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Old 26.02.2011, 13:59
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Re: BROWN and YELLOW teeth from toothpastes

Susan, thank you very much for all the useful info you provided. Sorry I missed this thread last year.

However, I'd like to rectify a few things. I've been in this business for more than 40 years, in research as well as in oral surgery practice, so I feel entitled to do so.

First of all, Elmex (the regular one with the mainly orange print and also Elmex Sensitive with the green print) contains no stannous fluoride and never has. It contains Olaflur, which is another name for amine fluoride 297 and has nothing to do with stannous fluoride.

By the way, most of the research for the development of Olaflur was done at the Kariesforschungsstation (Caries Research Station) of the then Dental Institute (now Center for Dental and Oral Medicine and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery -- can't get much longer....) of the University of Zurich. At that point in time, GABA AG was a company that mainly made herb pastilles, a.k.a. smokers' candies (!).

I'm not so sure if stannous fuoride really is the main cause of tooth staining. As soon as Elmex Sensitive hit the market, within half a year or so we began noticing heavy discolorations. As I wrote above, Elmex Sensitive contains no stannous fluoride, so that can't be blamed. However, Elmex Sensitive tradionally is very low on abrasivity lists, which, put in a very simplified manner, means it's gentle to the dentin but also to the plaque and pigment causing tooth discoloration. I just do not recommend it. Never. Regular Elmex ok, but not Sensitive.

I don't think it's good to swallow fluoridated paste. Systemic fluoride is very difficult to control anyway. Many specialists recommend spitting it out, but not rinsing the mouth, unlike what we learned in kindergarten and school in the 'fifties.

Oral / dental hygiene in Switzerland did not start about 30 years ago, as you stated. When I was a kid almost 60 years ago, there were mandatory annual check-ups organized by the school, combined with hygiene instructions and professional cleaning. By the late 'sixties, the percentage of toothless Army recruits had dropped from 20% (in WW II) to less than 1%, while, at the same time, the British Army still scored around 16%.

Granted, there were no dental hygiene schools in Switzerland for quite a long time. That was because most of the DHs were imported from the USA and Canada. The first Swiss DH school was founded in Zurich in 1973. I know it; I was there.

I opened my practice in 1977. Besides a technical lab, a microbio lab, three surgery rooms, sterilization and x-ray rooms etc., it also had a DH treatment room plus a special room with all sorts of equipment for hygiene instruction (slide and cinefilm projectors, demonstration microscope, professional video cameras and recorders, etc.).

Dental hygiene with all it's facets was normal practice then and had been for many years before at most dental practices. Of course there still were a few old stubborn blockheads around that didn't care, but your remark of July 20, 2010 at 13:36 sounded like Switzerland was kind of a dental banana republic in the mid 'eighties, which was absolutely not the case.

So the jackhammer thing may have been true for the circle of patients at the place where you started working in the 'eighties, but definitely not for Switzerland in general. Already in the 'seventies, 98% of our patients were in a regular check-up recall system, out in the boondocks of Heidiland, mind you, and I think that was general standard in a majority of dental practices. There always are and were exceptions, of course.

I totally agree to every word you wrote in your last paragraph.
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