Toothpaste & Dentine Hypersensitivity


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Dentine is an inner layer that makes up the bulk of the tooth and is normally coated with enamel. However, if acids or abrasives wear the enamel away, it can leave the dentine exposed so it can cause hypersensitivity when conditions in the mouth change significantly. This can trigger a painful reaction.

Common triggers of the painful reaction – an indication of dentine hypersensitivity

  • Hot food/drink
  • Cold food/drink, such as ice cream
  • Very sweet food/drink

Why do these cause such a reaction?

There are a number of small, hollow tubes that travel from where the dentine and enamel meet and connects this area with the nerves in the centre of the tooth. When food or drink is consumed, these tubes can be filled if the enamel has been worn away and they are exposed. This food or drink can then cause the nerves to react and cause pain.

Toothpastes available to deal with dentine hypersensitivity

Many toothpastes have been developed bearing in mind people who suffer from sensitive teeth. These contain very few abrasives so try and prevent the wearing of enamel further. An additional ingredient they do contain is potassium chloride salts. These act by closing off the hollow tubes so the nerves cannot be accessed and stimulated.


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