Potassium Nitrate

What is it?

Potassium Nitrate is a naturally occurring mineral source of nitrogen. Ours is derived from a mineral nitrate ore and brine, which is saltwater.   

What does it do?

Potassium Nitrate is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), per Tentative Final Monograph for OTC Oral Health Care Drug Products, as an active ingredient in helping to reduce painful sensitivity of hypersensitive teeth.

How is it made?

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

Over the years, potassium nitrate has been made in a variety of ways. Although today, it is commonly made through synthesis it can also be made from naturally occurring mineral ores. Tom’s of Maine chooses to use the ingredient derived naturally from a mineral ore, in accordance with our Stewardship Model. We found a naturally derived source of potassium nitrate, which is a technical grade that we have recrystallized and purified to meet the quality standards for use in personal care. In our production process, natural deposits of sodium nitrate, known as caliche ore and mined in Chile, are combined with potassium chloride that from natural brines in solar evaporation ponds, where the potassium nitrate naturally crystallizes from the solution found in the ponds. The potassium nitrate crystals are collected and then recrystallized and purified as previously mentioned.

What are the alternatives?

Potassium nitrate is the only ingredient classified as safe and effective for use as a tooth desensitizer, by the FDA Tentative Final Monograph for OTC drug products. However, there is another alternative for the management of tooth sensitivity, which is classified as a medical device that combines arginine, an amino acid, and calcium carbonate, an available substance found in rocks. Tom’s of Maine does offer Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste, a fluoride-free toothpaste formula that combines arginine and calcium carbonate, provides rapid relief from painful sensitivity of teeth to cold, heat, acids, sweets, or contact, for those who would like to try it.

Is this the right option for me?

Nitrates are often confused with nitrites. Nitrates, used in Potassium Nitrate, are recognized as safe and effective for use in dental anti-sensitivity products by the FDA.

In addition, sensitive toothpastes provide temporary pain relief. Sensitive teeth may indicate a serious problem that may need prompt care by a dentist. See your dentist if the problem persists or worsens. Do not use a sensitive toothpaste product longer than four weeks unless recommended by a dentist or physician.

Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.