Here we are going to look at what causes sensitive teeth, what you can do about it, and which is the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Firstly, if you have ever suffered with sensitive teeth it can be at best annoying to at worst seriously painful. So what are the causes and can they be avoided, or are you destined to have sensitive teeth for the rest of your life?

Lets cover the last point from the above paragraph first. If you have sensitive teeth, it is no doubt been caused by some sort of damage to your teeth, either the enamel has been damamged or there are problems with your gum line, and it is true that some people are more susceptible than others, but that doesn't mean there is nothing you can do about it.

If you are in any doubt of what sensitive teeth are or if you think you may suffer with sensitive teeth. It is a sudden pain you may get when eating or drinking particularly hot or cold foods or liquids. This pain is caused by the dentine – which is the layer under your enamel – being exposed to these excessive temperatures, normally your enamel would be a protective barrier. The dentine which basically covers the roots of the teeth does not have a hard surface so can be penetrated by these particularly hot or cold temperatures and attack the nerve endings of the roots, causing the pain.

When we set out to look for the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth, we discovered that there were all sorts of reasons why the erosion of the teeth enamel occurred including.

  • Gum Disease – We cover this in detail, on Best toothpaste for gum disease, but this can cause gums to become soft and puffy, which means they can pull slightly away from the tooth , allowing bacteria to collect and can destroy the connective tissue to the root. allowing them to become exposed.
  • Chipped Tooth – A chipped or cracked tooth can allow food particles to enter, causing bacteria which can attack the pulp area of the tooth and create a passage direct to the nerve.
  • Grinding of Teeth – A common cause, as the  repetetive action can erode the enamal allowing the dentne to become exposed and as mentioned earlier can create a pathway to the nerve.
  • Aggressive Brushing – Believe it or not, over brushing or aggressive brushing with a couse brush can remove the enamel near the gum line, especially if you have any kind of gum recession due to gum disease. Try to use a soft to medium brush and do not push too hard, when brushing. Some electric toothbrushes have a "cut off" if you put too much pressure on your teeth. i.e it will cut out until you release the pressure, this can be a good guide to judge how aggressive you should be when brushing.
  • Aggressive whitening products – There are some whitening toothpastes on the market today, using quite high amounts of baking soda and/or hydrogen peroxide, these can be contributory to the erosion of the enamel. There is nothing wrong with using milder whitening toothpastes but try to avoid the really aggressive one. If in doubt consult your dentist.  

This now brings us to our original question of which is the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth? There are several on the market that if used regularly should reduce the sensation of sensitive teeth. We have tested quite a few and were surprised by the results.

The best performing in our test were sensodyne total care, colgate sensitive pro-relief. We tried some of the sensitive toothastes that profess to whiten your teeth also, which we thought was a contradiction in terms as most whitening capabilities are based on abrasion or bleaching, but we were surprised to find that rembrandt and arm and hammer offered both. We couldn't testify to the whitening capabilities of either as that was not the purpose of our tests, but we did find that both reduced sensitivity when used regularly.