What Is the Best Sensitive Toothpaste: Sensodyne, Pronamel, Colgate, Crest, and Squigle Reviewed

Sensitive teeth, or dentine hypersensitivity, is a common condition that affects around 50% of the population. Sensitive toothpaste is the best treatment for this common condition, and the best brands are Sensodyne, Pronamel, Colgate, and Crest. Squigle is on this list because it is a great product, although its marketing is not up to par with the bigger players.

Most of us have felt the throbbing pain when drinking a cup of hot tea or a glass of cold water. While the condition is so common, and the symptoms are the same, the causes can be different.

Choosing the right treatment for your sensitive teeth is important, because using the wrong product can be useless, or even detrimental for your teeth.

In this article, you'll find a review of some sensitive tooth products, an overview of common causes of tooth sensitivity, a review of my favorite products, and some information on treating sensitivity at the dentist's office.

My Favorite Products

The best products that I've found are Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive Toothpaste and Mi Paste. I go into detail on them both below.

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is the popular name of a medical condition named dentine hypersensitivity, in which moderate stress agents such as thermal stimuli, (temperature changes), chemical stimuli, (sweet or acidic substances), or tactile stimuli, (biting on foods), make your teeth hurt. When you drink hot or cold drinks or you eat sweets, your teeth or just one tooth will hurt. The pain subsides eventually, but it can be very annoying.

Teeth sensitivity is usually a symptom of another problem, and it consists of the exposure of the dentin to external thermal, chemical, or mechanical stress factors, (heat, cold, acid, etc).

Dentin contains tiny channels from the surface to the tooth nerve (dentinal tubules), and any stress will be easily transmitted to the nerve, hence the sharp pain. Normally, the dentin is covered by enamel, which protects it from external factors.

Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief vs Sensodyne Repair and Protect

A personal review

I tend to listen to other people's advice and check the trends when it comes to buying a new product, but I always do my own review, and the sales numbers of a product is usually a good indication of the products position in comparison with other products. But this is not always a perfect indicator.

Before starting on Mi Paste, I was only using sensitive toothpaste, and I started with what the dentist recommended, the Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief. After a few days my tooth felt really great, no more sharp pain with cold water or sweets.

After a while on Colgate Sensitive I ran out of it and I had to use Crest Sensitivity which I had in the house. It only took a couple of days off of my regular Colgate Pro Relief, and my tooth started to ache again. I bought the Colgate, and within a day of using it I already felt better.

Because many people recommended the Sensodyne Repair and Protect as being the equivalent of the Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief, which I was using for sometime now, I wanted to try it. It is good, definitely better that any other products but for me Colgate was still the best product.

I compared the two toothpastes in two ways, the amount of pain when drinking cold water while using the toothpaste, and the number of days with no pain after stopping using the sensitive toothpaste.

On Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief my sensitivity was 0—no pain at all. Not with cold beverages, or hot beverages, or sweets.

On Sensodyne Repair and Protect, my sensitivity was reduced to almost 0, though I would still feel some pain occasionally with very cold beverages, or very acidic liquids.

After stopping brushing with Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief it took about two days to get back to my "regular" sensitivity.

After stopping brushing with Sensodyne Repair and Protect it took about one day for my tooth to be sensitive.

After stopping the use of any sensitive toothpaste, the teeth sensitivity comes back right away.

Results: Sesodyne vs. Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief

Sensitivity While Using
Days Before Teeth Were Sensitive Again After I Stopped Using
Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief
0 — no pain at all with cold or hot beverages or sweets
Sensodyne Repair and Protect
Almost 0 — except very cold or acidic beverages
Note, I didn't test Crest Sensitivity Toothpaste the same way, though I did find that it was less effective than Colgate.

Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste

Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste is fluoride free, remineralizes teeth, contains NovaMin to rebuild the tooth surface.

  • Strengthens teeth
  • Kills bacteria and prevents cavities
  • Reduces tooth sensitivity, and it is clinically proven to provide the preventive tooth and gum care.

The Best Products for Sensitive Teeth

Which Products for Which Type of Sensitivity?

For Random, Temporary Sensitivity
For Post-Whitening Sensitivity
For Sensitivity Due to Gum Recession
For Sensitivity Due to Enamel Erosion
Sensodyne Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth (or toothpaste with potassium nitrate)
Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste
Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive Toothpaste
Zila Prodentec Rotadent ToothBrush
Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser
MI Paste

I know your time is precious, so if you are only interested in buying a product to treat your sensitive teeth, here are the best products with a brief description. If you want to learn more and understand what each of the products does as well as learn about the causes of hypersensitivity, read the rest of the article.

