Toothpaste Can Make Your Teeth Sensitive!
March 19, 2022
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Do you think that the foam in toothpaste is what cleans your teeth? It doesn’t. The foaming action of toothpastes does help a bit in spreading the toothpaste around your mouth, but for the most part it isn’t necessary for good dental hygiene.

Most toothpastes use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) to create foam. New scientific studies suggest that SLS removes a layer of the tooth that sometimes covers over tooth areas that can become sensitive.  SLS also causes an allergic reaction in some people that leads to canker sores.

If you have sensitive teeth you may want to sacrifice foam for comfort and choose a toothpaste that does not contain SLS.


Do you use a toothpaste that claims to whiten your teeth? Most of these products work by removing surface stains from your teeth rather than by actually bleaching teeth. Some also have special chemicals or polishing agents to try to enhance the stain removal process. Not only do these chemicals dull the surface of crowns and veneers, they can also wear away the protective outer covering of your tooth to expose the more sensitive layer underneath.

With careful home care on a daily basis using a soft bristle toothbrush, any toothpaste will keep your teeth white. In fact, daily brushing is critical because plaque left on your teeth can also cause sensitivity.

So if you have sensitive teeth, you may want to ditch the whitening toothpastes, or at least choose one that’s combined with a toothpaste designed for use on sensitive teeth.


So what should you look for in a toothpaste for sensitive teeth? Fluoride, calcium, strontium and potassium are all elements that can bind with your tooth to reduce sensitivity. Most toothpastes contain fluoride.  Those that say “for sensitive teeth” usually also contain potassium nitrate.  (Original Sensodyne and Sensodyne Mint contain strontium compounds that perform the same function.)


These formulas need to be used regularly to keep sensitivity from returning. In severe cases you may need to apply toothpaste directly to your teeth with a Q-tip just before bed or put it into a specially made tray from your dentist.


If your sensitivity does not go away after 8 weeks of using a sensitivity toothpaste, you should see your dentist to make sure that a dental problem is not causing your sensitivity.


*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.