How does Desensitizing Mouthwash Soothe a Sensitive Tooth?

Tooth sensitivity is the dental trouble experienced by most of us. None of us wants to live in fear of consumption of wrong things that may trigger the sensitivity.

You can soothe the tooth sensitivity with simple dietary changes, proper oral care and use of desensitizing mouthwash. Desensitizing mouthwash protects the enamel layer and also numb the nerve endings.


The severe case of sensitivity needs the proper attention of the dentist. The dentist will find the cause of sensitivity and will treat the cause. However, you can use desensitizing mouthwash till the treatment.

The continual use of desensitizing mouthwash release your teeth from sensitivity (1) and so, we can say that the solution of our sensitive tooth is just a bottle of mouthwash away.

The way mouthwash reduces the sensitivity by blocking the nerves is interesting. So, let us get to know more about it.

How tooth sensitivity occurs?

The tough enamel layer protects the tooth. Enamel and dentine cover the vital tissue of the tooth i.e. pulp. Pulp consists of the nerves and blood vessel and is responsible for a sensation like a tooth pain and sensitivity.

But certain actions, such as the use of hard bristle toothbrush, excessive force while brushing, consumption of acidic food or drinks, poor oral health, etc., attack enamel.

Due to the external insult, enamel starts to wear off leading to the exposure of dentine. Exposed dentine is responsible for transferring sensation from enamel to pulp.

In this way, exposed dentine causes sensitivity when comes in contact with air, food or drink. Sensitive teeth may not cause pain throughout the day. The pain induced due to the sensitive tooth is sharp and only last for a while.

How desensitizing mouthwash works on teeth sensitivity?

Desensitizing mouthwash is useful of sensitive teeth. Their mechanism of action is –

  • Exposed dentin causes tooth sensitivity. Desensitizing mouthwash contains the mild anesthetic agent which numb the nerves endings that are present in the center of the tooth. Thereby, it reduces tooth sensitivity.
  • Desensitizing agents of the mouthwash form crystals and clogs the dentinal tubules. Blocked dentinal tubules cannot transmit pain sensation to nerves and thus, reduce tooth sensitivity. (2)
  • The protective coat on the enamel surface formed by the desensitizing mouthwash. Thereby, it reduces tooth sensitivity.

Though the desensitizing mouthwash works for sensitivity, you cannot get relief overnight. A month of consistent daily use will surely help to reduce the tooth sensitivity.

So, do not give up on your desensitizing mouthwash even If you feel sensitivity after a few days of its use.

Also read: Mouthwash for Gum Disease – How Does It Work?

Desensitizing ingredients of mouthwash

The ingredients of desensitizing mouthwash play an essential role in reducing tooth sensitivity. Desensitizing mouthwash contains –

  • Potassium nitrate.
  • Strontium chloride.
  • Stannous fluoride.
  • Potassium citrate.
  • Calcium phosphate.
  • Sodium fluoride.

These ingredients of mouthwash are the key behind teeth desensitization. Also, the mild anesthetic agent is added to numb the nerves.

Potassium nitrate and potassium citrate are main desensitizing agents which desensitize the nerves (3). And stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride, and calcium phosphate strengthen the enamel by forming the protective coat on the tooth surface.

Mouthwash or toothpaste?

If you are confused between desensitizing mouthwash and toothpaste, then you must know that both do the same action.

Desensitizing mouthwash and toothpaste contain the same basic desensitizing ingredients. Also, the results derived from them for the equal duration is also the same.

So, you can use the desensitizing mouthwash along with the toothpaste for the added benefits.


Other ways to get rid of teeth sensitivity

Some simple tips can get you rid of sensitivity. These include –

  • Use a soft bristle brush. The hard bristle toothbrush increases the friction between the enamel surface and bristles. This results in tooth sensitivity due to loss of enamel.
  • Do not exert excessive force while brushing. The excessive force on the enamel causes its erosion and sensitivity (4). Excessive brushing also leads to the surface roughness of enamel.
  • Avoid tooth whitening aids, i.e., bleaching of the teeth. Bleaching often damages the enamel layer leading to sensitivity.
  • Use of desensitizing toothpaste also helps you to relieve tooth sensitivity.
  • Limit the consumption of acidic beverages and food. Acidic food and drinks damage the enamel layer. Damaged enamel further leads to tooth sensitivity. (5)
  • See your dentist if you are a patient of bruxism. Bruxism leads to the wearing of enamel layer and causes sensitivity.
  • Use night guards if you clench your teeth in sleep. Night guards help to protect your teeth from wear and sensitivity.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Practicing good oral regimen prevent dental issues such as tooth decay and periodontal infection, which are responsible for tooth sensitivity.
  • Follow the correct flossing technique as the flossing in an incorrect manner lead to a gingival recession. The recession of gingiva then produces sensitivity.

Final words

Tooth sensitivity can cause serious dental illness. Protecting enamel can soothe tooth sensitivity. Visit a dentist if you have prolonged pain due to sensitivity. Till then, you can use the desensitizing mouthwash for the relief.


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