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Best toothpaste for sensitive teeth 2023: Strengthen your enamel and ease the pain

If eating ice cream or drinking hot drinks is resulting in sharp pain, then our pick of the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth will help

If you’ve ever had a sharp twinge of pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold, you might have sensitive teeth. The pain can last for anything from a few minutes up to several hours and can sometimes indicate a more serious dental problem. So, before diagnosing yourself with sensitive teeth, we would strongly suggest a visit to the dentist to check for underlying issues.

However, once you know you’re suffering from sensitivity, you can take steps to help minimise or, ideally, eradicate the sensitivity. And that starts with using the right toothpaste, which works by blocking the pain to soothe symptoms, and rebuilding the enamel to treat the issue.

In this guide, we delve deeper into the causes of sensitive teeth and associated issues, answering the questions you should ask when choosing the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If you already know what you’re looking for, scroll down to view our recommendations.

Best toothpaste for sensitive teeth: At a glance

How to choose the best sensitive toothpaste for you

What is tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is an exaggerated response to stimuli. Everyone is different, but some common triggers are hot, cold, sweet or acidic drinks or food, exposure to cold air, or even brushing your teeth (this is particularly common if you’re not using a suitable toothpaste).

What is the structure of a tooth and which part can become sensitive?

Your tooth comprises a root that anchors it into the gum, plus the crown, which is the visible part of the tooth. The crown is made up of various components, and we explain what the main parts are below:

  • Tooth enamel: This is the solid, white outside layer of your tooth and is the hardest material found in the human body. It protects the sensitive inner layers of the tooth.
  • Cementum: A thin, protective layer of bone-like tissue under the gum line, this protects the root of the tooth.
  • Dentin: A layer of softer tissue containing tubules (tiny canals).
  • Pulp: Soft tissue containing blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves.

If the enamel on your teeth begins to wear away, it will result in the dentin becoming exposed. This can lead to discomfort and pain in response to stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures.

Enamel loss can be caused by overly enthusiastic brushing or from acid erosion. You can also suffer tooth sensitivity if your gums have become recessed, which can occur if you use a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard, as a result of gum disease, smoking – or even your genes.

How does sensitive toothpaste work?

Toothpaste made for sensitive teeth is made up of ingredients that work together to soothe pain. These include:

  • Potassium nitrate: Works by desensitising the nerve endings in your teeth.
  • Hydroxyapatite: A mineral found in our bones and teeth that helps to naturally remineralise tooth enamel and provide protection against sensitivity.
  • Fluoride: Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth, which in turn helps to reduce their sensitivity.

How much should I spend?

The options on our list range in price from £4.50 to £18, and we would recommend spending as much as you need to get a toothpaste that helps with your sensitivity.

How did we test?

Our group of testers with sensitive teeth used the toothpastes both morning and night, noting whether there was any improvement in their sensitivity issues.

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The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth you can buy in 2023

1. Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpaste: Best for mouth ulcer sufferers

Price: £4.50 | Check price at Tesco

Damaged and receding gums often associated with tooth sensitivity can make sufferers more prone to mouth ulcers alongside their sensitive teeth. Obviously, there are other factors that cause ulcers, but if you’re prone to them, this is an excellent toothpaste for everyday use.

Free from sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which is known to aggravate and cause ulcers, Sensodyne’s Pronamel range is designed to provide protection from acids that can weaken the outer layer of teeth. The toothpaste helps to strengthen and re-harden enamel, protecting it from erosion.

Sensodyne’s toothpaste has a light, minty taste that isn’t overpowering and leaves teeth feeling fresh and clean. The formula has a high concentration of fluoride and potassium nitrate, making Pronamel a great choice for sensitive teeth – and you should see results quickly. It gets bonus points for the packaging, too, with the tube, cap and carton all recyclable.

Key details – Size: 75ml; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, but no more than three times. Minimise swallowing and spit out

Check price at Tesco

2. Mysmile Whitening Toothpaste: Best dentist-designed toothpaste

Price: £18 | Check price at London SmilingDesigned by dentist Dr Uchenna, who has more than 30 years’ experience in dentistry, the Mysmile toothpaste is gentle and non-abrasive, yet still leaves teeth feeling sparkling clean. Suitable for vegans and free from preservatives, the formula uses a combination of fluoride to prevent cavities and keep teeth strong, and hydroxyapatite to help rebuild tooth enamel.

We particularly liked the gentle flavour of this toothpaste, which uses natural peppermint with a dash of spearmint oil. Like others on this list, this toothpaste is free from SLS, so won’t cause any ulceration – and you’ll certainly notice the less brash texture of the Mysmile toothpaste compared to some cheaper brands.

Our testers commented that their teeth felt clean and looked brighter as well, although whitening effects would be more visible following use over a longer period of time. This may be the most expensive toothpaste on the list, but we can’t fault it for results.

