Claire Jeong is the founder of StudentRDH.com, dentaltoaster.com, smarterDA.com and now https://wakeupmemory.com/
This week, Claire helps us to remember toothpaste ingredients. We could all use tricks and tips to keep the ingredients straight, and Claire gives us some great memory techniques!
Check out her website, dentaltoaster.com, for more info and other great CE courses, including one by Michelle!
More TIPisodes: https://www.ataleoftwohygienists.com/tipisodes/
For your viewing pleasure this TIPisode has been transcribed:
A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: Quick and easy tips to keep you up to date, and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode.
Claire Jeong: Hello, this is Claire at StudentRDH dental hygiene exam prep solution and DentalToaster CE courses online. Today, I want to just quickly go over the active ingredients of our toothpaste because we are responsible for the patient’s oral home care and that involves toothpaste. So there are many different active ingredients out there, and I just want to make sure that we can understand what they’re used for and what their dosage is.
So active ingredients, let’s start with the definition, is that ingredient that is going to cause you therapeutic effect, okay? Active ingredients versus inactive ingredients. The inactive ingredients include the chemicals that are going to help with foaming because actual foam by itself is not really helpful, but the patient feel better when there is foam. They feel like they’ve done a good job cleaning, so that’s why they actually added foam historically. But there’s the foaming agent, the coloring agent, the silica that helps with just cleaning the surfaces so it’s a little smoother and removes stain. Those things are inactive ingredients. The active ingredients are things like sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, peroxide, potassium nitrate. So let’s look at the active ingredients, the main ones together.
So sodium fluoride. First of all, I remember when I was taking my board examination and it asked sometimes what is the percentage of sodium fluoride? The normal sodium fluoride, not the prescribed one? Or they can ask, “Okay, you’re in a community oral health setting and you are prescribing sodium fluoride. What is the concentration you need?” So let’s just remember together.
Sodium fluoride is kind of considered the gold standard, right? In many toothpastes, you are most likely to see sodium fluoride. So, when I think about gold, I think of, well, 14 carats. Not bad, not bad. But if we want to go higher, we have 24 carat, right? So 24 carat — very easy — I take that number and I put a 0 in front of it, and I said 0.24 percent. That is my sodium fluoride concentration. That is normal that you can buy over the counter, okay? Sodium fluoride gold standard is 0.24 percent.
Now, as a clinician, you can prescribe that for your patient, right? So this is what you’re going to say to your patient: I’m going to prescribe you. So “to prescribe,” now, I’m going to count those letters, T-O-P-R-E-S-C-R-I-B-E. Together that makes 11 letters. The reason what [sic] I made you count the letters is because I want to go to 11; 11 gives me 1.1 percent. So, when you’re prescribing it, you are giving them a 1.1 percent. Of course there are many other concentrations, but the main ones, again, we’re talking about is 1.1 percent for prescription. Do you understand now sodium fluoride? I just want you to understand those numbers a little better.
Now, we have stannous fluoride. Stannous fluoride is a different kind, and the benefit of stannous fluoride is helping with prevention, obviously. This is how I’m going to remember stannous fluoride. I take the S-F — so S-F stands for San Francisco, right? San Francisco. And I’m thinking I’m driving from LA to San Francisco. I think it’s about a five-hour drive. I’ve never done that drive, but I’m just imagining in my head. So this is all about WakeUp Memory technique. You don’t have to be there, actually. You’re just tickling your brain so that you will make this movie in your head and you never forget because if you think about it, if you see something on Netflix, you are not really going to be bored. You’re going to like it. You want to watch more. So any information we have in our head that we see, if we transfer to something that is related to a story and that has a meaning to you personally, then you’re more likely to remember.
Let’s go back to sodium [sic] fluoride, S-F. I said I’m going to drive to LA. Now, I’m driving and I need my GPS, right? Because I don’t know where I’m going. GPS, that stands for — well, obviously that stands for GPS, but in dentistry, I’m going to think G for gingivitis, P for plaque, S for sensitivity. So stannous fluoride is good for gingivitis, plaque, and sensitivity, all right? That’s where I wanted to get to. When you see sodium [sic] fluoride toothpaste, you know it is good for those three conditions. And you can help your patient better to recommend such toothpaste because it has some ingredient that are beneficial in case, let’s say, they have a lot of sensitivity or they have gingivitis.
