How Does Sensitive Toothpaste Work? (The Science Says…)

How Does Sensitive Toothpaste Work? (The Science Says…)

If you’re someone who suffers from tooth sensitivity, you are all too aware of the toe-curling shooting pain that biting into an ice cream can hit you with. 

Fortunately, sensitive toothpaste promises a convenient way to tackle this problem. 

But how does it work, really? In this article, we will answer that exact question. 

We’ll explain what causes tooth sensitivity and how the ingredients in sensitivity toothpaste work to combat this. We’ll also be talking about the best ways to use toothpaste in order to provide your teeth some much-needed relief. 

Let's get into it!

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity? 

Dentin hypersensitivity, also known as root sensitivity, is often referred to as tooth sensitivity. You have sensitive teeth if you experience discomfort or sensitivity in a tooth when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or extremely acidic foods and drinks, or when you breathe in cold air.

There are numerous other causes of tooth sensitivity. In general, tooth sensitivity is caused by damage to the enamel. 

The enamel is the outer layer of teeth which protects the underlying dentin layer. When the dentin layer is not protected by the enamel, it exposes its small nerves, which are responsible for sensing pain. 

Tooth Decay

When it comes to tooth sensitivity, tooth decay is a common and avoidable cause. 

Tooth decay occurs when plaque forming bacteria are left on our teeth and produce acids that damage our enamel. This leaves the underlying dentin layer that contains small nerves unprotected, making them more sensitive. 

Gum Recession and Periodontal Disease 

Gum recession is often caused by a number of factors such as poor dental hygiene causing gum (periodontal) disease, aggressive brushing, genetic conditions and tobacco smoking. 

Gum recession occurs when there has been damage to the gums which results in the gums pulling away from your teeth. This exposes the tooth’s root which is nerve filled, and leaves it very sensitive. 

Enamel Erosion and Acidic Foods and Drinks

Enamel erosion happens when the enamel is ‘eaten’ away by cavities. 

This can also occur when someone has a diet rich in sugary and acidic foods, and leaves the dentin layer unprotected. Once unprotected, the dentin layer allows the nerves to be exposed and transmit pain signals. 

Tooth Grinding (bruxism)

Tooth grinding, whether during the day, or night, is often a result of stress. This repeated tooth grinding can wear down the enamel layer, exposing the dentin which is one of the most sensitive layers of teeth. 

Dental Fractures

Dental fractures can immediately expose the dentin, making temperature change and touch very painful. 

Obvious causes are accidents involving the teeth, but smaller, less noticeable fractures can also be caused by repeated teeth grinding, for example. 

Recent Dental Procedures

Recent dental work can cause the underlying layer of teeth to be exposed, depending on the kind of dental work that is done. This can include root canals, whitening, or tooth preparations for other treatments. 

Over Whitening 

Whitening products and procedures, whether professional or over the counter, often buff away a small layer of enamel to expose a whiter, stain free layer. 

However, if this is done too frequently, or with very strong whitening products, the enamel gets too worn down, exposing the underlying dentin. 

Incorrect Brushing Technique

Incorrectly brushing your teeth is an underappreciated, yet common cause of tooth sensitivity. Not brushing properly can result in plaque build up, which erodes the enamel layer of teeth. Additionally, aggressive brushing, or brushing with firm bristles brushes can damage the enamel after a long period of time. 

How Does Sensitive Toothpaste Work?

Sensitive toothpaste has been scientifically proven to help reduce dental hypersensitivity. There are numerous ingredients and ways in which sensitive toothpaste works. The 4 main ways are: 

  • Desensitizing: Sensitive toothpaste often contains ingredients in it which work on the exposed, microscopic nerves which are exposed on your teeth and blocks them from feeling pain. 
  • Improving enamel protection: Sensitive toothpaste often contains compounds which help to remineralize teeth and strengthen the enamel. This helps to reduce the amount of dentin which is exposed, reducing sensitivity. 
      1. Formation of strong barrier: The components of sensitive toothpaste work by covering the dentin surface with a barrier of protection. This barrier lessens the perception of pain by keeping outside stimuli from accessing the nerves. This layer also aids in the teeth's remineralization, which strengthens them even more against erosion and decay. 
  • Reducing inflammation: Some toothpaste also contains anti-inflammatory agents this helps to reduce pain that is felt due to gum disease 
  • Sensitive Toothpaste Ingredients: What They Do 

