This is my review for the 3M Clinpro 5000 toothpaste which is available by prescription only through your dentist. I’ll show you the entire unboxing of the product as well as my experience brushing with it.
Yes, I am a dentist so of course I’ll also talk about how this Rx toothpaste works and why it works better than your regular fluoridated toothpaste.
The 3M clinpro 5000 is a prescription strength toothpaste with 1.1% sodium fluoride (5000 ppm). It is an anti-cavity toothpaste that was specifically designed for patients who are at high risk for tooth decay.
Qualifying conditions for this prescription:
- History of a lot of dental work.
- Developing incipient carious lesions (cavities that are just beginning).
- White spot lesion (demineralized enamel after removing braces).
- Thin, weak, or eroded enamel.
If you have any of the above conditions, your dentist may prescribe it for you.
|Net weight||4 oz (113 g)|
|Dispensing mechanism||Squeezable tube|
|Cap design||Flip cap|
|Remineralization agent||Sodium fluoride|
With once daily brushing in place of regular toothpaste, benefits include:
- Clinically proven prescription strength toothpaste.
- Contains 1.1% sodium fluoride (5000 ppm fluoride ion).
- Replaces conventional toothpaste regimen.
- Delivers more fluoride to the tooth than other leading brands tested.
- Remineralizes lesions throughout, not just the surface.
- Contains innovative functionalized tricalcium phosphate (fTCP) ingredient for optical delivery.
- Available in a convenient 4 oz flip top tube (approximately 6 month supply).
- Delivers more fluoride to the tooth than other leading brands tested.
- Cleans and whitens teeth with low abrasion.
Directions are for adults and children 12 years and older.
- Apply a thin ribbon or pea-sized amount onto a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Brush teeth for at least 2 minutes.
- After brushing, adults should spit out and avoid rinsing.
- Children 6-16 should spit and rinse thoroughly with water.
- Do not use in children younger than 6 unless recommended by dentist.
- Do not swallow.
Yes when possible, avoid rinsing with water so that you can maximize the anti-cavity effects from fluoride. Although children should rinse out due to the risk of ingesting too much fluoride.
There are a total of 13 ingredients in this toothpaste, 1 active and 12 inactive ones.
There is only one active ingredient in the clinpro 5000 and it is 1.1% Sodium Fluoride (5000 ppm). Its purpose is as an anti-cavity agent.
|Whitening Abrasive||Hydrated Silica|
Titanium Dioxide (white coloring)
The ingredient list is fairly minimal and I like how it doesn’t have any color dyes. I do find it interesting how they went with carboxymethyl cellulose instead of the more commonly used Xanthan gum.
The clinpro 5000 rx toothpaste came in a standard rectangular cardboard box with a white, blue, and purple color theme. They’re not shy in letting you know that this is a prescription only product.
Both ends of the box are sealed with glue which serves as tamper proof evidence.
Upon opening, I was surprised to find that there was also an instructions/product sheet along with the tube of toothpaste. Most of the OTC toothpastes that I’ve reviewed so far had no additional contents inside.
I did have to open both sides of the box to get the sheet out. I tried to fetch it out by jamming my hand inside the box but it was to no avail.
Below is an image with all of the contents unboxed:
- Product sheet.
The toothpaste comes in your typical plastic squeezable tube but it does use a flip cap design. I do like the flip cap because it is convenient to open and close especially when I compare it to a twist off cap.
If you look closely in the image above, you’ll notice that it does have an aluminum freshness seal. To remove it, you need to twist off the entire cap which will then allow you to peel off the seal.
FYI, I love it when manufacturers seal the product box AND put a safety seal on the tube itself. That is an additional layer of reassurance that the product has never been used before.
Last but not least, since the toothpaste does have a broad flat cap… it is able to be stored upright in a vertical position. This takes up less space than the horizontal laying products.
