Nano-hydroxyapatite Toothpaste Decreases Teeth Sensitivity

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

At every dental check up, you’ve told your dentist that your teeth feel sensitive whenever you drink something cold. The only response that you’ve ever received was to use Sensodyne toothpaste. Sensodyne, sensodyne, and more sensodyne.

Sensodyne Original Flavor

It has gotten to the point where you probably think that sensodyne is the only toothpaste in the world and that there are no other options. However that is incorrect because there are other types of toothpastes such as nano-hydroxyapatite, which can help with decreasing teeth sensitivity.

You’ve probably never heard of this new type of toothpaste but it works via a different mechanism for alleviating sensitive teeth. That is good news for you because if you’re exploring around for information about sensitivity, sensodyne probably isn’t working so well for you.

If that is the case, you may want to give the nano-hydroxyapatite toothpastes a try. It could very well be the answer that you’ve been searching for.

Now without further ado, let us take you on a journey and explain why hydroxyapatite is good for sensitive teeth. We’re definitely going to teach you something new today.

Is hydroxyapatite effective in reducing teeth sensitivity?

The primary marketing of hydroxyapatite toothpastes isn’t solely towards sensitive teeth. If you have heard about this product, it is usually touted as a fluoride alternative dentifrice that can still prevent cavities.

Risewell toothpaste

Studies have shown that hydroxyapatite toothpastes are non-inferior and equivalent to fluoridated ones in remineralizing small cavities. Although interestingly enough, the same mechanism that it uses to prevent cavities can also be used to decrease sensitivity.

The ability of nano-hydroxyapatite toothpastes to desensitize teeth have been proven. In fact, there has even been studies where it can be used to reduce teeth whitening sensitivity after bleaching sessions.

  • Another 9 month follow up study also confirmed that those using the toothpaste had reduced symptoms compared to those who didn’t.

Whitening your teeth will usually make them much more sensitive than normal since that is an expected side effect. If it can work against the exaggerated bleaching sensitivity, it will definitely work in reducing daily teeth sensitivity under normal circumstances.

Overall, it has been well established that it does have anti-sensitivity effects when used on a daily basis. Studies have confirmed that it is statistically significant in desensitizing when compared to fluoride toothpastes and placebos.

Examples of nano-hydroxyapatite toothpastes

There are plenty of toothpaste brands which manufacture them. You’ll often find them with “all natural” or “fluoride-free” slogans.

  • David’s toothpaste
  • Risewell mineral toothpaste
  • Dr Brite extreme whitening
  • Dr Jen natural restoring toothpaste with nano-hydroxyapatite

How does nano-hydroxyapatite decrease sensitivity?

The mechanism for how nano-hydroxyapatite decreases tooth sensitivity is by occluding open dentinal tubules and creating a barrier layer over the enamel. Essentially what these two actions do is shield the tooth from all external stimuli. That is different from how potassium nitrate sensodyne toothpastes work, which desensitizes the nerve.

Occluding exposed dentinal tubules

Under normal conditions, the dentinal tubules are clogged by smear plugs. This prevents you from feeling dentinal sensitivity because it blocks stimuli from reaching the nerves.

Smear Plugs with and without
Credit: KoR

However if you happen to have exposed and wide open dentinal tubules, it is essentially a direct path to the tooth nerve. This means that stimuli can travel straight to the pulp without any impediment. Imagine eating something spicy and it can go straight to the nerve. If it sounds discomforting, you can bet you’ll feel some pain from doing that.

How nano-hydroxyapatite (n-HAp) reduces tooth sensitivity is by occluding the open tubules. Since the size of the particles are smaller than the diameter of the tubules, it is able to enter into it and form a plug and seal it off. Research has also shown that the smaller hydroxyapatite molecules tend to perform better than the larger ones in helping prevent sensitivity.

schema of hydroxyapatite reducing dentin hypersensitivity
Credit: Lijie Chen, Suma Al-Bayatee, Zohaib Khurshid, Amin Shavandi, Paul Brunton and Jithendra Ratnayake

What helps the n-HAp form the plug is that the substance is biocompatible and biomimetic. Your tooth enamel is actually made of 97% hydroxyapatite by weight. Since they are literally the same substance, it will readily enter into the tubules and interact with the tooth structure to form a plug. Like is attracted to like.

Forms a barrier layer over the enamel

The nano-hydroxyapatite doesn’t just plug and seal the dentinal tubules because it also builds an additional layer of hydroxyapatite over the enamel surface.

The hydroxyapatite plug doesn’t just stop at the orifice of the tubules. It will actually continue to build over the entire surface of the enamel. This means that there is an additional layer of protection covering the tooth surface.

Whenever you drink a cold beverage, you’ll have this additional layer of apatite along with the dentinal plugs to prevent it from stimulating your nerve. If you eat something acidic or spicy, it will need to dissolve this protective layer first before it can even reach your enamel. Due to this, it is often referred to as the “sacrificial” layer.

Is hydroxyapatite safe to use?

Hydroxyapatite is completely safe to use because it is a naturally occurring form of calcium apatite. Your teeth and your bones are literally made of it, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “bone mineral“.

In fact, according to scientific studies your bones consist around 60% of hydroxyapatite. That is in contrast to your enamel and dentin which are 97% and 70% hydroxyapatite respectively.

It is due to this bone mineral that gives your teeth and bones their structural hardness. Yes, since your teeth have a higher percentage of this mineral it does make it the hardest substance in the human body.

Since the hydroxyapatite is what your bones and teeth are made of, it makes it highly biocompatible, biomimetic and non-toxic. In case you were wondering what would happen if you swallowed it, absolutely nothing bad will occur. Studies show that it will not produce irritation.

The molecular structure of hydroxyapatite is Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 which means that it is basically made up of calciums and phosphates. If it comes into contact with gastric acids in your stomach, it simply just breaks up into its individual components. You would merely end up with a bunch of calcium and phosphates which can be absorbed and reused for your bones or teeth.

Advantages and disadvantages to using hydroxyapatite

There is no such thing as a product that has no flaws and your hydroxyapatite toothpaste is no exception. There will always be advantages and disadvantages to using it. However to be quite honest, we can only really think of one downside and that is the cost.


  • Viable alternative to fluoride in remineralizing tooth decay.
  • Can desensitize your teeth which fluoride can’t.
  • Biomimetic which means it is considered all natural.
  • Makes your teeth appear whiter since calcium is white in color.
  • Reduces plaque build up.


  • Costs more than fluoridated toothpaste.

The Verdict – Is hydroxyapatite good for sensitive teeth?

The short answer is yes, hydroxyapatite toothpastes are good for treating sensitive teeth. Using it twice a day daily will help reduce dentinal hypersensitivity. It does so via two mechanisms.

  • Plugs and seals all open dentinal tubules.
  • Form a barrier layer of hydroxyapatite which coats the entire enamel surface.

Both of these effects work to block all harmful stimuli from reaching and stimulating the tooth nerve. In other words, it is a viable mechanism in preventing and minimizing tooth sensitivity.

That is different from how potassium nitrate in sensodyne works. If the potassium nitrate isn’t working for you, you can give this product a try and see if it helps. Although in our opinion if you’re having severe teeth sensitivity, there is a way to stop sensitive teeth pain by utilizing both methods!


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