Why I just spent $170 on a few tubes of toothpaste

By | January 11, 2014

20140112-223620.jpgIt is not commonly known that (some?) cavities in teeth can be healed. I once had ten cavities at one time, but using the information I found, I haven’t had one since.

One of my secret weapons was a formula that heals cavities with ionic minerals each time you brush. It was marketed under the name Novamin, but was perhaps one of those products that worked too well.

The patent for Novamin was purchased by a large company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and all the good consumer products on the USA with Novamin were pulled from the market. Novamin was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in May 2010 for $135 million. (http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100523/ARTICLES/5231002/1002)

Novamin is calcium sodium phosphosilicate, a bioactive glass with ionic forms of Calcium and Phosphorus that build strong teeth. You don’t need fluoride (I think of it as a toxic molecular superglue) to remineralize your teeth. Novamin will do the job safely. Burt’s Bees Fluoride-Free Whitening Toothpaste had calcium sodium phosphosilicate and that’s why I was using it. As a bonus it also had no SLS which may trigger those shallow white painful mouth sores in some people.

J. Babin posting on Amazon says: The worst part of all this is that GSK, after buying NovaMin, seems to have “disrupted the supply chain” (as indicated on Burt’s Bees’ website) for all other manufacturers of NovaMin containing toothpaste, such as Burt’s Bees, Dr. Collins Restore, Oravive, etc. …

Amazon has just a few tubes left and they are going for absurd prices as collectors items no longer made by the manufacturer.

GSK drops ball with puzzling US release of Sensodyne ‘Repair & Protect’ sans 45S5 glass

When I called Burt’s Bees and asked why they stopped making their toothpaste they cited low sales and difficulty obtaining some ingredients.

Meanwhile, here’s another exciting idea that works to heal deep cavities with a peptide hydrogel. How long will this one last?

Regrowth

UK scientists at Bristol University and the University of Leeds Dental Institute have developed gels which can regenerate decayed or damaged tooth enamel. A peptide hydrogel is applied to the tooth. This forms into a protein scaffold onto which new enamel-forming calcium is deposited from the saliva. The scientists claim to have seen “highly significant” levels of repair in which signs of decay have been reversed months after a single application of the compound.[33][34]

This is from the Journal of Dental Research:

Self-assembling Peptide Scaffolds Promote Enamel Remineralization

Abstract

Rationally designed β-sheet-forming peptides that spontaneously form three-dimensional fibrillar scaffolds in response to specific environmental triggers may potentially be used in skeletal tissue engineering, including the treatment/prevention of dental caries, via bioactive surface groups. We hypothesized that infiltration of caries lesions with monomeric low-viscosity peptide solutions would be followed by in situ polymerization triggered by conditions of pH and ionic strength, providing a biomimetic scaffold capable of hydroxyapatite nucleation, promoting repair. Our aim was to determine the effect of an anionic peptide applied to caries-like lesions in human dental enamel under simulated intra-oral conditions of pH cycling. Peptide treatment significantly increased net mineral gain by the lesions, due to both increased remineralization and inhibition of demineralization over a five-day period. The assembled peptide was also capable of inducing hydroxyapatite nucleation de novo. The results suggest that self-assembling peptides may be useful in the modulation of mineral behavior during in situ dental tissue engineering.

http://m.jdr.sagepub.com/content/86/5/426.short

For tooth care, one of the best things you can do, given the lack of minerals in modern foods, is use a remineralizing toothpaste, gel, etc. Not all minerals will remineralize your teeth, so make sure you check out the research behind the product.

25 thoughts on “Why I just spent $170 on a few tubes of toothpaste

  1. KevinSwiecicki

    This is an OUTRAGE and I will spread the word of this EVERYWHERE I can! Thank God, I live near Canada. I’m probably going to plan a trip in there soon for the sole reason of buying as much as I can (before their greed spreads there too).

    Reply
  2. donjoe

    Like so many other North-Americans, you are gravely misinformed about fluoride due to environmentalist propaganda that has nothing to do with the medical facts. (This is similar to the way many Europeans have come to oppose any and all use of GMOs in the food industry just based on environmentalist alarmism with no backing in actual scientific studies.)

    Fluoride does promote tooth remineralization and it has the best track record of any substance used for this purpose, as long it’s used in the right concentrations (0.5-1.5 ppm in water and 1000-1450 ppm in toothpastes, which you should avoid swallowing).

    Fun fact: the Sensodyne Repair & Protect (with Novamin) you’re crying about, that I can buy here in Europe, _also_ contains fluoride in the form of sodium monofluorophosphate, for a fluoride concentration of – big surprise – 1450 ppm.

    Reply
  3. Ricardo DaSilva

    Interesting posting, but your information is not accurate or complete. Your initial paragraph “It is not commonly known that cavities in teeth can be healed. I figured it out ten years ago when I had ten cavities at one time. I haven‚Äôt had one since.” Is only partially true.
    Although early caries (the ones that are not yet cavitated) can be reversed, whenever the lesion reaches dentin it is recommended that the tooth be restored to avoid expansion of the cavity and more serious problems. I also hope that you haven’t diagnosed that you don’t have cavities yourself, and that you received that advice from a good dentist.

