A new extensive, double blind study tested the safety and effectiveness of over the counter Potassium Oxalate (PK) mouth rinses for reducing tooth sensitivity. Researchers compared two groups consisting of 361 randomly assigned people. One group received the placebo mouth-rinse (control group), while the second group received the mouth rinse with the active ingredient, potassium oxalate. They tested sensitivity in one or more teeth, starting at day one, two weeks and four weeks. They blew puffs of cold air on the areas of sensitivity and had the patients rate their pain on scale. Researchers plotted the pain scores on graphs over time to determine effectiveness, as compared to the control group.
At week two, the PK mouth rinse users experienced a 7.2% reduction in pain as compared to the control group. At week four, the PK mouth rinse users experienced a 19.2% reduction, compared to the control group. From the starting point, overall, those that used the PK mouth rinse reduced tooth sensitivity by 30%. The reduced numbers seen as compared to the placebo group shows that those that used the mouth rinse without the PK, did experience some pain reduction at 2 and 4 weeks. The 4-week, 19% pain reduction (as compared to the control group) does show PK has a statistically significant effectiveness for reducing tooth sensitivity over a 4 week period.
If you’re currently using a tooth sensitivity toothpaste and are not experiencing optimal pain reduction, using this new type of mouth rinse might help. Since they use different chemicals to occlude dentin tubules, a combination therapy could be tried, or a possible switch. Previous research has shown Potassium Oxalate offers a more acid resistant method. Ask your dentist what they recommend for your particular case. Both desensitizing toothpaste and this new mouth rinse have been proven safe for daily use.