I have known it. I have told you about it. Now there is evidence of it (again).
The Philips Sonicare is the ultimate electric toothbrush. There’s no way going around it. I have written a post about it before as well but I had to bring it up again because there is new evidence supporting my opinion.
There is mainly two brands that can compete in the category of the best electric toothbrush – Philips and Braun Oral-b. That is why this study is significant. Of these two best manufacturers, Oral-b gets the short end of a stick I’m afraid.
Tried It, Didn’t Like It
So you gave the Philips Sonicare a go? Did it tickle like hell? Well that’s what it does in the beginning. There is an easy-start mode to reduce the tickling sensation in the beginning but I would advice to use it in full power as soon as possible. The tickling will diminish in 1-2 weeks. Just persevere.
Did you not get a clean feeling? There is certain technique to be used with the Sonicare toothbrush. Firstly, you should use a gel-like toothpaste and soak the brush head under running tap before you start brushing. This is because the sonic vibration needs liquids to travel to hard to reach places like in between the teeth and below the gum line. The gel-like toothpaste will dissolve quicker into water than pastes. If the mouth is too dry, the sonic vibration won’t work and this will result in poor cleaning result.
Secondly, you need to stop brushing. Let the brush slide slowly over the gum line (where the tooth and gum meets) and point the bristles where you want the sonic vibration to reach. The gum line is the most important area to brush, but once you have done this you can point the bristles directly towards the surface of the tooth. This is a brilliant way of reducing staining. The brushing like this will take about 3 minutes.
Thirdly, do not press too hard. If you press too hard, you will loose the sonic vibration.
Fourthly, change your brush head every 4-6 months.
By following these advices, you should have a squeaky clean teeth.
For the dental professionals, who have seen poor results with their patients that are using Philips Sonicare – teach your patients to use it correctly.
I’ve seen the evidence with my patients that Philips Sonicare does it’s business. I use it myself and wouldn’t change to any other toothbrush. But to convince everyone else of the greatness of Philips Sonicare, I am happy that there is new evidence of it. Here’s a quote from the study:
Conclusions: The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart powered toothbrush reduced gingival inflammation, gingival bleeding, and supragingival plaque significantly more than the Oral-B Genius 8000 powered toothbrush following a 42-day home-use period.
Elmex is a very old brand by GABA International AG (Switzerland). Gaba International AG is owned by Golgate-Palmolive of the United States. They brought out Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste which has added benefits to their Elmex Sensitive toothpaste.
I am always sceptical about new oral health care products and I make my judgement by testing the product myself and asking experiences of my patients. Lets find out what my professional opinion is about Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste. There will be an ingredient list at the end of this post.
The Selling Speech
The manufacturer promises scientifically proven immediate and long-lasting pain relief for sensitive teeth. It is quite bold promise, but the older Elmex toothpaste versions have always been relatively good toothpastes because they contain organic fluoride called amine fluoride. Amine fluoride has been considered to be superior to more commonly used inorganic fluorides in toothpastes – sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate. But having said that, it’s good to bear in mind that the type of fluoride makes very little or no difference to a relatively healthy mouth.
The suprising fact with the Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste is that it does not contain amine fluoride. It contains sodium monofluorophosphate 1450ppm which is the recommended level of fluoride for adults. Any less would be ineffective. I am not sure why they don’t use amine fluoride with this toothpaste. But I try not to get stuck to this detail because there is something else in this toothpaste that will make it a super star of the toothpastes.
That is Pro-Argin technology.
Pro-Argin technology system contains arginine and calcium carbonate. Arginine is an amino acid naturally found in saliva.
Once the arginine and calcium carbonate bind to the surface of the tooth, they will start to attract calcium. Calcium is the mineral we loose from the surface of the tooth (demineralisation) when we eat something with carbohydrates or drink something with carbohydrates or drinks that are acidic. The saliva normally tries to fix the surface of the tooth by returning the calcium and neutralising the acids (remineralisation). But often our life style habits are too much for the saliva to handle and not enough calcium is returned to the surface of the tooth.
