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Ingredients in Sensodyne Toothpaste

by
author image Robin Wasserman
Robin Wasserman has been writing and prosecuting biochemical patents since 1998. She has served as a biochemical patent agent and a research scientist for a gene-therapy company. Wasserman earned her Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry and molecular biology, graduating from Harvard University in 1995.
Ingredients in Sensodyne Toothpaste
Sensodyne toothpaste provides relief to sensitive teeth. Photo Credit teeth image by JASON WINTER from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Sensodyne manufactures several desensitizing toothpastes specifically formulated to relieve the pain of sensitive teeth. Sensodyne Anticavity Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth, Fresh Mint contains ingredients that block pain associated with contact triggers, such as cold or hot foods. When used regularly, the ingredients in this toothpaste help prevent the sensitivity from returning.

Flavors

Sensodyne Anticavity Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth, Fresh Mint contains two sugar substitutes and the general term "flavors" to indicate the specific proprietary flavorings that make the toothpaste minty tasting. The two sugar substitutes include the natural sugar-alcohol sorbitol and the artificial sweetener sodium saccharin. Sorbitol is about 60 percent as sweet as sugar but it is slowly and poorly dissolved by your body, having a laxative effect if you consume significant amounts. Saccharin is about 300 times sweeter than sugar, and very stable, even in the presence of acids. These ingredients are generally added to mask the potentially unpleasant flavors of the other toothpaste ingredients in order to increase preference, compliance and use of Sensodyne toothpaste.

Glycerin

Glycerin is a viscosity-decreasing agent, decreasing the thickness of the final product. It also has a very sweet taste. Also known as glycerol, glycerin is a component of all fats and oils and can be converted to glucose by the liver, which provides energy for cellular metabolism. While not meant to be eaten when used as a toothpaste ingredient, it does impart sweetness and a desired product texture.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate helps water and oil mix so they can be rinsed away. As a surfactant, sodium lauryl sulfate works as a cleansing agent, helping to clean bacterial and food residues from the surfaces of teeth.

Dyes

Sensodyne toothpaste contains three ingredients that impart color to the final toothpaste product; FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Yellow #10 and titanium dioxide. FD&C Blue #1 and Yellow #10 may be derived from animals. Titanium dioxide, derived from minerals, gives products a white color. The combination and specific ratio of these three dyes determines the overall color of Sensodyne toothpaste.

Sodium Fluoride

Sodium fluoride, also known as sodium monofluoride, prevents tooth decay in two ways. The fluoride ions reduce the ability of bacteria to make the acids that attack teeth and lead to tooth decay. At the same time, fluoride ions also help remineralize teeth that have already experienced demineralization due to bacterial acid attack.

Potassium Nitrate

Potassium nitrate is the main desensitizing ingredient in Sensodyne toothpaste. Hypersensitivity of dentin, the layer of your tooth just underneath the enamel, results in pain when you brush your teeth, use dental floss, eat cold, hot, sour or sweet foods, or even when you breathe cold air. Potassium nitrate calms the nerves of teeth, by inhibiting the activity of the sensory nerve endings. This prevents transmission of painful stimuli to the brain.

Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate acts as an effective cleansing agent, helping clean food and bacteria off the surface of teeth. It also provides a buffering system for the overall toothpaste product, helping maintain an appropriate pH. In general, toothpaste has a pH range of 8 to 10, slightly basic.

Xanathan Gum

Sensodyne Toothpaste contains xanthan gum as a product stabilizer. Xanthan gum is known as a "binder", keeping all ingredients in the product mixed uniformly together.

Hydrated Silica

Hydrated silica is added to Sensodyne Toothpaste as an abrasive. Similar to powdered cleansers used to clean your kitchen counter surfaces, hydrated silica's grainy texture helps clean the surface of your teeth, particularly dental plaque.

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