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Sensodyne Vs Pronamel: Differences & Similarities

Updated: Mar 8

Sensodyne toothpaste and pronamel toothpaste are both made by the same manufacturer, Haleon. As a matter of fact, the pronamel is actually a subdivision of sensodyne which is why it's full name is "Sensodyne Pronamel."


Both pronamel and sensodyne were made for people who suffer from chronic teeth sensitivity. The main conceptual difference between the two is that the sensodyne is marketed towards sensitivity only while the pronamel is sensitivity plus strengthening teeth.


Pronamel vs Sensodyne toothpaste

Key differences:

  • Sensodyne is made for sensitive teeth.

  • Pronamel is made for sensitive teeth with enamel repair.


These differences are based on the official statements by Sensodyne. However, if you compare the two dentifrices closely, there are much more differences than that. Although the distinctions they're mentioning above aren't quite as different as you may think.


Our purpose is to compare all of the features between pronamel vs sensodyne.


Table Comparison

Below is a table comparison of the features between sensodyne vs pronamel toothpaste.


Features

Sensodyne

Pronamel

Fluoride

Stannous fluoride

Sodium fluoride

Desensitizer

Stannous fluoride

Potassium nitrate

Whitening

Abrasives

Abrasives

Enamel repair

Yes

Yes

Gum health

Yes

Yes

Abrasivity

Low

Low

SLS

Yes & No

No


Both of these toothpastes' effects on your oral health aren't as drastic as you may have though. They mostly do the same things but their efficacy in each feature may be slightly different.


In the next section we will dive deeper in the nitty gritty details.


 

Cavity prevention

Sensodyne and pronamel toothpastes have anti-cavity properties because they both contain fluoride. Evidence of that can be seen on their box label which clearly states that their purpose is to prevent tooth decay.


Although their purposes may be similar, the type of fluoride they use are different.

  • Sensodyne mostly use stannous fluoride (SnF2) which is fluoride that is bound to tin.

  • Pronamel only uses sodium fluoride (NaF) which is fluoride that is bound to sodium.


Sensodyne pronamel intensive enamel repair SLS-free
Pronamel uses sodium fluoride

The only cavity prevention and enamel strengthening agent in those two types of fluoride is the fluoride ion itself. The stannous and sodium ions are merely stabilizers to help deliver the fluoride to your teeth.


Sensodyne repair and protect with SLS
Sensodyne mostly uses stannous fluoride

Therefore, in that regard both of these anti-cavity agents should theoretically have a similar efficacy. However, research has shown that SnF2 does come with other effects which may have additional benefits for your oral health.


Sodium fluoride vs Stannous fluoride

Below are the differences between NaF vs SnF2 and as you can see, they share a lot of similarities but the stannous version does come with extra perks.


NaF benefits:

  • Inhibition of demineralization

  • Enhancement of remineralization

  • Inhibition of bacterial activity in plaque


SnF2 benefits:

  • Inhibition of demineralization

  • Enhancement of remineralization

  • Inhibition of bacterial activity in plaque

  • Anti-bacterial (bactericidal & bacteriostatic)

  • Decreases teeth sensitivity

  • Improves gum health


It is due to the extra effects that stannous fluoride toothpastes cost more than sodium fluoride.


 

Gum health

Both the pronamel and sensodyne toothpastes can help prevent gum disease because they help remove plaque and the fluoride has antibacterial properties. Brushing with either one will improve the conditions of your gums.


However, the stannous fluoride within sensodyne may have a slight edge in efficacy for keeping your gums healthier. Research have shown that SnF2 repressed the bacterial population more than other types of fluoride.


Once again, that is why the stannous versions of toothpaste do come with a price premium.


 

Teeth sensitivity

The difference between pronamel vs sensodyne in decreasing teeth sensitivity has to do with the desensitizing agent that they use. Yes, using either of them should help alleviate your discomfort when you drink cold beverages or when you breathe in cold air.


Type of desensitizer in each toothpaste:

  • Sensodyne uses stannous fluoride (SnF2) to reduce teeth sensitivity.

  • Pronamel uses potassium nitrate (KNO3) to reduce teeth sensitivity.



You're probably thinking, stannous fluoride again?! Yes, stannous fluoride is a proven teeth desensitizing agent. Studies have shown that there were marked improvements in dentinal hypersensitivity when brushing with it compared to a placebo.


Stannous fluoride vs Potassium nitrate

These toothpaste desensitizers work via different mechanisms and we don't particularly believe that one is superior to the other. People with sensitive teeth will react different to different products. If one works better for you stick with it, if it doesn't you may want to try the other one.


Desensitizing mechanisms:


In our opinion, whichever sensitive toothpaste that works better for you is the best one for you! Although you do need to use each one for at least a few weeks to see its full effects.


 

Teeth whitening

You will most likely find the label whitening on both the pronamel and sensodyne toothpastes. As a matter of fact, it's quite rare to find a non-whitening toothpaste.


Yes, both toothpastes can whiten your teeth by mechanically abrading away stains but they will not whiten them via chemical bleaching. That is the major difference between professional teeth whitening and whitening toothpastes.


Toothpaste whitening vs professional whitening:

  • Sensodyne and pronamel toothpastes use abrasives to scrub away stains on the exterior surfaces of your enamel.

  • Professional whitening uses hydrogen peroxide to chemically oxidize stains on the exterior and interior surfaces of your enamel.


The best analogy we can think of for abrasive whitening is when you scrub a dried stain away from a dinner plate. On the other hand, chemical oxidation is when you use bleach on a wine stained white t-shirt.


Exception: There are whitening toothpastes which do contain peroxide such as the colgate optic white pro series toothpaste.


colgate pro series peroxide toothpaste next to bottle of hydrogen peroxide

Can whitening toothpaste damage enamel?

Since whitening toothpastes use abrasives which you scrub your enamel with, if they are too abrasive they can be harmful. Fortunately for you, pronamel and sensodyne toothpastes are relatively low on the abrasiveness scale for whitening toothpastes.


Toothpaste RDA chart

The chart above shows various toothpaste abrasivity and yes, the sensodyne product lines are all within safety limits.


 

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

None of the pronamel toothpastes use sodium lauryl sulfate while most sensodyne toothpastes do not use SLS. There are a select few product lines within sensodyne which do contain it so you do need to read the labels carefully.


  • Repair and protect toothpaste

  • Rapid relief toothpaste

  • Deep clean toothpaste

  • Complete protection toothpaste


Sodium lauryl sulfate is relatively safe to use because the FDA has even cleared it to be used as a food additive. Most of the fear about its safety has been overblown.


Yes, it is a very potent surfactant (detergent/soap) so it may be too harsh for some people's liking when used in their mouth. That is understandable and if that is the case, it is your personal preference whether you want to use it or not.


 

Verdict - Which one is better?

In our opinion, there isn't an absolute best meaning that sensodyne isn't necessarily better than pronamel nor is the vice versa true.


Most people choose to use their products because they are suffering from teeth sensitivity. Unfortunately certain people respond better to certain desensitizers. Therefore, we encourage you to try both of them to see which one alleviates your discomfort more.


According to our dentists in Long Island City, the best toothpaste for you would be the one that reduces the most sensitivity for you.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

Association Memberships:

Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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