stannous fluoride vs sodium fluoride

My initial review of the multitude of toothpastes available on the Kroger shelf has brought to my attention that Crest Pro-Health Whitening paste contains stannous fluoride (0.454%), whereas Crest 3D White uses sodium fluoride (0.243%) as its active ingredient.

What is the difference between these two “active” ingredients ?

Per Wikipedia, stannous fluoride “is a colorless solid used as an ingredient in toothpastes that are typically more expensive than those that use sodium fluoride. Stannous fluoride converts the calcium mineral apatite or fluorapatite , which makes tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria generated acid attacks. Sodium fluoride and sodium flurophosphate, on the other hand, become biologically inactive when combined with calcium. Used in combination with calcium minerals, sodium fluoride is ineffective while stannous fluride remains effective in strengthening tooth enamel. Stannous fluoride has also been shown to be more effective than sodium fluoride in controlling gingivitis.”

In sum, my take on this is that though more expensive, pastes containing stannous fluoride  (as opposed to sodium fluoride) are the better choice in helping to prevent tooth enamel decay as well as gingivitis.

My mission now is to let you know what pastes contain stannous fluoride, which contain sodium fluoride and which use some other ingredient. Next, I will look at cost versus value as we compare this “active” ingredient among the same manufacturer and then between manufacturers.

I will also take a look at the non active ingredients in your tube of toothpaste.

Should be a lot of fun getting to the bottom of all the fluff.

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