizing the nerve endings surrounding exposed dentin. Exposed dentin is most often what causes pain and heightened sensitivity. Sensitivity toothpastes may also contain fluoride or alternatives to strengthen enamel and prevent decay.

    Q: Can toothpaste cure sensitive teeth?

    While sensitive teeth toothpastes work to reduce sensitivity either over the short or long-term, they don’t promise to completely cure the condition. If you use a sensitivity toothpaste consistently and brush twice a day, you may see marked improvements after a few weeks.

    Q: How do you cure sensitive teeth?

    In addition to adding a sensitive teeth toothpaste to your daily routine, there are various at-home remedies that may help reduce sensitivity. For instance, gargling with salt water for 30 seconds twice a day has been shown to reduce pain caused by sensitivity.

    Final Thoughts

    If you have sensitive teeth and want a toothpaste to keep pain at bay, the products described here are all worth consideration. Several include the maximum amount of potassium nitrate, the active ingredient that soothes sensitivity, allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter products. There are options at various price points, as well as those that target specific preferences, such as activated charcoal for whitening and those with gentle, all-natural ingredients. 

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