So far, my overall impression is very positive just based on the product design and the packaging. I do not believe I have any constructive criticism to add thus far. It currently meets all of my expectations.
The first thought that came to my mind once I turned my electric toothbrush on was, “oh, that’s very pleasant.” The clinpro just felt very nice to me although I can’t quite put it into words. Maybe it’s due to the soft texture and the mild flavor.
|Taste||Very mild spearmint|
The toothpaste has an opaque white color, mostly owing to the titanium dioxide in its formula. This ingredient is naturally white and it reflects a lot of light, thus giving its characteristically white color. There are no color dyes.
When I sniff the clinpro it has a very distinct spearmint flavor kind of like the chewing gum flavors. However once I started brushing with it, the flavor is more muted. I get a small hint of the spearmint and not much more.
I think if you don’t like spearmint or any of the mint variations, you’d still find this flavor to be quite acceptable. To me it has a more neutral taste but with a hint of the spearmint. It’s certainly a lot more pleasant to me since I do seek out less intense flavors in my oral care products these days.
Note: This toothpaste does come in other flavors such as bubble gum and vanilla mint. I just happened to have purchased this flavor because it appealed to me.
The toothpaste texture is very soft and non-abrasive feeling. Once I turned my sonicare on, the paste literally melted and dispersed into my enamel.
When compared to the products with a thicker texture, those often require a bit of brushing before all of the toothpaste spreads out over your teeth. The clinpro 5000 on the other hand disperses itself magnificently.
Despite its soft texture, the paste still holds itself very well. Even with the inverted toothbrush test, it does not fall off of the bristles. It holds its shape due to the glycols and cellulose as its ingredients.
Dare I say, this toothpaste has quite a bit of foam. Rather than describing how much foam there was, its easier to see in the image below of what it looks like after 2 minutes of brushing.
This prescription toothpaste does contain sodium lauryl sulfate as well as Polyethylene-polypropylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol. Those two glycols do have surfactant properties meaning they contribute to the foaming.
My mouth and teeth felt clean after brushing. Although I did notice an ever so slight thin film of mild grit/sandiness on my tongue.
Nonetheless like I said earlier, it was just a very pleasant experience as I was brushing with it. There wasn’t any discomfort and the flavor was good.
Pros & Cons
This is a prescription toothpaste and as with all Rx products, you’re probably expecting more disadvantages than advantages but that’s not true. There is a lot to like about this product.
- 4x more potent than regular fluoride toothpaste.
- Optimized calcium formulation.
- Prevents and remineralizes small cavities.
- Decreases sensitivity.
- Only 13 ingredients.
- Can be stored upright.
- Great flavor.
- Costly if you don’t have insurance.
- May worsen canker sores.
- Contains SLS.
- Be extra cautious of swallowing it.
SLS and canker sores
While there is no definitive consensus on whether sodium lauryl sulfate worsens canker sores, I would still be cautious about using it if I was prone to it.
- Some studies say that it increases the frequency and intensity of the sores thus abstaining from SLS toothpastes alleviated symptoms.
- Other studies claim that there is insufficient evidence to make such a claim.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that SLS is a powerful soap, so potent that it was used as an engine degreaser during World War II. Therefore, it could be drying on your mouth and strip out the natural oils. This process may delay aphthous ulcers healing.
While it does not explicitly advertise that it can desensitize teeth, this toothpaste can desensitize teeth by occluding open dentinal tubules.
Studies have shown that it can occlude the dentinal tubules but it isn’t as effective as hydroxyapatite or CCP-ACP in doing so. Basically it is not the most effective desensitizer but it can help alleviate some of the discomfort you may be having.
How does clinpro 5000 work?
The anti-cavity effects of the clinpro 5000 are due to the high concentration of sodium fluoride and the tricalcium phosphate in its formulation. It works by using these two ingredients to remineralize teeth and prevent cavities.
