Sensitive toothpaste ingredients

You have to be sure the products you're using for your teeth have everything you need in it. Our sensitivity toothpastes have some ingredients not found in others. With so many toothpastes on the market, this article makes things clearer.


What's in it?

Brushing with the right toothpaste can help make your teeth healthier over the long term, but Colgate®Sensitive Pro-Relief™ can also provide instant* relief if you suffer painful tooth sensitivity.

Teeth become sensitive when the pulp (soft tissue containing nerves in the centre of the tooth) has less protection from temperature changes in the mouth, typically brought on by certain foods. A tooth is made up of a soft centre which contains some nerve fibres, covered by a layer of dentine. Over the dentine lies enamel, which covers teeth above the gum; and cementum, which coats your tooth roots below the crown.

To protect your teeth from sensitivity and decay, it’s important to look after these important surfaces of your teeth.


Protecting these surfaces

Here's what to look for to protect these areas:

Enamel Strengtheners

Enamel and cementum protect the inner tooth, but when they erode or break down, the nerves in the pulp become vulnerable. When this happens, hot, cold, sweet and acidic foods can stimulate the nerves, causing pain and discomfort in your teeth.

Enamel can be damaged or eroded by dental decay, brushing aggressively, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, consuming highly acidic foods or beverages, or by tooth-grinding at night. Other causes of sensitivity include receding gums, which expose the dentine of the roots or even some dental procedures such as professional bleaching – though this sensitivity effect is usually temporary.

For this reason, a good toothpaste for sensitive teeth is one that contains ingredients to help strengthen the enamel, and protect the nerves from irritating and painful hot and cold food sensations.


Ingredients to look for

Arginine and Calcium Carbonate

Arginine and calcium carbonate effectively plug and seal open dentine tubules, the channels that lead to sensitive tooth nerves, causing sensitivity. Blocking the tubules helps prevent pain-producing stimuli, such as hot or cold foods, from causing pain sensations. It can provide instant* relief when directly applied with a fingertip to a sensitive tooth and massaged for one minute, and lasting relief with continued use twice daily. Another common relief ingredient used in sensitivity toothpastes is potassium nitrate, which blocks the stimuli travelling along the nerve fibres in the tooth to the brain, effectively desensitising them to reduce discomfort. It may take up to two weeks to notice any improvements or relief when using sensitivity toothpastes that use potassium nitrate, but when brushing with Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ toothpaste you can notice a difference instantly*.


Toothpaste for sensitive teeth should also contain fluoride, which helps strengthen weakened enamel and helps to prevent early decay from progressing. High-strength fluoride toothpastes can help relieve tooth discomfort.


Caring for sensitive teeth

If your teeth are sensitive you will need to have them checked by a dental professional as the sensitivity could be due to dental decay, or cracks or fractures in fillings or tooth structure.

However, if your tooth sensitivity is due to exposed dentine which can result from aggressive brushing or gum recession, you can brush regularly with a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth for relief from pain. In addition, using your fingertip to massage the sensitive tooth with Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ can provide instant* relief.

Over the long term, brushing twice a day with the right toothpaste will help protect against sensitivity pain. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and don't brush too hard. 

When there are toothpastes and other treatments available for sensitive teeth, there's no need to live with discomfort. With Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ you can be back to eating and drinking the foods and beverages you enjoy*.

* For instant relief, apply directly to each sensitive tooth with finger tip and gently massage for 1 minute, up to twice daily. For lasting relief, apply to a gentle toothbrush making sure to brush all sensitive areas. Brush twice daily.

How does Pro-Argin® Technology work?

Pro-Argin® Technology is designed to provide instant and lasting relief for dentine hypersensitivity.

Schematic illustration of Pro-Argin® mode of action.
For instant relief, apply directly to each sensitive tooth with fingertip and gently massage for 1 minute. For lasting relief, apply to a gentle toothbrush making sure to brush all sensitive areas, brush twice daily.


Pro-Argin® Technology


This page/article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

For instant relief, apply directly to sensitive tooth with fingertip for one minute. For lasting relief, brush twice daily.
†Repairs with twice daily brushing to block the channels leading to sensitive teeth.