Key details – Size: 75ml; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, without rinsing

Check price at London Smiling

3. Oral-B Sensitivity & Gum Calm Toothpaste: Best for gum care

Price: £5 | Check price at BootsOral-B’s toothpaste contains the brand’s ActivCalm technology, which is designed to relieve teeth sensitivity and cool gums during and after brushing. If your gums are sore, sensitive or inflamed, this toothpaste makes it easier to brush your teeth thoroughly without discomfort.

Note that this toothpaste contains SLS, so isn’t suitable for those who suffer from mouth ulcers. However, for other users its gentle foaming helps to protect both teeth and gums, with the barrier preventing acid erosion. Following consistent use, our testers felt that their enamel appeared to be in better shape and that it helped to prevent enamel erosion.

We did struggle a little with the taste of this toothpaste, with users describing it as like “bubblegum”, “clove” or “Germolene”. While not offensive, it could take some getting used to.

Key details – Size: 75ml; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, without rinsing

Check price at Boots

4. Go Smile Luxury Mint Toothpaste: Best for whitening

Price: £11 | Check price at Go SmileThe Go Smile toothpaste is part of a range of products from the company designed to help whiten your teeth, but without aggravating sensitive teeth. If you’ve got sensitive teeth then you’ll know that most whitening toothpastes actually exacerbate sensitivity.

The formula contains vitamins A, C and E, while the mint taste left our mouths feeling clean and fresh. This toothpaste does contain SLS, though, so avoid it if you’re prone to mouth ulcers.

Neither harsh nor abrasive, it feels gentle on teeth. Our testers commented that teeth certainly looked brighter and more white, as well as feeling protected, following a short time of use. We feel confident that teeth will continue to whiten with use, although you’ll need to pair it with the company’s tooth-whitening gel and toothbrush for maximum effect.

Key details – Size: 96g; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, for two minutes each time

Check price at Go Smile

5. Colgate Sensitive Instant Relief Toothpaste: Best budget toothpaste

Price: £2.50 | Check price at AsdaFinding a decent toothpaste for sensitive teeth when you’re on a budget can be a challenge. Fortunately, Colgate’s product is reasonably priced, as well as highly effective on sensitive teeth.

Recommended by dentists, the toothpaste uses Pro-Argin technology to seal and repair sensitive teeth in your mouth, delivering pretty much instant relief from pain. It also forms a protective barrier around your teeth and gums, which will prevent further sensitivity if you eat or drink something aggravating.

With a stronger mint flavour than many other brands, it may be a little too overpowering for some. It also contains SLS. On a positive note, you can also apply the toothpaste directly to sensitive teeth with a clean fingertip, massaging it into those teeth affected gently for one minute. Our testers noticed that it was easier to eat foods that would normally trigger sensitivity after using this toothpaste.

Key details – Size: 75ml; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, for two minutes each time. Apply directly to sensitive teeth with a fingertip and massage for one minute for instant relief

Check price at Asda

6. Zendium Sensitive Toothpaste: Best for boosting good bacteria

Price: £10 | Check price at AmazonContaining natural antibacterial enzymes and proteins, the Zendium toothpaste works like a probiotic to boost good bacteria in your mouth while reducing the bad bacteria to bring balance to your oral microbiome. This helps to keep your mouth, gums and enamel healthy, preventing cavities and gum problems.

A Scandinavian favourite, this mild-tasting formula uses potassium nitrate to relieve tooth sensitivity plus fluoride to strengthen enamel. As you might expect, it’s free from SLS, making it an option for those who suffer from mouth ulcers. It’s suitable for vegetarians – although not vegans, as it contains milk and egg proteins – and reduces waste by not arriving in a cardboard box.

Our testers found their mouths and gums felt less sore after using, which also led to a reduction in tooth sensitivity.

Key details – Size: 75ml; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, for two minutes each time

7. AloeDent Toothpaste: Best fluoride-free toothpaste

Price: £3.59 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re intolerant to fluoride but still have sensitive teeth, finding the right toothpaste can be difficult. Fortunately, AloeDent is fluoride-free yet relieves pain and protects sensitive teeth. The toothpaste has been specially formulated for sensitive teeth and gums, and is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Containing soothing aloe vera and echinacea, it has a mild minty taste and is free from SLS. Aloe vera helps to soothe gums, whilst escin and echinacea promote healthy gums. Our testers commented on its pleasant flavour and felt that their mouth was clean and fresh after brushing – the toothpaste does an excellent job of getting rid of bad breath.

Do be aware that this isn’t a frothy toothpaste, so you won’t get any lather as you’re brushing – which can take some getting used to. Nevertheless, this is one of the best toothpastes for sensitive teeth if you can’t tolerate fluoride.

Key details – Size: 100ml; Usage: Twice a day, morning and night, for two minutes each time

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