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Why Is Sensodyne So Expensive?

Updated: May 14

Sensodyne is more expensive than other fluoride toothpastes because it's fluoride optimized, desensitizes teeth, and it's born from pharmaceutical roots.


The combination of these three factors contribute to the price premium of Sensodyne toothpastes. You'll often notice that they cost about a few dollars more than Colgate or even Crest branded toothpastes.


Sensodyne is fluoride optimized

A major reason why sensodyne costs more is because its formulation is highly fluoride optimized which makes it more effective than other fluoride toothpastes.


What makes Sensodyne fluoride optimized and more effective:

  • Lacks SLS. Research has shown that SLS interferes with fluoride deposition. In other words, it reduces the bioavailability of fluoride by preventing it from going into your enamel.

  • Contains sodium lactate. This ingredient enhances fluoride absorption of the enamel, which will help strengthen your teeth and fight decay.

  • Contains PVM/MA copolymer. This is a bioadhesive that permits toothpaste ingredients to stick to the surfaces of the enamel so that they work longer. In other words, it increases the duration of the topical effect of fluoride!


Intensive enamel repair toothpaste

Please note that these benefits are found in Sensodyne's crown jewel, their Pronamel Intensive Enamel Repair toothpaste. Some of their other toothpastes may not contain these ingredients.


 

Anti-sensitivity toothpaste

Another reason why sensodyne costs more is because it can also desensitize your teeth in addition to preventing cavities. Basic fluoride toothpastes typically lack a desensitizing effect which helps to bring its cost down. However, sensodyne has this additional ingredient which adds to the cost and contributes to the price premium.


Anti-sensitivity ingredients in Sensodyne:

  • Potassium nitrate. KNO3 is a nerve depolarizing agent which helps numb the tooth nerve and prevents it from firing pain signals when stimulated. That means your teeth won't react to drinking cold water or hot soup since the signals are being blocked.

  • Stannous fluoride. SnF2 is a tubular occlusion agent which blocks open dentinal tubules, which prevents stimuli from interacting with the tooth nerve. Open tubules would permit cold water or hot soup to directly interact with the tooth nerve.


Both of these desensitizing toothpaste ingredients work in different ways but you need to be aware that Sensodyne will only use one or the other. That means there is no toothpaste that contains both desensitizers.


Potassium nitrate vs Stannous fluoride toothpaste
Potassium nitrate vs Stannous fluoride toothpaste

As a general rule of thumb, the Sensodyne Pronamel toothpastes use potassium nitrate while the regular Sensodyne will use either or, depends on the product line.


In summary, the addition of the desensitizing ingredient adds to the cost of the toothpaste.


 

Pharmaceutical background

Unbeknownst to most, Sensodyne is manufactured by Haleon which is a pharmaceutical company, which is very different from other toothpaste brands.


Brands like Colgate and Crest make a lot of everyday consumer products in addition to toothpaste such as soap, detergent, and etc. Not to knock on some brands but some toothpastes are made by influencers...


That is very different from Haleon, which make Flonase and Advil in addition to Sensodyne. What I'm trying to say is that they are a lot more clinical in that regard. It also helps to explain why Sensodyne is highly fluoride optimized and it can also desensitize teeth.


Advil by Haleon
Advil by Haleon

In summary, these companies have very different backgrounds and that contributes to their strengths. I believe there is a benefit in having a pharmaceutical background when it comes to making toothpaste. It explains why it is so effective but unfortunately it does make it more expensive.


 

Is it worth it?



On average, sensodyne tends to cost a few dollars more than other toothpastes because its desensitizing, fluoride optimized, and comes from a clinical background. Our dentists in Long Island City often do recommend sensodyne toothpaste to our patients because of how effective it is.


Therefore in our professional opinion we do believe that Sensodyne is worth the price premium, especially the intensive enamel repair toothpaste.

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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!

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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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