    Reply
  4. Sam

    I don’t think you should blame GSK for their mealy mouthed response to you. The regulatory agencies can cut their throats at any time and they just don’t want to piss them off.

    Reply
  5. Catherine

    Do you know anything about this toothpaste which can be purchased on Ebay? — GlaxoSmithKline GSK SHUMITECT PRO Enamel Toothpaste 90g— Does it contain NovaMin?

    I’ve been using —SANGI APAGARD Royal Toothpaste 135g– made in Japan and I think it contains something like Novamin but can’t find much info on it as everything is in Japanese. I get it on Ebay. it’s expensive but I think it’s been working based on what the dentist tells me.

    I’m looking for something less expensive without flouride which can remineralize. Thanks.

    Reply
      1. jaime

        Catherine, (and mmm dime000) One friend of mine can tell you about a product like you want. but how can he contact you? He does not like to post on INternet sites, but if you post your email here, he may email you. the info-

        Reply
      2. Carlos

        One friend of mine can tell you about one like you want. – carlomenk at gmail.com

        Reply
    1. Carlos

      One friend knows some but he is not sure if the toothpaste can be sent by mail to USA and in quantity. carlomenk at gmail.com

      Reply
  6. Xeno Post author

    WordPress doesn’t let me edit this post on my iphone. The phrase “sitting in” should be “sitting on”. As in I think GSK is purposefully not using or is using an ineffective amount of Novamin in their US products.

    As to healing cavities that have progressed into the dentin, could someone who is convinced of that explain why ionic phosphorus and calcium bind to enamel and remineralize that surface but will not bind to dentin? What evidence supports the claim that dentin can’t be healed?

    Reply
    1. Olivia

      I believe the MSH peptid gel has actually rebuilt teeth in lab rats, but I would have to go back and read the complete results from the testing in France back in 2010.

      Reply
  7. mmm (@dimedime000)

    They have lots of tubes on Ebay with Novamin from other countries of course…Thanks so much for this info i just found out that i have severe demineralization and all my dentist could say is more fluoride? I am going to give this solution a try~

    Reply
    1. Karlos

      Can the products from other countries enter USA easiy by mail or they need to get a permission of FDA?

      Reply
  8. Olivia

    I am happy that I was able to find this on amazon from a .uk seller. I wish I could find some of the gel, but until then I will use the sensodyne and an ionic toothbrush.

    Reply
  9. The One

    @xeno

    While your question matters to adults, if children who are just getting their adult teeth were using novamin from the beginning, it would never progress to that stage. Much loss for those poor dentists, whatever happened to for the children?

    Reply
  10. Bill Dent

    Like someone said, you are gravely misinformed about fluoride. While I agree that ingestion of it is not healthy and not proven to do anything, but is harmful, it’s use in toothpaste is warranted. Especially with Hydroxyapatite. What you fail to realize is the actual Science of how Fluoride HELPS hydroxyapatite get into teeth better. It’s proven Science. This is how your saliva actually works. Fluoride is produced in your body for teeth and calcium. So these toothpastes mimic the benefits of saliva. Calling fluoride “toxic superglue” is totally misleading and unscientific, in terms of teeth. That’s not how it works.

    Reply
    1. Xeno Post author

      Hi Bill. By actual proven science, fluorine is the most electronegative and reactive of all elements on the periodic table. It is thus like a molecular superglue. Because it is so reactive, it is also highly toxic.

      If you like it in your toothpaste because you want it in your teeth, go ahead, but it isn’t needed. Yes, it will bind during enamel formation causing tighter crystals, making teeth less susceptible to acid, but too much will make your teeth brittle, it will weaken them. The body does not “produce” fluoride. Fluorine anions, F-, react with many things they encounter in the body. Think about it. If F- substitutes for hydrogen in organic compounds you’d have all kinds of crazy new compounds messing up normal reactions in the body. This is the rational basis for fluoride involvement in endocrine disruption, immune system problems and so on. Normally, saliva bathing teeth with ionic calcium and phosphorus leads to remineralization which protects teeth from cavities. This does not require fluoride. Add Fluoride and at the right concentration you get different enamel, but the resulting material is not hydroxyapatite, it is fluoroapatite. Fluoroapatite is mildly bacteriostatic. As it can effect Streptococcus mutans counts at tooth surfaces, it is obviously able to interfere with local biological processes. Carbonated calcium-deficient hydroxylapatite is the main mineral of which dental enamel and dentin are composed.

      You can have a stronger car by replacing your current glass windows with titanium. You want a stronger car, don’t you?

      Reply
      1. donjoe0

        “Fluorine anions, F-, react with many things they encounter in the body.”

        What does that have to do with toothpaste fluoride? Where are the longitudinal studies showing significant health damage from these evil evil fluorine anions in the quantities we get from toothpaste use?

