Desensitizing Toothpastes: How Do They Work & When Are They Necessary?

June 18, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drwehrkamp @ 3:56 pm
a person brushing their teeth in a bathroom

According to a survey of dental offices across the United States, an estimated one in eight adults experiences dental sensitivity. This issue can be caused by enamel erosion, an untreated cavity, or even genetic predisposition, and while some of these cases require treatment from a dentist, others can be remedied by desensitizing toothpastes. Read on to learn how this special oral hygiene product works and how to tell if it can benefit you.

Causes of Dental Sensitivity

Dental sensitivity can be caused by a variety of underlying issues, but not all of them require treatment from a dentist. Some causes can be remedied with a simple, store-bought solution: desensitizing toothpaste. If your sensitivity seemed to arise out of nowhere and doesn’t occur all the time, it could be a result of an oral health problem, and you should visit your dentist. However, if it happens whenever you consume items that are hot or cold, desensitizing toothpaste may be a great solution. Be sure to consult with your dentist and get some reliable product recommendations before investing in a toothpaste.

How Does Desensitizing Toothpaste Work?

Desensitizing toothpastes, like Pronamel and Sensodyne, are specially formulated to strengthen the protective layer of the teeth, called the enamel. Over time, this can become worn down by acids created by harmful oral bacteria, eventually exposing more of the dentin layer, which lies beneath it. This layer of the teeth contains thousands of tiny tubules that trigger the nerves in the tooth whenever something hot or cold is eaten or drank. Desensitizing toothpaste contains special ingredients to block these tubules and keep sensory nerves from activating.

The Ingredients Are Key

The active ingredients in desensitizing toothpaste are what improves dental sensitivity and makes these products effective:

  • Potassium nitrate. This ingredient helps block the transmission of messages of pain from the nerves within the tooth to the brain.
  • Fluoride. This mineral strengthens the protective layer of enamel to cover the tubules in the dentin.
  • Strontium chloride. This ingredient blocks the dentin tubules to prevent the nerves from reacting to hot or cold foods or beverages.

Your dentist can help you choose the best brand of desensitizing toothpaste by listening to your symptoms and recommending products that have been proven to be both effective and safe to use on your pearly whites.

If you suffer from chronic dental sensitivity, you’re definitely not alone. With the proper oral hygiene products and a good hygiene routine in place, you can improve your symptoms and feel a little more comfortable.

About the Author

Dr. Scott Wehrkamp has decades of experience as a dentist and has completed countless hours of specialized training and advanced education courses. He enjoys educating his patients on how to take the best possible care of their smiles, whether that’s by recommending oral hygiene products or helping tweak their hygiene routine at home. He truly enjoys getting to know his patients and understand their unique needs, creating lifelong relationships with families in the community. For questions or to schedule a checkup and cleaning, visit Wehrkamp Dental’s website or call 605-582-6522.

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