Toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gum issues?
February 6, 2014 9:34 PM   Subscribe

So I have sensitive teeth as well as a history of gum recession. I had gum grafts done years ago, and they're still not looking too hot, but at least I no longer have excruciating pain whenever something that's not room temperature touches it.

Recently, I've been having some more sensitivity with a few of my back teeth, even though I don't have gum recession there. My dentist told me to use Sensodyne whenever it gets too bad but not to use it continually. I have also used Parodontax in the past but realized it doesn't contain fluoride, so I stopped. I would actually love to hear your opinions on why you do or don't use fluoride, since I have vacillated between toothpaste with fluoride and non-fluoride for too long. I also don't want to use a whitening toothpaste, because I hear that makes sensitivity issues worse. I use a Dr. Collins soft toothbrush and try to brush lightly.

Just looking for that perfect toothpaste, if it exists. I'm not at all picky about flavors. Thank you.
posted by madonna of the unloved to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have also used Parodontax in the past but realized it doesn't contain fluoride, so I stopped.

There's a fluoride Parodontax: not cheap as an import, but the non-fluoride one is equally not cheap. The Weleda ratanhia is more easily available in the US, and you could potentially supplement it with a fluoride mouthwash.
posted by holgate at 9:46 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like Colgate Gum Defense toothpaste. It's gentle and tastes good.
posted by rw at 9:55 PM on February 6, 2014

Why not use Sensodyne continuously? I haven't read that it's harmful.
posted by Dansaman at 10:20 PM on February 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

When I had some tooth sensitivity my dentist prescribed Colgate PreviDent. The extra fluoride knocked out the sensitivity in just a few weeks. When I went back to using regular (fluoride) toothpaste the sensitivity never came back. If the sensitivity is localized, then there's a product called Duraphat that the dentist can apply.
posted by 26.2 at 11:05 PM on February 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Treating sensitive teeth is part of a dentist's job description. Go back to your dentist and tell him that you've tried the Sensodyne but the problem is persisting. If he's out of ideas, then find another dentist. In my case, the thing that best addressed the sensitivity in my back teeth was a bite adjustment.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:29 PM on February 6, 2014

colgate sensitive pro relief
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:32 PM on February 6, 2014

I had this problem a couple of weeks ago, it didn't go away so I bought a tube of Sensodyne and have been using if for a week or 10 days and the sensitivity seemed to have subsided. I've been brushing with Trader Joe's Antiplaque Toothpaste with Fennel, Propolis & Myrrh, I noticed it's fluoride free, is it the lack of fluoride that causes this sensitivity?
posted by any major dude at 12:20 AM on February 7, 2014

I've been using Sensodyne for 15 years and my dentist is fine with it. you might want to ask your dentist why he discourges long term use.
posted by COD at 5:56 AM on February 7, 2014

I've been using generic sensodyne for well over a decade, and two dentists in that time have known and been fine with that. I'd be curious why your dentist said not to use it all the time.
posted by nobeagle at 7:48 AM on February 7, 2014

I haven't heard anything about Sensodyne being bad for long term use. I do have one extra suggestion for applying it: If you have specific areas that are sensitive, put a dab of paste on your finger ( or q-tip), and smear onto those tooth surfaces, and let sit without rinsing off. Spit the excess out, but don't rinse, drink or eat for a little while. Do this a couple of times a day and you may find it works better than just the short exposure time of teeth brushing.
posted by Jazz Hands at 8:43 AM on February 7, 2014

I use a prescription toothpaste once a day (and normal toothpaste the other times). It's helped greatly with the sensitivity, and I get fewer cavities now. I get the prescription from my dentist. It contains more fluoride than normal toothpaste.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:13 AM on February 7, 2014

Here is what I tell my patients to do (and it works). After your bedtime brush, take a bit of sensodyne on your fingertip and apply it to the exposed/sensitive areas of your teeth. go to bed without rinsing. the ingredient in sensodyne that desensitizes has all night to work and you don't go through the tube as fast as using it as a toothpaste. use regular toothpaste to do what toothpaste should do.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:33 AM on February 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thank you, everyone.

To clarify, he said Sensodyne can become less effective if I use it too much.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 12:15 PM on February 7, 2014

my dentist also says not to use the sensodyne forever because your teeth become sensitized to it and it is no longer as effective. you're only supposed to use it when your teeth hurt and then stop using it when the pain goes away. according to him.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:35 PM on February 7, 2014

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