GUM ActiVital Toothpaste Review

Dental Revelations Blog-13

GUM ActiVital Toothpaste Review by Dental Revelations Blog

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.

The Design

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.

What material is the lid?

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 Testing

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.

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ActiVital toothpaste

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.

A hair gel?

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 best toothbrush ever! And pretty good toothpaste as well.

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

From Sunstar website.

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.

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Cropped image from the Activital packaging.

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.

The Ingredients

  1. Glycerin – an organic compound most commonly from animal fat and vegetable oil
  2. Hydrated Silica – abrasive
  3. Isomalt – sugar substitute. Studies suggest isomalt might help in prevention of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis)
  4. Silica – a mild abrasive to clean teeth
  5. 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.
  6. Hydroxyethylcellulose – thickening and bubble-forming agent.
  7. Cocamidopropyl Betaine – antiseptic, foam booster, thickener. Possibility for adverse reaction. Voted as Allergen of The Year 2004 by American Contact Dermatitis Society.
  8. Aroma – a chemical compound which adds odours to dental products. The specific aroma is not specified by the manufacturer.
  9. Lauryl Glucoside – surfactant and bubble-forming agent made from coconut or palm oil and glucose from corn.
  10. PEG-40 Hydrogenated castor oil. The abbreviation PEG = polyethylene glycol.
  11. Sodium Saccharin – an artificial sweetener.
  12. Sodium Fluoride – the good in the toothpaste.
  13. Sodium Chloride – mild abrasive.
  14. Sodium Benzoate – an antimicrobial agent (preservative).
  15. Bisabolol – anti-inflammatory (found in chamomile flowers).
  16. Punica Granatum Fruit Extract – pomegranate fruit extract, essential oil. Reduces plaque development, works as an anti-cariogenic (anti cavities) agent.
  17. Ubiquinone – also known as coenzyme G10. An antioxidant.
  18. Potassium Sorbate – an antimicrobial preservative. Possibly used instead of parabens. Generally regarded as safe to use.
  19. Zingiber Officinale Root Extract – Ginger root extract. An anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredient
  20. CI 42090 – colouring agent. Approved food colorant in EU and approved to be added to food in US.
  21. CI 47005 – colouring agent.

You might also like to read

Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Original Toothpaste Review
RDA Value in Toothpastes – Any Relevance?
Gc Tooth Mousse Review and Advice for Use
Hands up Who Knew That Zinc in Toothpaste Can Cause Dry Mouth?
Testing Oral-b Smart Phone Holder, Take 1
Testing Oral-b Smart Phone Holder, Take 2

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RDA Value in Toothpastes – Any Relevance?

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Gum & Enamel Repair Original Toothpaste

I promised in my post Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Original Toothpaste Review that if I find out the RDA level of this toothpaste I will announce it. Well I found it out recently, sort of. And this occurrence sort of made me annoyed once again. So I’m going to pour it out now.

I saw a representative from Oral-b recently. She was going to ask about our experiences of the Gum & Enamel Repair Original Toothpaste. I told mine and to my pleasant surprise she suggested we would fill an adverse reaction report. So we did. She said she had never heard anyone’s tongue getting numb from their toothpaste.

My most important question to ask from the rep was the magic RDA value of this toothpaste. I was dreading it as the reps are quite sensitive about the whole subject of RDA value. They know that it is thought widely amongst the dental professionals that the higher the RDA value is the more abrasive it the toothpaste is. So the manufacturers want to keep it a secret.

What Is RDA?

To explain it very simple way, the RDA is the grittiness of the toothpaste. If it is too high, it can cause tooth wear. But to explain RDA more elegantly, here is a quote by ADA (American Dental Association):

To help quantify the abrasivity of dentifrices, the ADA along with various academic, industry and government agencies established a standardized scale called Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA). This scale assigns dentifrices an abrasivity value, relative to a standard reference abrasive that is arbitrarily given an RDA value of 100.

All dentifrices at or below 2.5 times the reference value, or 250 RDA, are considered safe and effective. In fact, clinical evidence supports that lifetime use of proper brushing technique with a toothbrush and toothpaste at an RDA of 250 or less produces limited wear to dentin and virtually no wear to enamel.

ADA (American Dental Association)

So what this quote is saying is that most of the toothpastes are safe. Mind you, FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) has set the safe limit of RDA to 200. But internationally it is the RDA 250 or below that is recognised as safe to use. I did a research and found out that many dental sites (both english and my native language) state that the highest safe RDA level has been set too high. It should be 100 or less.

Here is a link to one of the dental sites with a very good chart about abrasiveness levels in different toothpastes.

The Big Question

Ok, back to seeing the rep. I gathered all my courage and asked the big question.

Err, what is the RDA level of this toothpaste?

Oh boy, he looks annoyed. He asks if he has ever shown us a video about RDA. No, he hasn’t. He took his tablet out and put the video rolling. It was about RDA level of the toothpaste made by Oral-b. In the video they were demonstrating that it doesn’t matter what the RDA level is as long as it is below 250.

He looked victorious when the video ended. I asked again.

So, what is the RDA level of this toothpaste?

He said with a sigh that the RDA level of the Gum & Enamel Repair Original Toothpaste is somewhere between 100-200.  So this is what I meant when I found out the RDA level of this toothpaste, sort of.

Conclusion

It is good to remember that not only the toothpaste’s RDA level determines how much you will get tooth wear. If you brush your teeth straight after breakfast, with a hard toothbrush and with too vigorous technique (applying too much pressure), it has very little meaning what the RDA level of the toothpaste is.

You might be interested in these posts as well:

Testing Oral-b Smart Phone Holder, Take 1
Testing Oral-b Smart Phone Holder, Take 2
Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Original Toothpaste Review