For Random, Temporary Sensitivity

If your teeth sensitivity is just a temporary issue and it has no underlying condition, then a toothpaste like the Sensodyne Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth, containing Potassium Nitrate is the right choice.

For Post-Whitening Sensitivity

If your teeth sensitivity is related to teeth whitening, the above toothpaste is perfect. The best way is to start using it a few days before the whitening session. This will reduce the pain. Take painkillers for a few days.

For Sensitivity Due to Gum Recession

If the reason for your tooth sensitivity is the recession of the gum, your best products are all of the following used in combination:


  • Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste—It contains NovaMin to restore tooth minerals and reduce hypersensitivity
  • Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive Toothpaste—This is a great product. Give it a try. It contains Xylitol to inhibit plaque bacteria, soluble calcium for restoring the lost calcium, and nanosized calcite to seal the exposed dentin.


  • Zila Prodentec Rotadent ToothBrush—This is a very gentle electric toothbrush. It cleans your teeth perfectly while being very gentle on the enamel, and cleaning the gum pockets, and between the teeth, where no other toothbrush reaches.


  • Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser—This is the best flossing method. Use it in addition to your regular flossing. You should do this a few times per week.

Other Treatments:

  • MI Paste is a treatment that helps rebuild the minerals on your teeth. It is the best product on the market.

For Sensitivity Due to Enamel Erosion

If your teeth are sensitive due to enamel erosion, the following products work best:


  • Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste, No Fluoride, with NovaMin, to restore tooth minerals and reduce hypersensitivity.


  • Zila Prodentec Rotadent ToothBrush - A very gentle electric toothbrush like no other. Cleans perfectly, while not brushing too hard on your sensitive teeth.

Other Treatments:

  • MI Paste rebuilds the enamel. Absolutely great product.

What to Do for Sensitive Teeth Long-Term

If you don't have a plan done by your dentist, here is what I did to get rid of this problem.

At first, when the pain was unbearable, I started with Sensodyne Pronamel, which contains Potassium nitrate, to numb the pain. I knew that this was only part of the problem, and I made an appointment with the dentist and complained about my problem.

The dentist told me I had a little gum recession. She recommended the Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief to me as a way to rebuild the depleted cementum on the exposed side of the tooth, and looked at ways to try to fix the gum recession.

In my case, because of a misaligned tooth there was very little to be done besides complex orthodontic work. The receding gum was caused by the teeth shifting, common with misaligned teeth. So Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief was the best solution for the medium term.

After a wile on Colgate, I was OK but my tooth was still a little sensitive. I did some research, I further talked to my dentist, and I tried a few products. The best combination for my sensitive tooth was Squigle as my main toothpaste and MI Paste as dental treatment.

MI Paste is very easy to use and can be applied by yourself at home. When used in tandem, the Squigle toothpaste and MI Paste are very effective. The toothpaste works on treating the gum receding by treating the gum disease, and MI Paste works on your teeth to prevent acid erosion, and to generally protect the teeth.

If you have teeth acid erosion problems cause by acid reflux or simply because your enamel is not strong enough, the best electric toothbrush is the Zila Prodentec Rotadent. This is also a great toothbrush for treating gum disease, because its fine brush filaments can reach under the gum and between the teeth to remove plaque.

Flossing can only reach between the teeth but not in the gum pockets, where Rotadent is the best. The only other device that can reach in the gum's pockets is the Waterpik.

How Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Works

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Photo Credit: Sam Fentress - Tooth Section Showing enamel and cementum
Photo Credit: Sam Fentress - Tooth Section Showing enamel and cementum

There are many causes for teeth sensitivity, and in most of the cases, there is a toothpaste that will help you alleviate the pain. Sometimes the teeth sensitivity is just a symptom of a more serious problem, and you need to take other actions in order to repair your teeth. A visit to the dentist is often required.

Gingival Recession

As explained earlier, dentine hypersensitivity is caused by the exposure of the dentin to external stimuli. One of the most common causes are receded gums (gingival recession). Gum recession is caused by periodontal disease, age or missing teeth.

When the gum recedes, the part that is usually covered by gum is exposed to erosion factors such as acid in food, mechanical abrasion with harder food, abrasion with certain toothpastes conceived to be more abrasive, etc.

This kind of erosion is normal, and it does not affect the naturally exposed part of the tooth, the exterior part, because it is protected by enamel. This is not true for the tooth's root, the side that is under the gum. The root is only covered with a thin layer of a less durable protection shield called cementum.

Cementum can be very easily removed by erosion agents, and once the cementum is gone, there is no more protection for the sensitive dentin layer. Normally external stress factors don't reach the areas not covered by enamel, therefore they are more sensitive if exposed.

If you treat the periodontal disease, the root will be again covered by gums, and will not be exposed anymore. Periodontal disease, or gingivitis, debuts with random gum bleeding episodes. If you treat your gums when they start bleeding, you will prevent teeth sensitivity.

