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Published on May 30th, 2013 | By: pwray@ceramics.org


No question that NovaMin is effective for sensitive teeth

Published on May 30th, 2013 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Credit: P. Wray; ACerS.

I have no new insights into GlaxoSmithKline’s decision to sell its Sensodyne Repair & Protect without NovaMin as the active ingredient in the US. GSK still will not talk to me anymore, and the dentist featured in the Repair & Protect commercials still has not returned my calls.


Nevertheless, I have received quite a bit of either email or comments about the original post, and two interesting but dubious theories keep showing up in this correspondence: 1) The US version of R&P actually contains NovaMin but the material is effectively hidden within the “inactive” ingredients; and 2) It is too hard to prove that NovaMin is effective.


Regarding the first theory, although I will defer anytime to the opinion of Bioglass inventor Larry Hench (45S5 Bioglass being the key ingredient in NovaMin), I see no possible way that “glycerin, PEG-8, hydrated silica, pentasodium triphosphate, sodium lauryl sulfate, flavor, titanium dioxide, polyacrylic acid, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium saccharin” delivers the calcium and phosphate ions in a non-liquid method the way the glass-particle method does. Also, hiding active ingredients presumably would raise some transparency issues with the FDA.


Moving on to the theory about NovaMin’s effectiveness, it appears that there is readily available documentation in peer-reviewed publications.


For example, there is this study (courtesy of PubMed), conducted at the Armed Forces Medical Center, Pune, India, published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, “A clinical study comparing oral formulations containing 7.5% calcium sodium phosphosilicate (NovaMin), 5% potassium nitrate, and 0.4% stannous fluoride for the management of dentin hypersensitivity” by N. Sharma, S. Roy, A. Kakar, D.C. Greenspan, and R. Scott:

Objective: To determine and compare the clinical performance of formulations containing 7.5% calcium sodium phosphosilicate (NovaMin), 5% potassium nitrate, and 0.4% stannous fluoride for the management of dentin hypersensitivity.

Methods: This was a single-center, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group design with a duration of 12 weeks. The study included a total of 120 subjects and measured sensitivity to cold water and air blast by the use of a visual analogue scale. Measurements were taken at baseline, two, four, and 12 weeks.

Results: All three products significantly reduced sensitivity versus baseline at each time point, although the calcium sodium phosphosilicate (NovaMin) dentifrice reduced sensitivity significantly more than the others at the two- and four-week time points. At the two-week time point, for air and water, respectively, the dentifrice containing NovaMin reduced sensitivity 45% and 49%, the stannous fluoride gel 30% and 26%, and the potassium nitrate dentifrice 35% and 34%. At the 12-week time point, the dentifrice containing NovaMin reduced sensitivity 87% and 91%, stannous fluoride gel 87% and 85%, and potassium nitrate dentifrice 84% and 79%.

Conclusion: In this study, all three products were effective. Compared to the potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride formulations, the dentifrice containing NovaMin provided more substantial and significant improvements at the early time points.


Here are a few more samples from the PubMed database:

“The dentine remineralization activity of a desensitizing bioactive glass-containing toothpaste: an in vitro study”;

“A clinical study of the effect of calcium sodium phosphosilicate on dentin hypersensitivity—proof of principle”;

“Randomized in situ clinical study comparing the ability of two new desensitizing toothpaste technologies to occlude patent dentin tubules”;

“Physical and chemical characterization of the surface layers formed on dentin following treatment with a fluoridated toothpaste containing NovaMin”; and

“Effects of common dental materials used in preventive or operative dentistry on dentin permeability and remineralization.”


I am by no means an expert on FDA approval tactics and strategies, but I think it is pretty clear that Bioglass/NovaMin in toothpaste works.


Meanwhile, it does appear that some supplies of “Dr. Collins Restore” toothpaste containing NovaMin are still available to US consumers, at least online, from outlets such as Walgreens.

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6 Responses to No question that NovaMin is effective for sensitive teeth

  1. JLM says:

    Even GSK themselves know how superior Novamin is to the USA version with Stannous in it:


  2. Griff says:

    Sounds like they bought up the patent to shut it down… planned obsolescence to keep our teeth unhealthy and to keep dentists well payed.

    My GF worked for the company that made the bioglass (Viox) before GSK bought it up 3 years ago… I loved this toothpaste and it cured a cavity I had! Now I can’t find any more :-/

    Damn you GSK, Damn you patent law!

  3. Traci says:

    I was an avid Oravive user and was sorely disappointed when it went off the market. I hope that you will continue to post on this subject. SGK is a corrupt bunch of criminals as far as I’m concerned. Thanks!

  4. Ray S. Richards says:

    I have purchased many prescriptions from Canada and saved a lot of money. I have not yet tried to get this toothpaste from Canada. Have you?

  5. Fred Stover says:


    Good work on this. I am as outraged (probably not the best term) as you on this. I think that GSK is playing on foreign visitors that use this in their home countries and want to continue. They do not know if they don’t really look at the package that they are not getting the same product as overseas. Intriguing ploy and you are the only one hollering about it. Keep up the good work!

  6. Harrie Stevens says:

    I am very disappointed in the articles on sensodyne toothpaste. The discussion is a excellent example of using pseudo science to support biased conclusions. The arguments can be easily be solved by running a chemical analysis of the components along with a few other analytical tests to verify if bioglass is present or not.

    The same pseudo science was used in the Pyrex glass article last year when again a chemical analysis was not done to determine the differences between the glasses discussed. For that mater, if I recall correctly, thermal expansion measurements were also lacking.

    The American Ceramic Society should be ashamed.

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