Do you have sensitive teeth? Do your teeth or gums hurt? Only 1 out of every 8 people have naturally sensitive teeth, for the remaining 7 there is a reason behind the pain and sensitivity. The professionals at South Charlotte Dentistry have weighed in and offer their advice and best tips for dealing with sensitive teeth.

There are many reasons for sensitive teeth like brushing with the wrong tooth brush, brushing too hard, whitening too often, cavities, gum disease and more.  The most common, and the one South Charlotte Dentists see most often, is using a toothpaste, or whitening product, that erodes tooth enamel.

Know this dear readers!  It’s not your fault!  Grocery stores and drug stores are filled with trendy whitening products that are not necessarily good for your teeth.  Did you know that the majority of brands that include ingredients for whitening your teeth are harmful to tooth enamel! We sat down with Dr. James Wells, popular dentist in Charlotte, to find out how he addressed some of the most commonly asked questions about toothpaste and enamel loss.


Discussion with Dr. James Wells – South Charlotte Dentistry

Alex:  What does toothpaste have to do with enamel loss?

Dr. Wells:  The erosive ingredients in many popular toothpaste brands and over-the-counter whitening products expedite enamel erosion.  Advertisers promote clean teeth and whitening but prolonged usage of these products may not be the best choice.

Alex:  What toothpaste should consumers be using? 

Dr. Wells: I tell my patients that any toothpaste with ADA Approval and neutral sodium fluoride. When talking about controlling sensitivity, the choices become very slim. The two options are Colgate Sensitive Repair and Protect and Sensodyne Toothpaste. Both of these options are ADA approved and have active ingredients of potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride.

Alex:  Are all whitening toothpaste products bad for your teeth?

Dr. Wells: No. Any whitening toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval can be considered safe, if used in moderation.

Alex:  What ingredients in toothpaste are harmful, or erode enamel?

Dr. Wells: Depending on your toothpaste, these ingredients may differ. Different toothpastes can be more abrasive than others so it is important to know what is in your toothpaste. To find this information, you must look at your toothpastes’ RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity). A normal limit in a toothpaste is 250 RDA. But, the higher the abrasivity, the more sensitivity it can cause over time.

Alex:  Can you get enamel back that you have lost?

Dr. Wells:  Some toothpaste brands claim that they can restore the enamel in your teeth. In reality, it takes years for anyone to notice a difference. Prescription toothpaste could help to slow

down the loss of enamel, but it cannot help to rebuild what is already gone. Another option is dental work, like dental implants. This would be known as a quick fix. But, ONCE IT’S GONE, IT’S GONE.

Alex:  Is there a way to measure enamel loss?

Dr. Wells:  Yes. An x-ray could show you and the dentist how bad your enamel loss is. You can also tell by getting impressions of your teeth. Over time, we would be able to tell the loss.

Alex:  How long could it take to notice enamel loss?

Dr. Wells:  Everyone is different in terms of levels of plaque, tartar, and stain build up on your teeth. So, it can vary from person to person. Once you pass the layer of enamel on a tooth, you get to a section called, “Dentin.” Dentin is the layer of nerves in a tooth. Once you lose enamel, the dentin is exposed and can be irritated more easily. This is normally when someone would notice enamel loss.

Alex:  Can your diet affect your enamel loss?

Dr. Wells:  100%! What you eat affects your teeth. A diet that contains a lot of acidity and sugar are more likely to lose tooth enamel much more quickly. This is not to say you should not eat candy or not drink soda, but if you do, brush your teeth to stop that bacteria from forming.

Alex:  Are there other ways that people may be losing tooth enamel?

Dr. Wells:  Most enamel loss can be seen from grinding your teeth at night. This can be helped by wearing a night guard at night. Some say that the loss of enamel could be due to the decreased amount of fluoride people are drinking. Most people drink bottled water instead of tap water. Tap water contains fluoride, while bottled water does not. So, this could be a small factor. Enamel can also be lost naturally over the years. It’s just like getting older, it’s inevitable.

Alex:  Can you stop enamel erosion?

Dr. Wells:  Yes! By changing your diet, adjusting your bit, and better home care, your enamel loss could come to a halt. There are some toothpastes on the market that claim to be reparative, such as Sensodyne Pro Enamel Health.

Alex:  Did you know… the top three ingredients in most toothpaste is water, sugar alcohol and SAND!

Dr. Wells:  Yes!  If you are interested in finding a better solution.  Look for a toothpaste with the first ACTIVE ingredient of potassium nitrate. Potassium Nitrate is an anti-sensitivity ingredient that helps to desensitize the nerves and can help protect your enamel.


In summary, don’t risk your dental health any longer! You are now equipped with the knowledge and tools to stop enamel loss. Dr. Wells and his staff are excited to help you choose safe products that are affordable! Make an appointment today at South Charlotte Dentistry!


Article by Alex Watson, CCP Web Design




“Colgate Sensitive Prevent and Repair (Paste, Dentifrice) Mission Hills S.A De C.V.”, 12 Apr. 2019,


Murphy, Caleb. “What Is Relative Dentin Abrasivity Scale (RDA)?: AuthorityDental.” Authority Dental, 9 July 2019,


“Seal Product Shopping List.” Shopping List of All Products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance,



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