Dentine hypersensitivity: most desensitising toothpastes provided benefit finds review


The prevalence of dentine hypersensitivity is reported to be between 3-73% with a higher incidence in females. A number of desensitising toothpastes have been developed to reduce hypersensitivity.

The aim of this review is to assess the effectiveness of desensitising toothpastes in reducing dentine hypersensitivity.


Searches were conducted in the PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and Embase databases for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reporting the effects of toothpaste on dentine hypersensitivity. Only English language studies were considered. Two reviewers independently selected studies and extracted data. The Cochrane risk of bias tool was used to assess study quality. Standardised mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.


  • 31 RCTs involving 2436 patients were included.
  • 3 studies were considered to be high quality, 23 of moderate  quality and 5 of low quality.
  • The desensitising effect was favoured in all tested toothpastes with the exception of strontium-containing toothpaste which showed no statistically significant effect in the meta-analysis.
Toothpaste containing Number of studies (patients) SMD (95%CI) Heterogeneity ( I2)
Potassium 8 (513) -1.28(-2.05 to -0.51) 93%
Stannous fluoride 6 (505) -1.37(-2.30 to -0.44) 95%
Potassium and stannous fluoride 3 (232) -2.50(-4.10 to -0.91) 95%
Strontium 4 (297) 0.05(-0.34 to 0.44) 64%
Calcium sodium phosphosilicate 4 (210) -2.36(-3.72 to -1.00) 92%
Arginine 8 (679) -3.25(-3.87 to -2.63) 86%


The authors concluded

The study reports that there is sufficient evidence to support the use of potassium-, stannous fluoride-, potassium and stannous fluoride-, calcium sodium phosphosilicate-, and arginine-containing desensitising toothpastes for dentin hypersensitivity, but not the use of strontium-containing desensitising toothpaste.


There have been previous meta-analysis of desensitising toothpastes but that have focused on single types of toothpaste (See Links) and these have suggested that the evidence for effectiveness was limited particularly for new agents such as arginine. However, in the previous arginine review only two trials were included (Dental Elf 18th Feb 2013) while this new review includes eight. The authors highlight that all the studies included in the review were sponsored by the manufacturers and the high levels of heterogeneity between the studies.


Bae J, Kim Y, Myung S. Desensitizing toothpaste versus placebo for dentin hypersensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Periodontol. 2014 Dec 5. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12347. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25483802.

Dental Elf – 27th Feb 2013 – New study suggests better outcomes with arginine toothpaste and mouthwash regimen for dentine hypersensitivity treatment.

Dental Elf – 18th Feb 2013 – Little evidence available for the effectiveness of arginine-containing toothpastes in managing dentine hypersensitivity

Dental Elf – 11th June 2012 – Limited evidence for the use of oxalates for treating dentine hypersensitivity

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