Whitening and Sensitive Teeth

Solutions for optimal dentrifice whitening and formulations for sensitive teeth.

Most tooth surface stains consist of tightly linked proteins, carbohydrates and calcium. Whitening agents help remove tooth surface stains either by physical interaction or by chemical interaction with the stain components. An example of physical stain removal is using a polishing agent with higher abrasivity, like DCPA or DCPD. An example of chemical stain removal involves the use of sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), which is effective by complexing (chelating) the calcium component of the stain. Other whitening agents used in toothpastes include certain enzymes and oxidizing agents.

Tricalcium phosphate (TCP) appears in some formulations for sensitive teeth. The form of tricalcium phosphate that is commercially available is the same hydroxyapatite, which is also the mineral form of teeth. The mode of action of TCP in this type of toothpaste is likely through entry of these extremely fine particles into the tubules in the teeth, partially filling these tubules and protecting the nerves. Formulations with TCP cannot contain fluoride for caries protection because of chemical compatibilities.


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