Arginine-containing toothpastes for dentin hypersensitivity: systematic review and meta-analysis

Quintessence Int. 2013 Oct;44(9):709-23. doi: 10.3290/j.qi.a30177.


Objective: Arginine-containing toothpastes are a promising new treatment for dentin hypersensitivity (DH), which afflicts a considerable number of patients. However, there have to date been only individual studies. We aim to present an overview of the clinical evidence in order to determine trends and establish firmer conclusions regarding the use of arginine-containing toothpastes for management of DH.

Method and materials: A protocol was developed based on the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (version 5.1.0), including: search strategy, selection criteria, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment. We searched electronic databases (up to October 2012) without language limitation, and reference lists of relevant papers for randomized controlled trials that assessed the efficacy of arginine-containing toothpastes for DH treatment. Data extraction and domain-based risk of bias assessment were independently performed by two reviewers. The meta-analysis was performed in STATA (version 12.0). The GRADE analysis was conducted in GRADE profiler (version 3.6).

Results: Fourteen randomized controlled studies with different risk of bias were included in the meta-analysis, all evaluated by tactile and air blast assessment. The mean differences and standard deviations for each treatment group were pooled for analysis using a random-effect model. We found that arginine-containing toothpastes had better overall effects in comparison with placebo toothpastes (P < .05), potassium salt-containing toothpastes (P < .05), and strontium-containing toothpastes (P < .05). The GRADE analysis showed that quality of the evidence was moderate when arginine-containing toothpastes were compared to placebo and potassium salt-containing toothpastes, and quality of the evidence was low with comparison to strontium-containing toothpastes.

Conclusion: Current available clinical evidence suggests that arginine-containing toothpastes are associated with the reduction of DH compared to both placebo and positive control toothpastes. However, there are limitations to the current studies, and more well-designed trials are needed to confirm the efficacy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents / chemistry
  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dentin Sensitivity / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Toothpastes / chemistry
  • Toothpastes / pharmacology*


  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents
  • Toothpastes
  • Arginine