Sensodyne is an oral health brand targeted at people with sensitive teeth.[1] Dentine hypersensitivity is irritation or pain caused when nerves inside the teeth are exposed to the environment. Sensodyne products are applied at home by the patient to treat this condition. Sensodyne is owned by GlaxoSmithKline and is marketed under the name Shumitect in Japan.[2]


Sensodyne is a brand of toothpaste that was first sold by Block Drug, a Brooklyn, New York-based company established in 1907 by pharmacist, Alexander Block.[1] The toothpaste was first marketed in 1961 as a desensitising toothpaste based on a strontium chloride formulation.

In 1980, Sensodyne launched a new toothpaste containing potassium nitrate, a mild local sedative.[3] In 2000 Block Drug was purchased by GlaxoSmithKline.[1] In 2006, Sensodyne Pronamel was released and is marketed as a toothpaste that protects against the effects of dental erosion.

Whitening Treatments and Sensitivity

80% of patients who undergo a professional teeth-whitening treatment will experience sensitive teeth. Sensodyne is marketed as a toothpaste for relieving discomfort before, during and after tooth-whitening treatments.

How Sensodyne Works

Sensodyne toothpastes work in one of three ways to relieve the pain of sensitive teeth*. Depending on the product's active ingredient - Potassium Nitrate, Strontium Acetate, or NovaMin technology.

Potassium Nitrate: The potassium ion in Sensodyne is believed to soothe the nerves inside the teeth.

Clinical studies show potassium nitrate progressively reduces the pain of sensitivity over a period of weeks. As long as a toothpaste with potassium like Sensodyne is used twice daily in brushing, the nerve response will gradually be reduced and sensitivity pain is relieved.

Strontium Acetate: Sensodyne Rapid Relief contains strontium acetate, which is similar to calcium. The strontium in Sensodyne Rapid Relief replaces some of the calcium lost from the dentine and blocks the exposed tubules in the dentinal tissue. This helps prevent the movement of the fluid within the tubules in response to a sensitivity stimulus that could otherwise cause tooth pain.

Sensodyne Rapid Relief relieves sensitivity pain when directly applied to the sensitive area of a tooth with a fingertip for one minute. This is because it is formulated to create a physical seal against sensitivity triggers.

Bioactive glass: Sensodyne contains calcium sodium phosphosilicate (Brand name Novamin) which some studies have shown to reduce tooth sensitivity and cause remineralisation.[4]

See also


  • Addy, Martin.Dentine Hypersensitivity: new perspectives on an old problem. International Dental Journal (2002) 52, 367–375.

External links

  • Sensodyne Official Website