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Additives in prophy paste: More than a stain remover, today's prophy pastes serve multiple purposes

Dec. 13, 2016
Amber Auger reviews changes and benefits found in the prophy paste used by dental hygienists.

By Amber Auger, RDH, MPH

When choosing prophy paste, it's important to choose one that will benefit the patient, minus poor taste and residue. Once viewed as a flavored abrasive agent, advanced technology has transformed prophy paste into something more. Clinical studies demonstrate that the most effective ingredients to aid in the remineralization process are fluoride and calcium phosphate.1 These same additives can be found in select prophy pastes. Therefore, it's important to consider these new additives when choosing paste.

Fluoride has been proven to inhibit demineralization and enhance remineralization, and it can remain on the hard tissues, cheeks, and tongue to be released into saliva over time.2,3 Numerous studies show that the benefits of calcium phosphate and fluoride are amplified when they're in products together, and they demonstrate superior ability to prevent demineralization.4,5 Cavity-causing bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, are reduced when xylitol is introduced into the oral cavity through topical application or gum chewing.6

Ultrapro Tx prophy paste contains potassium nitrate and fluoride, a combination known as PF technology.7 Offered in four flavors, Ultrapro is splatter free, gluten free, and offered in fine, medium, and coarse grits. Ultrapro Tx Pure Prophy Paste is only available in medium grit without fluoride, potassium nitrate, or flavoring.7

MAXmin prophy paste with NuFluor by Preventech provides an effective stain removal formula without residue or splatter. The paste is equipped with NuFluor technology, which contains 1.23% fluoride ion, calcium, and phosphate chemistry for optimum enamel strengthening.8 The paste is available in medium and coarse grit and in a variety of flavors sweetened with xylitol including mint, cherry, orange vanilla, and bubblegum.8

Clinpro Prophy Paste by 3M contains pumice to remove extrinsic staining, and it contains fluoride.9 Because it's available in fine, medium, and coarse grits, hygienists can choose what's best for the specific needs of each patient.8 Like most prophy pastes, Clinpro comes in aseptic unit-dose packages for ease of use. Clinpro Prophy Paste is available in mint and cherry flavors.9

There are dozens of prophy paste brands available in a wide range of flavors, but only a few brands contain powerful new additives. Therefore, you should consider selecting a prophy paste that has additional benefits beyond stain removal. Enhanced prophy paste has the potential to provide patients with a more effective and enjoyable prophy experience. RDH

Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, is a hygienist with experience in multiple clinical settings, including facilities abroad. Amber obtained a master's degree in public health from the University of New England and a bachelor's in dental hygiene from the University of New Haven. She holds a part-time position at an elite dental office in Boston, and is chief of clinical technology for Jameson Management. Amber is co-owner of Spin C.E. where participants receive continuing education while enjoy a challenging indoor cycling class. Amber Auger is a key opinion leader for several dental companies, a professor, a published author, and can be contacted at [email protected].


  1. Gu A, et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Mineralizing and antibacterial effects of modified calcium phosphate treatment on human root cementum. U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 16, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
  2. Whitford GM, Wadison JL, Schafer TE, Adair SM. Plaque fluoride concentrations are dependent on plaque calcium concentrations. Caries Res 2012, 36:256-265.
  3. Goldstep F. Oral Health. Dental Remineralization: Simplified. Available at http://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/dental-remineralization-simplified/.2012. Accessed October 10, 2016.
  4. Shen P, et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  5. Effect of calcium phosphate addition to fluoride containing dental varnishes on enamel demineralization. U.S. National Library of Medicine Aust Dent J. 2016 Sep;61(3):357-65. doi: 10.1111/adj.12385., September 6, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2016.
  6. Memarpour M, et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Efficacy of calcium- and fluoride-containing materials for the remineralization of primary teeth with early enamel lesion. U.S. National Library of Medicine Microsc Res Tech. 2015 Sep;78(9):801-6. doi: 10.1002/jemt.22543. Epub 2015 July 15. Updated September 2015. Accessed October 10, 2016.
  7. Haghgoo R. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Comparing the efficacy of xylitol-containing and conventional chewing gums in reducing salivary counts of Streptococcus mutans: An in vivo study. U.S. National Library of Medicine, J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2015 Dec;5(Suppl 2):S112-7. doi: 10.4103/2231-0762.172947 5 Dec. 2015. Accessed October 10, 2016.
  8. Ultradent. Ultrapro Tx Prophy Paste. Available at https://www.ultradent.com/en-us/Dental-Products-Supplies/Prevent-Hygiene/Prophylaxis-Auxiliaries/Ultrapro-Tx-Prophy-Paste/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed October 10, 2016.
  9. Preventech. MAXMIN Prophy Paste. MAXmin Prophy Paste with NuFluor - Calcium Phosphate, Fluoride Aids in Remineralization of Saliva. Accessed October 6, 2016.
  10. Clinpro Comfortable Oral Care. Available at http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/529667O/clinpro-prophy-paste-and-powder-brochure-ebu.pdf. Accessed October 6, 2016.