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Sensodyne twin sachet.jpg
Sensodyne twin sachet in the Philippines.
Product typeToothpaste
CountryUnited States
Introduced1961; 58 years ago (1961)
Related brandsAquafresh
Previous ownersBlock Drug

Sensodyne is a brand name of toothpaste and mouthwash targeted at people with sensitive teeth.[1] Sensodyne products are applied at home. Sensodyne is owned by GlaxoSmithKline and is marketed under the name Shumitect in Japan.[2]


Sensodyne toothpastes work in different ways depending on the product's active ingredient - potassium nitrate, strontium acetate/chloride.

Potassium nitrate: The potassium ion hyperpolarizes[3] the nerve and stops it from firing. The nerve impulses are thus desensitized and there is no pain.

Strontium acetate and chloride: These compounds share a similar chemical structure to calcium. Strontium based toothpastes (acetate and chloride) are therefore able to replace some of the lost calcium and block the exposed tubules in the dentinal tissue. This helps prevent the movement of the fluid within the tubules in response to a sensitivity stimulus that could otherwise cause tooth pain.[4]

Some Sensodyne products contain calcium sodium phosphosilicate CSPS (Novamin), which appears to help with tooth sensitivity.[5][6] A randomized clinical trial published in 2015 demonstrated that dentifrices containing 5% CSPS may have the potential to mineralize and occlude the dentine in the oral environment.[7][8] Sensodyne has removed the calcium sodium phosphosilicate from their US products.[citation needed]


Sensodyne is a brand of toothpaste that was first sold by Block Drug, a Brooklyn, New York-based company established in 1907 by pharmacist Alexander Block.

It operated as a single drugstore in Brooklyn, N.Y. By 1925, manufacturing dental care products had become the company’s focus. In 1938, Block developed Polident, a cleaning product for false teeth, that remains popular more than 80 years later. Leonard N. Block followed his father into the family business which in 1970 relocated to New Jersey, New York. [9], when it was acquired by the U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant [10] which became GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK).

The toothpaste was first marketed in 1961 as a desensitising toothpaste based on a strontium chloride formulation.[11]

In 1980,[citation needed] Sensodyne launched a new toothpaste containing potassium nitrate, a mild local sedative.[12] In 2000 Block Drug was purchased by GlaxoSmithKline.[13]

Product Counterfeits & Recall[edit]

In 2007, GlaxoSmithKline tracked down counterfeit producers of Sensodyne after a consumer in Panama noted diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient commonly found in antifreeze, on the label of his toothpaste. [14]

On July 15, 2015, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare announced a recall of certain lots of Sensodyne Repair & Protect toothpaste as well as Sensodyne Complete toothpaste due to the possible presence of wood fragments in the products. The recall also applied to the company's Biotene brand of toothpaste. The recall was a precautionary measure based on a small number of complaints, and no injuries have been reported. The recall applies to products manufactured between 2013 and September 2014, and shipped from June 2013 to April 2015.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clark, Andrew (October 7, 2000). "SmithKline to swallow Sensodyne". The Guardian. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Walsh, Margaret (Apr 15, 2014). Dental Hygiene: Theory and Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 699. ISBN 9781455745845.
  4. ^ Hughes, N; Layer, T (2010). "Evidence for the efficacy of an 8% strontium acetate dentifrice for instant and lasting relief of dentin hypersensitivity". Journal of Clinical Dentistry. 21 (5): 56–58. PMID 20669817.
  5. ^ Freda, NM; Veitz-Keenan, A (March 2016). "Calcium sodium phosphosilicate had some benefit on dentine hypersensitivity". Evidence-based Dentistry. 17 (1): 12–3. doi:10.1038/sj.ebd.6401148. PMID 27012568.
  6. ^ Goldie, Maria. "Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride, strontium chloride, and NovaMin technologies for dentin hypersensitivity". Dentistry IQ. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  7. ^ Jones, Siân Bodfel; Parkinson, Charles R.; Jeffery, Peter; Davies, Maria; Macdonald, Emma L.; Seong, Joon; West, Nicola X. (June 2015). "A randomised clinical trial investigating calcium sodium phosphosilicate as a dentine mineralising agent in the oral environment". Journal of Dentistry. 43 (6): 757–764. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2014.10.005. ISSN 1879-176X. PMID 25456613.
  8. ^ Hall, Claire; Mason, Stephen; Cooke, Jonathan (2017-05-01). "Exploratory randomised controlled clinical study to evaluate the comparative efficacy of two occluding toothpastes – a 5% calcium sodium phosphosilicate toothpaste and an 8% arginine/calcium carbonate toothpaste – for the longer-term relief of dentine hypersensitivity". Journal of Dentistry. 60: 36–43. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2017.02.009. ISSN 0300-5712. PMID 28219674.
  9. ^ Block operated as a public company between 1971 and 2001 "Company Overview of Block Drug Company, Inc". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  10. ^ SMITHKLINE TO BUY BLOCK DRUG FOR $1.2 BILLION "SMITHKLINE TO BUY BLOCK DRUG FOR $1.2 BILLION". The New York Times. October 10, 2000. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  11. ^ [citation needed]
  12. ^ Ramirez, Anthony (May 13, 1990). "All About/Toothpaste; Growth Is Glacial, but the Market Is Big, and So Is the Gross". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  13. ^ In 2006, Sensodyne Pronamel was released and is marketed as a toothpaste that protects against the effects of dental erosion.[citation needed]
  14. ^ Colgate and Sensodyne, got caught up in the sweep when counterfeiters were found to be selling toothpaste with antifreeze under their names. BOGDANICH, WALT (October 1, 2007). "The Everyman Who Exposed Tainted Toothpaste". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ GlaxoSmithKline. Recall of certain lot numbers of Sensodyne Repair & Protect, Sensodyne Complete and Biotene Gel & Toothpaste. (July 15, 2015). Retrieved from

External links[edit]