        “You can have a stronger car by replacing your current glass windows with titanium. You want a stronger car, don‚Äôt you?”

        False analogy. This is the kind of “car” modern people regularly drive through “dense forests” that will break its “windows” sooner rather than later. And yes, in this context I do prefer “titanium” “windows”.

        How about you settle this dispute and explain how you can bash fluoride-containing toothpastes and at the same time recommend Sensodyne Repair & Protect, which also contains fluoride in the same concentration as most other toothpastes?

        Reply
        1. Xeno Post author

          It is good to have someone actively debating and looking at the real details. Thank you. I don’t recommend any toothpaste with fluoride at this time, for the reasons I stated. I personally won’t trade stronger teeth for the problems that result. I’ve avoided toothpastes with fluoride and have been cavity free for years since I made that change. Correlation only, but that’s my experience. I do recommend toothpaste with Novamin without fluoride, but it is very hard to find that in the USA now thanks to GSK. Nano hydroxyapatite also seems to remineralize teeth very well. Selection bias, lobbying and weirdly, even national security have influenced the published literature on fluoride. I’ve spoken directly to university researchers who told me that publishing certain things is career suicide because funding is now so much industry backed.
          Yes, it wasn’t the greatest analogy, but too much hardness from too much fluoride gives you brittle teeth in the form of fluorosis. This can make people’s teeth fall out.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16892576/

          In that case, they have zero cavities to deal with in those teeth. Problem solved. I’ll hunt for the endocrine disruption studies I’ve read if you like.
          PS. I’ll have carbyne windows then.
          http://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/6468/The-Worlds-Strongest-Material.aspx

      2. donjoe0

        From what I can find so far, fluorosis:
        1. is not much more than a cosmetic annoyance for most sufferers
        2. does not come with weaker teeth but with increased cavity resistance
        3. is caused by fluoride ingestion, not brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste per se.
        So you can just put more effort into teaching kids (who are most affected by this) to never swallow the toothpaste and the problem goes away.

        Reply
        1. Xeno Post author

          1. Fluorosis has killed and maimed some people at high doses, but even at lower levels, there is enough research that makes me not want to touch it.
          2. Pitting of teeth due to dental fluorosis weakens them overall, as there is less tooth material when pits form. No cavities but corroding teeth? No thanks.
          3. The F- doesn’t care if you brush it on, breathe it in, or drink it. It is the amount and location, not the method of acquiring it that matters.
          4. Teach kids to get rid of the streptococcus mutans bacteria, to eat less sugar and to avoid fluoride and the problem goes away, plus they have fewer health problems. That’s my take on it.

      3. donjoe0

        “The F- doesn‚Äôt care if you brush it on, breathe it in, or drink it. It is the amount and location, not the method of acquiring it that matters.”

        I’m sorry, but this can’t be the way someone talks when they’re the least bit familiar with biochemistry. The method of delivery can make or break a “poison”, as some routes of administration allow a lot of substance to be absorbed quickly while others allow very little or none at all. As the one going against the prevailing wisdom it falls to you to present convincing evidence of your allegations of harm from a widely used substance that isn’t leaving any obvious trail of death and destruction in its wake. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Xeno Post author

          While criticizing my wording, it appears you just agreed with me that the amount and location is what matters. Anyway, let’s get down to it. If you think it is harmless, take my challenge: you eat 1/4 tube of your fluoride toothpaste and I’ll eat 1/4 tube of my non-fluoride toothpaste. Now if you think that would be a really bad idea for you, what data would you have to convince me that it is safe to brush three times a day with stuff you are afraid to eat? Sure, the dose is the poison, but do you really know how much NaF is absorbed from 3 minutes of brushing with 1 gram of fluoride toothpaste? At what rate is it eliminated from the body? Did you look at and dismiss the research on cancer, neurotoxicity, and endocrine disruption? You may be ahead of me in understanding all of this, but as far as I can tell, using fluoride as medicine is a historical fad that will eventually be seen as a clearly bad idea.

  11. Xeno Post author

    To answer your first question, Fluoride exists as a negative ion (F-)(anion) that can combine with a positive ion (cation) to form stable compounds. Sodium fluoride (NaF) is the most common source of fluoride in toothpaste. The bonds between the F- and other elements in fluoride compounds break and reform dynamically depending on local conditions, like being in water. Produced in salivary glands, human saliva is 99.5% water. In water, NaF is moderately soluble and releases F- in this reaction: NaF (diluted) + 4H2O = [Na(H2O)4]+ + F-
    So, the fluorine anion is freed and can participate in many reactions such as becoming part of the tooth enamel. Notice that fluoroapatite (Ca5(PO4)3F) has no sodium (Na). The bonds holding fluoride in teeth can be broken if stronger attractive forces are presented. For example, silicon may pull the F- out if it has a stronger pull than those bonds holding F- in the fluoroapatite.
    Let me know if you see any flaws in these statements.

    Reply

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