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How Does Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste Work?

DISCLOSURE: Noelle Copeland RDH is an Oral Care Specialist and Dental Consultant who provides content for Brilliant Oral Care and Baby Buddy.

Sensitive teeth are pretty big business!  In fact, desensitizing toothpaste brands top the oral care market above all other options when it comes to demand. This hasn’t always been the case though. The past twenty to thirty years have seen a steady uptick in the consumer’s desire and need for sensitivity relief. But Why?

Is it something we’re doing that is making our teeth more sensitive, or are we able to address oral care issues faster because we have greater access to care and treatment today? I think it’s both personally. We are steadily consuming more and more in our lives that have a potential impact on our oral health. From too much sugar to too much alcohol to too much stress…all of these factors can have negative effects on our bodies. Sensitive teeth are just one of those side effects.

When it comes down to it, I love a good toothpaste for sensitive teeth and I recommend them often when needed. Sometimes an over-the-counter brand works wonderfully for a patient and other times a prescription paste is needed. Overall the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth is the one that works for a particular person. Even though they are all similar, each one has different chemical formulas that work to control sensitivity. Sodium fluoride and potassium nitrate are two commonly used active ingredients.

How does sensitive toothpaste work?

  • When teeth become worn down, recessed, pitted, and aged the enamel thins and in some cases is completely lost.
  • Enamel is the thicker outer layer of a tooth. Underneath the Enamel is Dentin. Dentin is soft and has tubules with fluid that have direct communication with tiny nerve endings.
  • If enamel becomes thinner over time, teeth can start to feel more sensitive. If the dentin becomes exposed, sensitivity can be so severe that eating and drinking are very painful.
  • Desensitizing toothpaste will have different collections and concentrations of chemicals that help to block the pain response to heat, cold, and sweets at the end of the dentin tubules.
  • The toothpaste has to be used over time, typically 2 weeks to feel relief, and on a regular basis to build up these chemicals inside the tooth.
  • In contrast, if you stop using the toothpaste, you will also start to lose the relief it has provided. So they must be used regularly.
  • Sensitivity toothpaste is also much less abrasive and has fewer sugars and other irritating chemicals that can actually contribute to sensitivity.
  • All in all, even the best sensitive toothpaste is still only treating the symptom and not addressing the root cause of why a person’s teeth are sensitive, to begin with.

Treating the root cause of sensitivity!

It’s probably worth considering if one of the following is needed for treating sensitive teeth, especially if it’s not sensitivity that is felt all over the mouth and teeth and it is a more localized or patterned expression of pain and discomfort.

  • Gum Grafting= If the roots of teeth have been exposed through recession or abrasion, then grafting may be necessary. Grafting procedures help sensitivity by covering exposed roots (dentin) with tissue harvested from elsewhere in the mouth.
  • Bonding= If the recession or abrasion is not yet severe enough for a grafting surgery, bonding material may be used to cover exposed root surfaces. The same way a filling is done to treat a cavity is how an exposed root is covered with bonding material.
  • Night Guard= If you’re grinding or clenching your teeth, a good proactive and active treatment investment is to wear a nightguard. This can help prevent damage to teeth that causes sensitivity. Damage like wear, abfractions, cracks, and recession. Wearing a nightguard, when made properly, can also help deprogram facial muscles and actually stop the clenching and grinding altogether.
  • Fluoride Treatment= Professional grade fluoride applications can help strengthen tooth enamel and builds up in the tooth allowing the benefits to be retained for much longer.
  • Root Canal Treatment= No amount of desensitizing toothpaste will work if what you actually need is a root canal treatment. The root canal is the brain of your tooth and if it gets damaged or infected you may need a root canal to cure the pain and symptoms. During a root canal, you essentially have the nerve of the tooth removed and replaced with a dental material. This resolves any sensitivity that is due to the nerve of the tooth.

Sensitive teeth don’t have to be a part of your daily routine. Talk to your dental professional if you are concerned about sensitivity. If you were looking for the best way to establish an effective home care routine, you’ve found the right place at Brilliant Oral Care. Our patented round head bristle toothbrush not only removes the plaque on teeth, it simultaneously cleans and removes the plaque and bacteria found on the cheeks, gums, teeth, and tongue. It’s the bristles that make all the difference in performing oral care for sensitive teeth and gums, being gentle yet effective. Why choose a thousand bristle toothbrush when you can have a 10000 to 24000 bristle toothbrush that cleans everywhere it goes?!?! Don’t forget to #BRUSHBRILLIANT.

© 2021 Compac Industries. All rights reserved. This article provides information about “oral health topics” as expressed through the perspective and experience of the author. The information provided does not substitute professional advice or counsel, including diagnosing or treating any condition. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, an oral condition, an illness, or treatment of any listed or unlisted situation above. Using this site signifies your consent to our Terms and Conditions. Do not use this site if you don’t agree to all Terms and Conditions.

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