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Stannous Fluoride: Myths and Facts


Toothpaste has come a long way since the 1960s, when Crest became the first toothpaste to earn the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance for cavity protection. Today’s toothpastes are formulated to address multiple oral health concerns. In fact, there are so many dentifrice options in the oral care aisle today it can be overwhelming. Patients often turn to dental professionals for a product recommendation that will meet their specific oral care needs and desires. Thus, it’s important for dental professionals to understand the benefits provided by various toothpaste formulations.

Myth #1 - Stannous Fluoride stains your teeth.

Fact: When not formulated properly, toothpaste containing stannous fluoride can stain teeth. Crest Pro-Health dentifrice is specially formulated to help prevent staining associated with stannous fluoride. In fact, it whitens teeth by removing surface stains and helps prevent stains from forming.

Myth #2 - Toothpaste containing Stannous Fluoride tastes bad.

Fact: Crest’s scientists have crafted flavor systems which taste great and minimize that metallic taste and continue to innovate to make our flavors even better.

Myth #3 - Stannous Fluoride does not work as well as potassium nitrate on sensitivity and sometimes can cause sensitivity in my patients.

Fact: Desensitizing ingredients in toothpaste work by either 1) depolarizing nerve endings to reduce the transmission of pain; or 2) by blocking dentinal tubules; this prevents stimuli (e.g., cold drink or air) from causing fluid flow in dentinal tubules, thereby preventing nerve pan>endings inside the tooth from being stimulated. Potassium nitrate is a common nerve desensitizing agent and stannous fluoride is a popular agent that reduces sensitivity by occluding dentinal tubules.

Myth #4 - Stannous Fluoride does not work as well as Trisoclan for antibacterial benefits.

Fact: Both Stannous Fluoride and Triclosan have bacteriostatic as well as bactericidal properties and are effective against plaque bacteria. Additionally, Stannous Fluoride helps with gingivitis, caries prevention, hypersensitivity, and enamel erosion.

Myth #5 - Stannous Fluoride causes sloughing.

Fact: Crest Pro-Health toothpaste containing stabilized stannous fluoride has been tested extensively. Multiple studies indicate there is no sloughing in the short-term beyond what is normally experienced using regular fluoride toothpaste (4% of users), and no sloughing experienced with usage over the long-term.

Myth #6 - Stannous Fluoride breaks down enamel.

Fact: Crest ProHealth Toothpastes with Stannous Fluoride not only protects against cavities, re-mineralizing weakened enamel, but also protects your teeth from enamel erosion.

Myth #7 - Toothpastes with Stannous Fluoride have a high or unsafe RDA value.

Fact: The International Standards Organization (ISO) specification states that a dentifrice should not exceed an RDA of 250, which is considered safe for hard tissues. There is no relative degree of safety between 0 and 250, so a dentifrice with an RDA of 200 is as safe as one with an RDA of 50. Clinical evidence actually indicates that lifetime use of a toothpaste at an RDA of 250 or less produces virtually no wear to enamel. All Crest toothpastes are below the recommended RDA value.