Have you been down the toothpaste/brush aisle in the grocery store or CVS lately? It's overwhelming and very confusing, thanks to all of the constantly changing names and labels available. One of our favorites is currently going to its FOURTH name change in the last seven years, for example. That would be the new "Complete care" by Arm and Hammer, formerly Age Defying, formerly Enamel Care, and formerly Enamelon. Wow. Why do we like it? Because it uniquely builds new enamel on your teeth and smooths the surface layer, giving your teeth added protection from acids, and cold liquids among other things. Most of our patients say that it works as well as the "desensitizing" toothpastes, and that is by a totally different mechanism. That brings us to.....
Sensitivity toothpastes, like Sensodyne, or others that say "for sensitivity reduction", will all use 5% KNO3, or potassium nitrate. How's that work?
The 5% KNO3 actually lowers the threshold at which the tooth nerve acts, so it sort of "turns down the volume" on your tooth nerves. I suppose you could say that it numbs the nerve a bit.
Beyond these toothpastes, others claim to be "whitening." Do they work? Not really, unless you haven't been to the dentist lately and have a surface layer of stained yuck on your teeth. These whitening toothpastes, in general, have extra abrasives in them to polish your stains away, which removes the top layer of tooth (where your protection from sensitivity and cavities is located). Guess what? These will increase your sensitivity in most all people! Not good at all. Avoid these as a general rule.
Not covered here are other pastes and rub-on remineralizing pastes we use. We are happy to go over these with you in the office to keep you comfortable and CAVITY FREE!