High sodium fluoride concentration
This prescription toothpaste delivers a concentrated dose of sodium fluoride, 5000 ppm to be exact and that is where its name was derived from. Hint hint, the 5000 in the name.
The anti-cavity effects of fluoride is well established, the benefits include:
- Enhanced remineralization.
- Inhibits demineralization.
- Anti-bacterial properties.
This product delivers a dose that is 4x more concentrated than regular fluoride toothpaste. This boost significantly enhances the anti-cavity effects. It is similar to receiving fluoride varnish treatment at the dentist.
The varnish applied at the dentist is nearly 5x as concentrated as the clinpro (5% vs 1.1% NaF). However, the advantage with the clinpro is that you can use this at home since it is prescribed to you while the varnish is in office only.
Nonetheless, the ideas and principles are both one and the same. Essentially you’re doing fluoride treatment with potency that is in greater than regular toothpaste but less than professional in-office.
Calcium is a necessary mineral that is required for remineralization because teeth are made of it. However, when it is placed into toothpaste in the form of calcium carbonate, it negatively interacts with fluoride and ends up providing no additional remineralization benefit.
Alas, the good news is that when calcium is formulated into the form, tricalcium phosphate (TCP), it becomes stabilized and does NOT adversely react with fluoride. 3M refers to this stabilized version as “functional” calcium phosphate.
This version of calcium does provide additional remineralization benefits.
The chart above is from a study which shows that toothpastes with both fluoride and tricalcium phosphate, outperformed fluoride only and TCP only toothpastes.
In conclusion, adding calcium this way will boost cavity preventative effects.
The 3M Clinpro 5000 is relatively safe if you use it as directed. As with all toothpastes, this prescription strength one should not be swallowed but if you do, there is chance for adverse effects from excessive fluoride or calcium ingestion.
Fluoride overdose side effects:
- Abdominal pain
- Upset stomach
Essentially if you ingest about 1/4 of the entire tube, you must seek medical help immediately. For lesser quantities, you should drink 1-2 glasses of milk and observe for symptoms. Although you should still contact poison control.
Calcium overdose side effects:
- Digestive symptoms – nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, or constipation.
- Nephrotic symptoms – increased thirst or more frequent urination.
- Muscle weakness and twitches.
- Tiredness, fatigue, and confusion.
Although the main concern with this rx toothpaste is the excessive amount of fluoride but side effects from the calcium may occur.
Is it better than regular toothpaste?
The clinpro 5000 is more effective than regular toothpaste at preventing cavities because it has more fluoride and it has calcium phosphate in it.
Clinpro 5000 vs Regular toothpaste advantages:
- 4x more NaF.
- Contains calcium and phosphate, necessary tooth minerals for repair.
Most OTC dentifrices do not contain calcium phosphate. If they do, it is often unoptimized and provides no additional benefit. You can think of this Rx product as having all of the necessary components to repair your teeth in one tube.
With regular toothpaste, you do need to consume enough dietary calcium and phosphorus to even get close to leveling the playing field.
The only question that I have for 3M is why didn’t they make this toothpaste SLS-free?
Only SLS-free toothpastes such as the Sensodyne Pronamel can be considered fluoride optimized. If 3M wanted this to be super optimized, they should’ve removed the SLS and used an alternative surfactant.
Although perhaps, there is already so much fluoride in this toothpaste that optimization doesn’t matter? After all, it does have 4x more NaF than regular dentifrices…
In my opinion, the clinpro 5000 is a wonderful toothpaste and you should use it if you were prescribed it. Although I suppose you don’t really have a choice because you can’t purchase it over the counter anyway.
It is more effective than regular toothpastes and it just feels very pleasant when I’m brushing with it. Although just to remind you, you’re only supposed to use it once per day in lieu of your regular toothpaste.
If you’re at high risk for cavities or you’re just deathly afraid of tooth decay, you can consider asking your dentist if you’re a candidate for a prescription strength toothpaste.