Bernie begs to know… My teeth are really sensitive to hot and cold. Would a natural toothpaste be better for me?
The Right Brain bites back: Before we address the “natural” part of your question, let’s talk a little about toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
How does toothpaste for sensitive teeth work?
Most of the time the roots of your teeth are covered in protective layers of enamel and cementum. But when these layers are partially worn away, the next layer, called the dentin, is exposed. Dentin contains microscopic tubes through which hot and cold materials can pass, causing a painful sensation from the root.
According to the American Dental Association, Sensitive teeth products work by desensitizing the nerve – they actually contain compounds that block the nerve sensation from traveling down those tiny tubes. No pain signal to the root – problem solved. Or at least made to feel a little bit better, you still have to treat the cause which is poor enamel coverage.
So what ingredients are magical nerve blockers? There are two types of salts that are commonly used: potassium nitrate and strontium chloride. Potassium nitrate inhibits the sensory nerve endings from repolarizing which reduces the pain response. Strontium chloride covers up the openings of the dentinal tubules which reduces fluid flow to the nerve. ( Source )
So the key is buying a toothpaste with one of those active ingredients. Does “natural” make a difference? Not in terms of performance but Tom’s of Maine does offer a natural toothpaste containing potassium nitrate made from naturally occurring ores instead of the standard process of reacting ammonia and nitric acid.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Natural or not, the key to treating sensitive teeth is choosing a product that contains efficacious ingredients.
Are you stricken with sensitive teeth? What’s worked for you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.