The cause of sensitive teeth almost always comes down to 2 problems:
Sensodyne (Pro-Enamel) is what we recommend if you have sensitive teeth.
80% of toothpastes will cause sensitive teeth if you have exposed roots. The problems are caused by the whitening, brightening toothpastes (which contain abrasives and desiccants) and the tartar-control toothpastes.
Typically, the original formulas of a brand will not cause the problems as long as they don’t advertise whitening or tartar control.
Calculus on your teeth, which some people refer to as tartar, is made from a calcium accretion mixed with the bacteria that resides in your mouth.
One analogy that many people can relate to is the way that coral is made in the ocean. Little tiny sea creatures take their minerals out of the ocean and construct cement coral.
The tartar on your teeth is made by the bacteria which are little micro-organisms that live in your mouth. They take the calcium accretions out of your saliva and make this hardened calculus.
The tartar control ingredient is an anti-chelating agent meant to prevent calcium from building up on your teeth. But if you have really clean teeth, the tartar control ingredient, instead of pulling the calcium out of your mouth, will pull the calcium out of your roots.
Microscopically roots look like swiss cheese. The roots are dentin. Dentin is filled with body fluid and goes all the way down to the nerves of the teeth. When that body fluid in the dentin expands, it pushes on your nerves and your brain says hot. When the body fluid in the dentin shrinks, it pulls on your nerves and your brain says cold. When the tartar control ingredient has pulled the calcium out of those microscopic holes in your roots, the roots are wide open and your brain reacts with a pain response.
Whitening and Brightening ingredients are usually abrasives that can grind your enamel and roots away.
Desiccants are also used for whitening which will pull the moisture out of your teeth because when your teeth dry out they look whiter.
Switching toothpastes will often help with root sensitivity.
Acid Reflux also causes root sensitivity which includes about 30%-40% of my patients.
Stomach acid can reach the teeth and cause enamel loss and prevent re-mineralization.
More information about how to reduce acid reflux is described in the section of this website called Solutions to Tooth Decay and Wear.