Teeth Whitening

Another cause of sensitivity is whitening your teeth. If you have recently done a whitening session, this is most likely the problem. Take painkillers and wait for a few days. The pain will eventually disappear. The pain after a whitening session disappears after a few days by itself.

Enamel Erosion

Another common cause is the wearing of the enamel. This can happen if your enamel is eroded by various factors, such as acidic food, the stomach acid regurgitated during nocturnal acid reflux episodes, unusual teeth brushing, (too many times, using a very hard brush, or brushing immediately after eating acidic food), or using abrasive toothpaste.

If you suspect the enamel is eroded, you will need to avoid acidic foods and drinks, or if you have them, just rinse your mouth with water. Avoid using abrasive toothpaste. Abrasive toothpaste should be used only on an as-needed basis for people who have developed tartar on their teeth. Acid reflux can be avoided by eating smaller meals, more often.

My Personal Favorite Products

Sensitive toothpastes do not treat teeth. They just relieve the symptoms. My personal favorite is Squigle.

I had the best results for my sensitive tooth with MI Paste. After the treatment with MI Paste, I was no longer stuck with sensitive toothpastes, though I still prefer them.

Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive Toothpaste

I found this toothpaste on Amazon while searching for other sensitive toothpastes. At the time I was still using the Colgate, which is a great product but it doesn't have lasting results. When you stop using it your teeth will start hurting.

This toothpaste, though it doesn't have the most sells, it does have the best reviews of all sensitive toothpastes, and that's because it's simply the best.

It doesn't irritate the gums and has almost no taste. It is a little sweet from the xylitol, but xylitol actually protects your teeth.

The active ingredient are the calcites which seals the dentin. This fixes the problem even if only temporarily, as opposed to masking the problem by using a numbing agent.

Sensitive Toothpaste Differences

Sensodyne vs Pronamel vs Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief vs Crest Sensitivity vs Squigle

Comparison of Sensitive Toothpastes

Active Ingredient
Method of Action
Sodium Lauryl Sulfates?
Sensodyne Rapid Relief
Strontium acetate and Sodium Fluoride 0.23%
Strontium acetate replaces eroded calcium on the teeth, plugging dentin canaliculi and replacing some lost calcium. Fluoride protects against cavities.
Sensodyne Pronamel
Potassium nitrate 5%, Sodium fluoride 0.15% w/v fluoride ion
Potassium nitrate desensitizes teeth nerves, reducing or eliminating pain. Sodium fluoride protects enamel against acid erosion.
Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief
Arginine, calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate plugs the tubules in the dentin, repairing the lost calcium on the tooth. Arginine activates the bacteria that neutralizes the acid.
Crest Sensitivity
Potassium nitrate 5%, Sodium fluoride 0.24%
Potassium nitrate desensitizes the nerves in your teeth, relieving pain. Sodium fluoride protects enamel against acid erosion.
Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive
Xylitol, lactoferin, and calcite
Xylitol prevents plaque, lactoferin is an anti-microbial, and calcite plugs the open tubules.

The best-selling sensitive toothpastes are Sensodyne, Pronamel, (also a Sensodyne product), Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief, and Crest Sensitivity. Although not a big player, Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive is getting only positive reviews.

Sensodyne Rapid Relief

  • Active ingredients: Strontium acetate and sodium fluoride 0.23%
  • Strontium acetate is a replacement for the eroded calcium on the teeth. It will plug the dentin canaliculi and replace some of the lost calcium. The fluoride is for protection against cavities.
  • Contains no SLSs (sodium lauryl sulfates)

Sensodyne Pronamel

  • Active ingredients: Potassium nitrate 5%, Sodium fluoride 0.15% w/v fluoride ion
  • Potassium nitrate desensitizes the teeth nerves, making the pain go away. Sodium fluoride protects the enamel against acid erosion.
  • Contains no SLSs (sodium lauryl sulfates)
  • Side effects and concerns: Contains saccharin and sorbitol, may cause irritation to gums and tongue.

Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief

  • Active ingredients: Arginine, calcium carbonate.
  • The calcium carbonate is the compound that plugs the tubules in the dentin, and repairs the lost calcium on the tooth. Arginine activates the bacteria that neutralizes the acid, in the most natural way.
  • Contains SLS

Crest Sensitivity

  • Active ingredients: Potassium nitrate 5%, Sodium fluoride 0.24%
  • Potassium nitrate is a desensitizer of the nerves in your teeth, relieving the pain. Sodium fluoride is the agent that protects the enamel against acid erosion.
  • Contains SLS

Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive

  • Active ingredients: Xylitol to prevent plaque, lactoferin, an antimicrobial, and calcite to plug the open tubules.
  • It seals the dentin tubules providing protection from exposure to acid erosion.
  • Contains no SLSs (sodium lauryl sulfates)

Treatment at the Dentist

Other ways to treat tooth sensitivity can only be done at your dentist's office.