This will result in cavities, hypersensitivity and/or erosion. The hypersensitivity happens because the tiny channels (tubules) leading from the surface of the tooth to the nerve of the tooth, loose their mineral cap. Open tubules cause the nerve to react to the temperature changes and pressure. It reacts by pain. So using a toothpaste that comes to saliva’s aid in remineralisation process, is definitely a good thing. Together with saliva the Pro-Argin toothpaste can block the tubules again with a mineral cap.
Well, the design has not changed really and there is no need to. It is a trusted brand with quality toothpastes so no need for any hocus pocus to make it more appealing.
I love the environmental advice on the packaging. When people get these hints on the products they use regularly it will raise awareness. Maybe the environmentally-friendly habits will find their way into peoples everyday life. Let’s save the world by little deeds!
Over the years of being a dental professional I have noticed that people struggle sometimes when they run into toothpastes that have the same design for opening the tube as Elmex Sensitive Professional.
How to open that tiny little lid that looks like a sprocket? The answer is in the cap.
Just turn the cap upside down and it will fit on top of the tiny lid. By twisting the cap the tiny lid will come off effortlessly.
The consistency of the toothpaste is more a gel than a paste which is perfect if you are using Philips Sonicare toothbrush. It’s not too runny which I appreciate (no toothpaste marks on the sink) but will very quickly transform into liquid when brushing.
The closer look shows that it is rather smooth in texture. So to my mind this means two things. It’s not too abrasive and also it most likely does not contain microbeads. The RDA level which tells you how abrasive the toothpaste is, should be under 100 for safe use of toothpaste. Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste has RDA level of 65. Perfect!
To know if a toothpaste contains microbeads, the polyethylene is the ingredient to look for. No-one should buy a toothpaste that contains microbeads as those tiny little beads will pollute our oceans. Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste does not have polyethylene in the ingredient list (see at the end of this post).
The toothpaste stays on top of the toothbrush bristles without dripping but it slowly disperses between the bristles if you have time to wait for this. I emphasise that you don’t need to wait – I just wanted to see what happens.
I brush my teeth for two minutes and I get slight burning feeling in my mouth. It’s not unpleasant though and most of the non-professionals would say that the feeling is fresh, not burning. I’m just very sensitive.
The representative of Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste advised to spit the toothpaste out after brushing but not to rinse. So I follow this advice. The teeth feel very clean despite the low RDA level. That always makes me satisfied with the toothpaste.
I carried on using the whole tube of toothpaste twice a day and I must simply say Wow! I have been suffering hypersensitivity for example if I eat ice cream. The hypersensitivity does not happen while I eat it but as soon as I have stopped I get this excruciating pain, nerve pain that lingers way too long. There’s been no way to relieve it other than by avoiding the ice cream.
But after using one tube of Elmex Sensitive Professional, the hypersensitivity is gone! So I guess the Pro-Argin technology really works.
There is also an advice on the tube to rub the toothpaste over the most sensitive areas with a finger. The rubbing should continue for 1 minute. The toothpaste can be left in place without rinsing. Remember that this advice is only applicable from the age 12.
Would I Recommend
I would definitely recommend this toothpaste to anyone suffering from sensitive teeth or dental erosion. Or anyone who wants to prevent these two things. I have not had this good results with sensitive teeth than with Elmex Sensitive Professional. Also the Pro-Argin technology has tendency to resist acids from a diet that contain food of low pH which is why it helps to prevent dental erosion.
I’m just wondering why manufacturers want to add soap (sodium lauryl sulfate) to their toothpastes as for some individuals it can work as an irritant. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the foaming agent in the toothpaste. It may cause dry mouth and aphthous ulcers. Mind you, nothing is scientifically proven but it is widely recommended amongst dental professional that people suffering from aphthous ulcers should change their toothpaste to non-foaming toothpaste.