    Sensitive toothpaste works with these principles in order to combat pain to touch, temperature and certain foods. Each tooth sensitivity toothpaste is different, however many use ingredients such as: 

    • Nano-hydroxyapatite: An ingredient found in our toothpaste, helps to remineralize enamel, and closes small pores on the teeth, adding protection to the outer layer of teeth
    • Fluoride: Remineralizes enamel 
    • Calcium phosphate compounds: Fill in small gaps in the tooth surface, protecting the underlying dentin layer which when exposed, causes sensitivity 
    • Aloe Vera: Anti-inflammatory, works on the gums to reduce inflammation and pain 
    • Potassium Nitrate and Strontium Chloride: Both agents block the pain signals that are sent by the exposed nerves

    Tips for Using Sensitive Toothpaste Effectively 

    Using sensitive toothpaste is a great tool to help combat that sharp pain that tooth sensitivity brings. However, it will only work when used properly. 

    Here are our expert tips on how to get the most out of your sensitive toothpaste. 

    Brush Twice Daily with Toothpaste

    Brushing twice a day with sensitive toothpaste keeps your teeth clean, which avoids dental disease and damage that causes sensitivity. 

    It also helps the sensitivity of toothpaste to desensitize and protect the enamel effectively. 

    Use a Soft-bristled Toothbrush

    Many people choose to use firm bristles brushes as they feel it cleans their teeth more effectively. However, firm bristles often cause wearing of the outer enamel, contributing to tooth sensitivity. 

    Cleaning your teeth using a soft to medium bristles brush allows the best cleaning and protection of your enamel. 

    Avoid Rinsing Immediately After Brushing

    Most people make the mistake of rinsing after brushing their teeth, or use mouthwash immediately after brushing their teeth. 

    However, the best thing to do is to simply spit after brushing your teeth, allowing a small layer of protective factors in toothpaste to stay on and coat the enamel. 

    Follow a Consistent Oral Hygiene Routine

    We are all guilty of amping up our flossing routine right before a dental appointment. 

    In order to really tackle the causes of tooth sensitivity, and protect your teeth, it is important to be consistent when it comes to oral hygiene and sensitivity reducing products. 

    Limit Consumption of Acidic Foods and Drinks

    If you are struggling with tooth sensitivity, or even if you are trying to protect your teeth, it is always important to avoid consuming very acidic or sugary drinks and foods. 

    Consuming these can erode the enamel which is responsible for protecting against tooth sensitivity. If you do consume acidic or sugary food/drink consider drinking a glass of water straight after, to neutralize the acids. 

    Avoid Excessive Pressure While Brushing

    Aggressive brushing can contribute to enamel erosion. It is important to use gentle, circular motions in order to protect, and clean your enamel effectively. 

    Consult a Dentist for Additional Recommendations

    If you are struggling with prolonged, or debilitating tooth sensitivity, it is important to visit a dentist. Tooth sensitivity may be a symptom of an underlying dental condition that requires medical intervention. 

    Join the Boka Tribe for a Healthier Smile 

    Here at Boka, we use cutting edge technology, powered by n-Ha to combat your dental woes. 

    We know how tooth sensitivity can impact your life, and the cringe worthy pain that many of us suffer from. 

    Our Ela Mint Toothpaste contains ingredients such as n-Ha, a form of calcium which is naturally found in our teeth. 

    This helps people who suffer from dental sensitivity by closing holes on enamel that can cause tooth sensitivity. We also use natural aloe vera to help reduce inflammation and support healing. 

    Our toothpaste is a superhero when it comes to protecting your enamel, the layer of your teeth that are responsible for protecting against sensitivity. 

    If you’re someone who struggles with tooth sensitivity, and are looking for a great tasting toothpaste which can help support your dental health, and reduce your pain, try out toothpaste. We think you’ll love it. 

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