Sensodyne ProNamel Toothpaste
The Issue: Your teeth are as sensitive as a 14-year-old on her period who just got dumped. It's starting to kill the joy of froyo and lattes, which leave your teeth throbbing.
Dr. Fidler explains, "Teeth become sensitive when your gums recede, exposing the underlying layer of the tooth enamel and the roots' surface. Particularly if this happens over a short period of time, the tooth's roots don't have time to adapt and this causes sensitivity. Using a hard toothbrush or brushing too hard could accelerate this gum recession or wearing down of the tooth enamel." And as fans of white strips know all too well, "Using tooth-whitening solution, whether in white strips or in whitening toothpaste, can cause sensitivity if it seeps into the gum area below your tooth enamel." Another reason is frequently eating acidic foods, which can cause tooth enamel to erode and thus increase tooth sensitivity. Basically all the things we love to drink in copious amounts are smile killers: coffee, wine and Dr. Pepper (yes, everybody loves Dr. Pepper...it's the law).
To help restore tooth enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity, Dr. Fidler recommends Sensodyne ProNamel. It contains fluoride to help harden enamel and protect against cavities, and potassium nitrate (at the max FDA approved strength) to relieve and prevent sensitivity. By hardening your tooth enamel, the toothpaste helps protect against the effects of acid erosion, which can cause teeth to change their shape, texture and color. So even if sensitive teeth aren't your most pressing concern, Sensodyne ProNamel also appeals to your vanity, protecting the look of your pearly whites. You didn't endure braces for four formidable years only to lose the mouth battle with acid, did you?
For this (or any) sensitive teeth toothpaste to work properly, Dr. Fidler explains that you need to know how to apply it properly. To get your teeth clean, use a soft toothbrush and brush with a mild, non-abrasive toothpaste (could be your regular toothpaste or Sensodyne ProNamel). Then rinse out your mouth. Now, take the Sensodyne and gently rub it onto the sensitive teeth with your finger. For it to work properly, leave the paste on for three to four minutes before rinsing and spitting it out. Just make sure you wash you grubby mits first.
Sensodyne ProNamel generally runs about $5 to $6 and you can get it in select drugstores or online (where we found it for $4.79). Honestly, though, you're not a shark, so spending six bucks on the one set of teeth you'll ever have isn't a terrible idea.