Always remember to check from the ingredients if a toothpaste contains soap. There are other ingredients that may produce foam so not all the foaming toothpastes contain soap.
This toothpaste can be used for children as well (if they accept the taste), but remember to use only pea-size amount for children under 6 years and to very young children who cannot spit out yet, use only smear of toothpaste.
Calcium Carbonate – a mild abrasive. Combined with arginine the alkaline conditions are created to the surface of the tooth which will encourage phosphate ions and calcium to deposit on to the dentin
Aqua – a main carrier for all ingredients. Helps dissolve other soluble ingredients. Helps the mechanical process of cleaning teeth in mouthwashes
Sorbitol – a sweetener, humectant and texturising agent
Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – an agent to remove calcium from saliva. Used normally in tartar control toothpastes but with Elmex Sensitive Professional toothpaste I believe it is used for attracting the calcium from the saliva to the surface of the teeth
Titanium Dioxide – a colorant and thickening agent
Benzyl Alcohol – a solvent and preservative. In rare cases, this ingredient can cause contact allergy.
Sodium Saccharin – an artificial sweetener
Xantham Gum – a thickening agent
Limonene – a natural solvent that cleans. Also it flavours the product.
I recently received a free sample of new GUM ActiVital toothpaste and wanted to let you know from a professional point of view how good the toothpaste is. And if it is what the manufacturer’s selling speech on their website states:
-Effectively helps prevent cavities by remineralizing the dental enamel thanks to our patented combination of fluoride and isomalt -Prevents the plaque build-up that can harm the new permanent teeth -No alcohol, parabens, or sulfates (SLS) -Gentle formula contains natural chamomile flower extract -Yummy strawberry flavor
It seems that this toothpaste is not available in the USA yet (or no longer?), but I’m sure it can be ordered online if you are interested to try it out.
I love the green colour in the packaging design. It is simply the freshest colour there is. The pomegranate apple is a plus at least for me because I recently learned that pomegranate apple has plenty of health benefits.
The tube is pretty much similar to the toothpastes of Oral-b and it is easy to open. Like often, there is a lid protecting the toothpaste under the cap. Not sure about what the material of the lid is – it looks metallic but is too thin to be considered as recyclable metal. Is it some sort of plastic with a foil layer? In my house that has 8 different recycling bins, this small lid has no other place than domestic waste where everything that cannot be recycled is put. I call it The Bin of Shame.
Some might think that what on earth am I on about when I worry over very small piece of non-recyclable material. But I think it is about the attitude towards the Planet Earth. We should try to use materials that can be recycled and even better thing would be if the materials we use were sustainable. No matter how small they are.
The toothpaste is green in colour and is more like gel than a paste. Brings in mind my teenage years in the ’80s when hair gel of this colour was very popular. Do people still use it? Nowadays there are all sorts of hair clays, powders, waxes and so on to choose from. But back in the good old days we relied on the green toothpaste-like hair gel that made your hair stiff as a stick.
Sorry, couldn’t resist walking down the memory lane. Back to the subject.
I always want to know if the toothpaste contains microbeads and the closer look at the toothpaste does not show any beads in it. It’s almost silky smooth to the eye.
Also the ingredients list (see at the end of this post) does not state any microbeads (polyethylene or polypropylene).
So, lets put the toothpaste on my beloved Philips Sonicare’s bristles. The toothpaste is very firm in texture and stays put when applied to the brush. That is a plus in my opinion.
The toothpaste tastes pleasant and is not too strong in flavour. It is minty, but has this kind of earthy taste, like hint of herbs. So far no burning or any other unpleasant sensations can be felt.
It forms a slight foam despite the fact that it does not have sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS aka soap) in it. This is another plus as SLS can cause adverse reactions. Instead there are three other ingredients that have bubble-forming properties (Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lauryl Glucoside and Cocamidopropyl Betaine).
I must say that this toothpaste is very pleasant to use compared to ones that have no bubble-forming agents and kind of vanish in mouth when brushing. I have found that many of my patients are wondering if non-foaming toothpastes actually do their job. Of course non-foaming toothpastes are as effective to one’s dental health as the foaming ones but somehow people have associated foaming to the effectiveness of the toothpaste.
