Sensodyne Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth: How Does It Work?

If you have sensitive teeth, you may be tempted to try Sensodyne to relieve the cold sensitivity. How does Sensodyne work – and is it effective?

Sensitive teeth can quickly take the pleasure out of eating cold foods – even ice cream. Most commonly, people with sensitive teeth experience pain when they expose their teeth to cold, but some sensitive teeth sufferers also have discomfort when they eat hot or sweet foods, although this can also be a sign of more serious dental problems. In frustration, some people with sensitive teeth turn to Sensodyne toothpaste to reduce their discomfort. How does Sensodyne work – and is it effective?

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth happen when the underlayer of the teeth called the dentin becomes exposed. The dentin contains tiny tubules or tunnels that lead to the center of the tooth where the nerve is located. When a person with exposed dentin eats an ice cream cone or something else cold the cold travels down these tubules the nerve in the pulp. When it hits the nerve, it causes pain and discomfort, which is usually brief in duration – just enough to make eating ice cream very unpleasant.

How does the dentin become exposed? Older people often develop receding gums after years of brushing their teeth, sometimes too vigorously. Other causes of exposed dentin are gum disease, cracked teeth, teeth grinding, use of drugstore whitening products and sensitivity after dental procedures.

How Does Sensodyne Work?

Sensodyne contains fluoride and potassium ions that travel through the tubules leading to the pulp of the tooth. Once there, these ions alter the conductivity of the nerves in the pulp so pain transmission is blocked.

Does Sensodyne work? Sensodyne doesn’t always start working right away; it may take up to two weeks to see results, and you have to keep using it to see benefits.

What If Sensodyne Doesn’t Work for You?

Any time a tooth is sensitive to cold, especially if the cold sensitivity lasts for more than a few seconds, see a dentist. The sensitivity may be due to active inflammation of the nerves in the pulp due to an abscess. A tooth that’s sensitive to heat or sweet foods is also more likely to be inflamed and may need antibiotics and a root canal treatment.

If your dentist finds the sensitive tooth or teeth is from exposed dentin due to receding gums, they can place a sealer around the area, which keeps cold from reaching the pulp and causing pain.

The Bottom Line?

Sensodyne works well for many people with sensitive teeth due to receding gums, but always check with your dentist if you’re experiencing sensitivity – to make sure you don’t have a more serious dental problem.


Web Md. “Dental Health and Sensitive Teeth?

Sensodyne website.

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  1. Hi there :)

    I use this toothpaste, as I found that I cannot actually bite into anything cold without feeling excruciating pain in my gums and jaw.

  2. This should be a great explanatory note for a lot of people with sensitive teeth.

  3. Great article :)
    It works for my teeth, and I’m happy with that :D

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