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Safety and effectiveness of two potassium nitrate dentifrices without fluoride

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Axelrod S and Minkoff S. 1981. GSK data on file


• To evaluate the efficacy of two potassium nitrate (KNO3) toothpastes without fluoride versus placebo in relieving the symptoms of dentinal hypersensitivity when used daily as an at-home  treatment

Design and methodology

Number of subjects:

60 subjects with confirmed dentine hypersensitivity (19–65 years of age)

Type of study:

Double blind, 3-way, parallel, comparative study

Study duration:

12 weeks

Test products:

1.  Commercially available

KNO3 toothpaste 1

2.  Commercially available

KNO3 toothpaste 2

3.  Placebo


Subjects brushed their teeth with assigned product for at least 30 seconds twice daily for the duration of the study

Parameters used to measure hypersensitivity:

Response to:

  Cold air stimulus

  Tactile stimulus

  Subjective responseResults or findings


Results or findings

• Both KNO3-containing toothpastes produced reductions  in tooth hypersensitivity that was statistically significantly superior to placebo

• After 12 weeks of treatment, 95% of patients using KNO3 toothpastes reported a significant improvement in their sensitivity symptoms

• The decrease in sensitivity elicited by KNO3 toothpastes was evident within 4 weeks and increased continuously for the length of the study period

• No serious adverse tissue changes, no side effects and no other untoward reactions, including changes to the sensitivity of other teeth were observed with either of the two test products



Recommendations for dental professionals

• KNO3-containing toothpastes are a valid treatment option for patients with dentine hypersensitivity

• Encourage patients to brush daily with a KNO3-containing toothpaste

• Advise patients that symptom relief builds over time with daily use


Recommendations for patients

   Brush daily with a KNO3-containing toothpaste to relieve the symptoms of dentine hypersensitivity


   Relief will build over time as long as you continue to use a desensitising toothpaste as instructed by your dental professional


• Desensitising toothpastes containing KNO3 constitute an effective treatment for patients with dentine hypersensitivity

• Toothpastes containing KNO3  provide superior relief from painful sensitivity symptoms versus placebo

• Switching patients from a regular toothpaste to a desensitising dentifrice containing KNO3 may help relieve their symptoms of hypersensitivity

• Desensitising efficacy and symptom relief increases with ongoing use

• Patients should be encouraged to brush daily with KNO3-containing toothpastes and continue to use them regularly


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