After brushing for about 2 minutes, it still feels pleasant in mouth. No numbing or burning feeling can be felt.
After spitting out the toothpaste a fresh feeling stays for a long time in mouth. Also my teeth feel VERY clean and smooth. This in fact is worrying for me as a dental professional and only one question pops up in my mind:
what is the RDA of this toothpaste?
Well, I found the answer from the internet and to my surprise the RDA level is only 50! Amazing! With very low abrasivity this toothpaste does it’s job very well. Another plus deserved.
Would I recommend
It definitely cleans well and that alone is reason enough to recommend it.
But as a dental professional I must look deeper.
I am always interested in the ingredients that can cause adverse reaction. I once experienced an adverse reaction from a toothpaste and since then I have been more alert when my patients experience e.g. dry mouth or have lichenoid lesions in mouth. These and many other symptoms can be caused by certain ingredients in toothpaste.
In Gum ActiVital toothpaste there is cocamidopropyl betaine, which is a foaming agent that can cause adverse reaction. It has been named as an Allergen of The Year 2014 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. This fact alone is pretty condemning.
Also flavourings in toothpaste can cause adverse reaction and with ActiVital toothpaste the flavouring is only stated with a word aroma. Pretty vague description and as a consumer I would definitely want to know more about it. The packaging states fresh mint but why not clarify it on the ingredient list? There is funny error on their website regarding the flavouring. It’s the
Yummy strawberry flavor
I noticed this just after I had written my experience of the taste (earthy taste, like hint of herbs). Made me smile. They must have mixed up the advertisement contents of their children’s toothpaste and ActiVital toothpaste. Should they be informed about this error or just leave it like it is?
The manufacturer has considered one of the ActiVital toothpaste’s ingredient so important that they have put it in the packaging in quite large font. That is Q10.
Now this is interesting and I must say I think it is just a way to make the toothpaste more appealing by the known anti-ageing properties of Q10. I researched and researched to find out if there is benefit of using Q10 in the toothpaste and I’m afraid there isn’t any proven benefit. There has been a study in 1995 “Coenzyme Q10 and periodontal treatment: is there any beneficial effect?” ( by Watts, T. L. P. British Dental Journal. Department of Periodontology and Preventive Dentistry, UMDS, Guy’s Hospital London). Only the study’s abstract is available online and it states that G10 is not in fact beneficial when treating periodontal disease. No later studies are available online which in this modern world means there is none.
When doing my research I found out that the manufacturer Sunstar has a questionable advice on their website regarding the use of the toothpaste
Brush with our multi-functional GUM® ActiVital® Toothpaste after each meal to help keep your mouth healthy in the long term
Honestly, in a world where dental erosion is almost epidemic, you should know better not to advice people to brush the teeth after each meal. The latest studies suggest that you should forget about the whole business of brushing after meal. The studies have found that the pH level in mouth is still low even after 2 hours of eating. So you may brush before the meals but not after – just remember that we only advice to brush twice a day normally.
So, would I recommend?
Yes, I would. If you are not afraid of the long ingredient list and one definite allergen on the list (not everyone will get adverse reactions), just try the toothpaste and see how you feel about it. The most important thing for me is that the toothpaste does not contain SLS (soap), the RDA level is not over 100 and it contains enough fluoride. GUM ActiVital has fluoride content of 1450ppm which is the recommended level for the adults. So it does prevent cavities by remineralizing the teeth as they promise. Also Activital has ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.
I have been using this toothpaste for 3 weeks now and my teeth have never felt so polished after brushing. So I think I will carry on using it until better one shows up.
Glycerin – an organic compound most commonly from animal fat and vegetable oil
Propyl Steardimonium Chloride – Not much information is available about this ingredient. I found out that it is conditioning agent and either synthetic or animal origin. If you know more about this ingredient, please contact me.