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Farmington, CT, 06032
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Why do dentists use prescription toothpastes?

Dr. Monique Nadeau
why do i need prescription toothpaste

In our office we talk to people constantly about why a prescription toothpaste could benefit them. The truth is, most people need it for one reason or another and we always try to base our recommendations on our patients specific situations.  For some, it is necessary to aid in the prevention of cavities.  For others, it is to aid in the relief of tooth sensitivity.  Another reason could be to help with the buildup of plaque and calculus (tartar) that forms.  There's many reasons we recommend prescription toothpaste.  This blog post is going to focus on the prevention of cavities.

When I was applying to dental school back in 1993/1994 I was asked this question more than once:  "Why do you want to go to dental school?  Pretty soon in the future people simply won't be getting cavities anymore."


Actually, over the course of my career (almost 20 years now!) I have seen an increase in people getting cavities instead of the decrease that was once predicted.

The toothpaste manufacturers and the dental community in general seem to usually focus on sugar as being the primary bad guy that causes cavities, and that is indeed justified.  The thing is though, it's actually not how much sugar you eat in a day, but it's how frequently you eat the sugar that's more important.

And why is that?

Because every time you eat, there's bacteria in your mouth called Strep Mutans that also get to eat.  These bacteria get to eat the sugar you just ate and they produce acid as a by-product of their metabolism.  That acid continues to be produced for about 20 minutes after you have finished eating!

It's the acid that actually demineralizes, damages and destroys your tooth structure and causes a cavity. 

It's not the sugar itself!

The acid causes the process of demineralization within your tooth structure.

It all comes down to pH.  Remember pH from chemistry class?

It turns out that the critical pH for a cavity to occur is 5.5. (Philip D. Marsh, Michael V. Martin, Oral Microbiology, 5th ed. (2009),15–16)

When you dip below 5.5 demineralization begins to occur and the trouble starts.  If you'd like to dive deeper into why pH is so important, check out this article.

Here's a visual for you to see why remineralization is so important:

demineralization vs reminerlization dental image

Over the past 15 years that Farmington Village Dental has been open we have recommended a few other products, all of which have been a prescription toothpaste of some kind.  All of our previous recommendations were products that solely focused on a higher dose of fluoride (5,000 parts per million vs. "regular" toothpaste which has around 1,000 parts per million) to combat the cavity causing process.  So the only difference in those previous recommendations and regular over the counter toothpastes were the dose of Fluoride present in the prescription toothpaste.  It was still just Fluoride, only in a dose 5 times greater than the toothpaste you can get over the counter.

The prescription toothpaste that we currently love and highly recommend actually has FOUR cavity fighting components.

• It has Fluoride at 5,000 parts per million which we all know fights cavities by encouraging remineralization of the enamel.  Fluoride is also somewhat anti-bacterial.
• It has pH neutralizers to raise the pH and promote remineralization.
• It has Xylitol (a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that has been found to reduce cavities by reducing the bacteria S. Mutans.  Less "bad" bacteria means that more healthy bacteria can grow in your mouth.  You can learn more about Xylitol here.
• It also has nanoparticle hydroxyapatite (a form of calcium phosphate that also promotes remineralization.  Read more about hydroxyapatite here.

What's the name of this fabulous prescription toothpaste?

It's called CTx4 5000 and you can read more about it here.  Other than seeing a reduction in cavities our patients have also experienced a drastic reduction in tooth sensitivity as well as a reduction in plaque and calculus/tartar formation (which is purely anectodal on our part, but we see it every day!).

Overall, we haven't just read about CTx4 5000 as being a great prescription toothpaste.  We have seen it with our very own eyes over the last several years.  You can get this prescription toothpaste right at our office for a very reasonable price.  Yes, it is more expensive than what you can buy over the counter, but in the long run the benefits outweigh the cost and you can actually save money by preventing future dental problems.  If you don't have an appointment you can simply stop in and pick some up.

The company that makes this toothpaste also makes other great products that we may also recommend, but the toothpaste is the key component in our minds.

Are you looking for a general dentist in the Farmington, CT area?  We are happily accepting new patients.  Please call us today at 860-676-2288 to schedule an appointment.

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Monique and Stephanie
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