If you have missing teeth, the bone on the missing tooth spot will diminish, causing a gum recession. When the gum recedes, your tooth root is exposed, causing pain. As explained earlier, the root is more sensitive because it doesn't have the protecting enamel shield like the rest of the tooth. This causes your pain.

A great way to correct this at the dentist's office is a tooth implant that will stimulate the bone growth and the gum will slowly raise and cover the exposed root. If the tooth has been extracted long time ago, most likely your bone has already shrunken, your teeth have shifted a lot, and you need first to straighten your teeth before having the implant.

Another solution is to have a gum graft, where some tissue is taken from your mouth, and then placed on the affected area. This creates a higher gum that will cover the exposed tooth. This is a great solution, but it is a surgery and you will have to endure the recovery period that is associated with any surgery.

One of the greatest solutions for cases like this is the laser treatment. The laser treatment collapses the dentin canals, sealing them. If the dentin canals are sealed there will be no pain.

The simplest dentist solution is to apply a special varnish on the affected tooth or teeth, and then cure the varnish with a special device to harden it.

Sensodyne Repair and Protect Video

© 2013 Dorian Bodnariuc

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Comments 15 comments

srsddn lm profile image

srsddn lm 3 years ago

As a senior citizen I use Sensodyne and find it affective.

renewedfaith2day profile image

renewedfaith2day 3 years ago

I have two observations. First, I really like this consumer review and comprehensive comparison. As I, along with millions of others, suffer from this condition, you have made a purchasing decision much easier and more informed. The second observation has to do with the poll listed below. While I am not "Anti-Fluoride," I do admit that I have a problem with something that you can't give to a small child. I do not see this as conspiracy paranoia as much as it is an introduction into alternative therapies when it comes to dental issues. Also, I have exceeded my "likes" today but I have visited this site and I really appreciate the information here.

anonymous 3 years ago

I use Squigle and I love it. No fluoride, no flavoring and very gentle. No harmful ingredients like colgate and the other store brands

darkflowers profile image

darkflowers 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

I make my own toothpaste nowadays with all natural ingredients. It works fantastic. Since I started doing that I have never had pain etc. anymore. We all have our own solutions that work best for us! I'm happy you're tooth are loving what you do :-)

EpicEra profile image

EpicEra 3 years ago

I use sensitivity toothpaste daily

Coffee-Break profile image

Coffee-Break 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada Author

@EpicEra: Me too, if I run out of it and use regular, I have problems.

mel-kav profile image

mel-kav 3 years ago

Great lens. I used to use Sensodyne, but my breath never felt fresh. I use the Crest Sensitive now - I like it much better. Haven't had any problems with sensitivity since I started using it.

Coffee-Break profile image

Coffee-Break 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada Author

@mel-kav: Try Colgate, that's my favorite.

SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

I usually use soap - it gets rid of the toothpaste buildup on my teeth and makes them feel slick and actually clean - but sometimes I do like to indulge in "real" toothpaste. Since I'm sensitive to SLS and prefer not to use fluoride, I've turned to Squigle, which I like very much. Glad you've included it here. Thanks for the comparisons!

Coffee-Break profile image

Coffee-Break 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada Author

@SusanDeppner: Squigle is my number 1 favorite, and Colgate Sensitive is on the second place. Thanks for visiting.

FirstClassDenta profile image

FirstClassDenta 3 years ago

Great lens, interesting comparisons. I recently had root canal treatment and a crown, the tooth was very sensitive to hot drinks for a while after, what worked for me was the Sensodyne Repair and Protect you mention above. From the moment I used it the sensitivity was gone and has never returned. The toothpaste did take some getting used to at first though as it had a much thicker and gooey consistency to it, but well worth it.

RapidWhiteSmiles profile image

RapidWhiteSmiles 2 years ago

Great lens, thanks for sharing. I'd have to say Sensodyne, I've had a few occasions where my teeth were sensitive, and Sensodyne worked for me.

buddhamind131 2 years ago

Great lens indeed! Makes the purchasing decision much easier now that I have some context for the which paste has what, etc etc. I think I'm going to try out the Squigle after this next tube is gone.

TanoCalvenoa 2 years ago

My wife preferred Colgate until I figured out how to make a homemade version.

DaisyChain profile image

DaisyChain 16 months ago from France

Very skeptical about these expensive products, especially for older people who have lost tooth enamel but still, you have to try to the manufacturers do make a good-sounding scientific case.

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