The next active ingredient we’re going to see is triclosan. Triclosan is antimicrobial. It is used not just in toothpaste but also in many different household items such as garbage bags because, again, of the antimicrobial quality of it. Now, triclosan in its 0.3 percent concentration, this one is very easy, right? If you just pay a little attention to it, if you just see the word “triclosan” in your mind, you see “tri,” which means three, right? And, triad, that means three, a triangle means three corners. So “tri” is 0.3 percent.
Then there’s peroxide. Peroxide. We all know that because there’s carbamide and hydrogen peroxide that helps with whitening, okay? So, here in WakeUp Memory technique, I thought about how am I going to remember this just in case peroxide doesn’t resonate with me? I think by now we would be used to the idea of peroxide and whitening, but if I were very, very brand new, I look at the word and I see “oxide,” or I can see “pierogi.” I know. Do you know what “pierogi” means? It’s, I think, the Polish dumplings. So I know pierogi has nothing to do with peroxide in dentistry. I’m just imagining to be [sic] white. Usually, it has some sort of yellow tint to it, but I imagine this being snow white. It’s just so white. And, once you just have this picture in your head, then you can relate it to whitening.
So the whole concept of WakeUp Memory technique is not to be as accurate or real-life as possible. You are just imaging things in your head just like The Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland. What else? What show did you also enjoy that was just kind of a fantasy because our mind likes it? It doesn’t want to be in just everything reality mode. So, if you give it a little bit of fun, then your brain is going to like it.
Two more active ingredients. One is called calcium phosphopeptide, so CPP, such as the MI Paste. Now, you use it to rebuild the enamel, to remineralize, and to also absorb calcium. When I see this word, I have to think a little bit because this is a fairly complicated word. But all I do is just take the “case,” casein, C-A-S-I-E — so C-A-S-E-I-N. When I think about “case,” I think about the case that I have for my loupes. I protect my loupes, right? So case give [sic] me a protector, so I am thinking I am protecting my tooth by remineralizing it, by helping it absorb calcium, and by rebuilding the enamel. But, here, C-A also — C-A stands for calcium. If you take your chemistry course, C-A stands for calcium, right? And, casein, it already has a clue in it that this is about calcium, and you take that out and you know that this is going to help you absorb calcium.
All right. So we went a long route to really understand calcium phosphopeptide, but once you have those tricks about the case — it’s going to protect it — and you also have calcium, well, you’re not going to forget it ever again in your life.
The last active ingredients we have is called potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate is used for hypersensitivity. It desensitizes the nerve, actually, so potassium nitrate you can recommend for those patients who complain about sensitivity. And, in fact, I use it as well. Once in a while, especially when I do whitening, I know I need it. So potassium nitrate, how are we going to remember it though? This is what I would like to do. It’s P-N, right? You just take the first letters, and it says P-N. So P-N. In the middle I put an A and an I. That gives me “pain,” right? So potassium is used for pain. Pain on the tooth. So, again, pain gives you potassium nitrate.
So I hope you understand a little bit better the active ingredients you memorize, and once and for all we look together. Sodium fluoride. Stannous fluoride, remember S-F, which is — gives you GPS; GPS stands for gingivitis, plaque, and sensitivity. We looked at triclosan, which is an antimicrobial — sorry, I have such a hard time pronouncing this word — and it’s 0.3 percent because of the tri, T-R-I. Then there’s peroxide. I showed you the image of this white pierogi; it’s all about whitening. Calcium phosphopeptide, CPP, case. It protects the tooth and, also, C-A, calcium, is going to help absorb the calcium, which is going to help with remineralization. And last one is potassium nitrate because you got the P and the N; you put an A and an I, and you got pain; it’s good for painful teeth.
So this was Claire at StudentRDH and also DentalToaster CE courses. If you want to learn more about memory techniques — not just memory techniques though, actually brain — how the brain functions and why we lost our brain and how we can just be more efficient in everything we do, I invite you to go to wakeupmemory.com. Over there you can sign up for the newsletter. It’s completely free. I just share as much as I can about the science of the brain so you can help yourself, but also if you have children in the house, this is going to really help them empower their brain because nowadays with all this technology, we are heavily relying on other things, not just our own body and amazing brain.
All right. Thank you and have a great day.
Michelle Strange: We hope you enjoyed this week’s TIPisode. Be sure to reach out to our guest experts and let them know how helpful their tips were. Follow A Tale of Two Hygienists on Facebook, Instagram, and head over to ataleoftwohygienists.com and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also email us at [email protected], and keep listening for more awesome content from your unofficial dental hygiene podcast.