Share Page:

Volume 14 , Issue 1
Winter 2000

Pages 9-19

Topical Review: The Efficacy of Potassium Salts as Agents for Treating Dentin Hypersensitivity

Robert Orchardson, BDS, PhD/David G. Gillam, BDS, MSc, DDS

PMID: 11203743

Formulations containing potassium salts (eg, chloride, nitrate, citrate, oxalate) are widely used for treating dentin hypersensitivity (DH). The purpose of this review was to evaluate evidence for the clinical efficacy of potassium salts in reducing DH and also to consider the biologic basis for any effects. Literature searches were used to identify reports of clinical trials of potassium-containing preparations. Searches revealed 3 trials of potassium nitrate solutions or gels; 2 trials of mouthwashes containing potassium nitrate or citrate; 6 trials of potassium oxalates; and 16 double-blind randomized trials of toothpastes containing potassium nitrate, chloride, or citrate. The toothpaste studies provided quantitative data on treatment effects. These outcome measures were expressed as percentage reductions in sensitivity to cold air and mechanical stimulation and the patients’ subjective reports. Trials of topically applied solutions yielded inconsistent results. Potassium-containing mouthwashes produced significant reductions in sensitivity. All potassium-containing toothpastes produced a significant reduction in sensitivity to tactile and air stimuli, as well as subjectively reported sensitivity. In most studies, the active agent (potassium) was superior to the minus-active control (placebo), but a few of the more recent trials have demonstrated significant placebo effects. It is postulated that potassium ions released from toothpastes diffuse along the dentinal tubules to inactivate intradental nerves. However, this principle has never been confirmed in intact human teeth. The mechanism of the desensitizing effects of potassium-containing toothpastes remains uncertain at present.

Full Text PDF File | Order Article


Get Adobe Reader
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF files. This is a free program available from the Adobe web site.
Follow the download directions on the Adobe web site to get your copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.


© 2017 Quintessence Publishing Co, Inc

Current Issue
Ahead of Print
Author Guidelines
Accepted Manuscripts
Submission Form
Quintessence Home
Terms of Use
Privacy Policy
About Us
Contact Us