The CORE Ingredients In Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpastes

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

All of the different types of Sensodyne Pronamel toothpastes contain a subset of identical ingredients in its formulation. I like to refer to this subset as the core/base ingredients for all of the pronamel products.

5 Pronamel toothpastes
5 Pronamel toothpastes

The various pronamel product lines will often add an additional 1-3 inactive ingredients to the formulation to give it an extra benefit. Otherwise the active ingredients as well as the general benefits for these toothpastes remain the same.

I’ll be discussing what the function and purpose of all these toothpaste ingredients are as well as the perceived benefits that they provide.

Active Ingredients

All pronamel toothpastes use the same two active ingredients, potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride. That is without fail and with no exceptions to the rule.

Pronamel active ingredients label
Pronamel active ingredients label

These two ingredients provide the bulk of the effects and benefits for the toothpaste. I’ll be discussing below what they do.

Potassium nitrate

The purpose of potassium nitrate in toothpaste is to desensitize teeth which helps to relieve dentin hypersensitivity.

How potassium nitrate reduces sensitivity:

  1. Toothpaste supplies an excessive amount of potassium ions to the nerve.
  2. Too much potassium will reverse the natural concentration gradient.
  3. The gradient reversal prevents the firing of action potentials.
crest depolarization repolarization with potassium nitrate
Credit: Crest

Ultimately, since the tooth nerve is unable to generate action potentials, no sensitivity signals will be fired. The end result is all discomfort and sensitivity will be blocked.

Sodium fluoride

The purpose of having sodium fluoride in toothpaste is for its anti-cavity effects. Yes, all pronamel toothpastes have fluoride in them.

critical ph of hydroxyapatite and fluorapatite
Credit: Adam hellen

Benefits of fluoride on teeth:

  • Inhibits demineralization. Fluoride will replace the hydroxyl group of hydroxyapatite (tooth mineral) and convert it to fluorapatite. This new mineral is more resistant to acid dissolution.
  • Enhances remineralization. Demineralized tooth structures will readily incorporate fluoride which in turn draws in calcium and phosphate. The combination of all three minerals will repair damaged enamel.
  • Inhibits bacterial activity. It is actually toxic to bacteria and the presence of it will inhibit bacteria.

In layman’s terms, the above three benefits equate to enamel protection and enamel repair. Yes, it can even reverse and stop small cavities.

If fluoride was removed from the pronamel formulation, they wouldn’t be able to call themselves the enamel protection specialists.

Inactive Ingredients

The inactive ingredients in the pronamel toothpastes are more important than most people realize. People mistakenly believe that since it is labeled as “inactive” it must not provide any effects nor benefits but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sensodyne Pronamel Daily Protection Toothpaste - ingredients directions warnings

Inactive toothpaste ingredients either have direct effects or they act as modulators for the active ingredients. In the case for pronamel, it happens to be the differentiating factor among all of their toothpastes.

Inactive IngredientToothpaste Effects
Moisture retention
Hydrated SilicaWhitening abrasive
Cocamidopropyl BetaineSurfactant/Detergent
Foaming agent
Titanium DioxideWhite colorant
Mild whitening abrasive
Xantan GumThickener
Sodium SaccharinSweetener
Sodium HydroxidepH adjuster
Pronamel inactive ingredients & their effects

Hopefully that gives you a more comprehensive understanding of how these ingredients work and how they benefit you.

Excluded Ingredient

Every single pronamel toothpaste is SLS-free meaning it does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate. While there are many benefits to including it, excluding it can also provide benefits as well.

SLS detergent micelle formation
Credit: Science on the Shelves

Benefits of having SLS in toothpaste:

  • Foaming agent. Most of the foaming while brushing comes from SLS. That is why toothpastes without it don’t foam very much.
  • Effective cleaning. It is a very effective detergent that will remove food, plaque, and stains from your teeth. For historical context, this ingredient was used as an engine degreaser for WWII planes.

Benefits of excluding SLS in toothpaste:

  • Maximizes fluoride efficacy. Studies have shown that having it in toothpaste will interfere with enamel fluoride uptake. Therefore excluding it is more beneficial from a tooth decay prevention standpoint.
  • Reduces mouth drying. Some people find that the detergent is too harsh and may strip the natural oils from their mouths.
  • Minimizes canker sores. Allegedly it can potentially make canker sores worse but the research is mixed.

In my opinion, the primary reason that pronamel does not use sodium lauryl sulfate is to help maximize the efficacy of fluoride. I believe that it is all due to this fact that they proclaim themselves as the “specialist in enamel protection.”


The core ingredients in sensodyne pronamel toothpastes are all the same regardless of which product line you’re using. This specific formulation is what gives them all an anti-sensitivity and enamel protective features.

It is the reason that they’re known as the specialist in enamel protection.

Aside from that, the different types of pronamel will include a few additional inactive ingredients in order to give them a slightly different effect. That is basically what makes their various product lines somewhat different.


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