The effects of a potassium citrate, cetylpyridinium chloride, sodium fluoride mouthrinse on dentine hypersensitivity, plaque and gingivitis. A placebo-controlled study

J Clin Periodontol. 1998 Oct;25(10):813-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051x.1998.tb02375.x.


Home-use studies on dentine hypersensitivity have most commonly involved toothpastes and rarely have mouthrinses been employed. Potassium and/or fluoride toothpastes have been shown effective in the treatment of dentine hypersensitivity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a total formulation, containing potassium citrate, sodium fluoride, cetylpyridinium chloride mouthrinse compared to the base rinse minus actives in the reduction of dentine hypersensitivity. The study was a randomised placebo controlled, double blind parallel design. At a screening visit, 90 adult subjects were recruited who were suffering from dentine hypersensitivity from at least 1 tooth responding to tactile stimulation (45gm pressure) and had at least 2 teeth responding to evaporative stimulation (air blast). During a washout period of 28 days and throughout the 56-day study period, subjects used a soft filament toothbrush and standard fluoride toothpaste. At baseline (day 1), threshold sensitivities to incremental tactile (10 g to 70 g) and evaporative stimuli were determined. Gingival health was assessed by recording bleeding on probing at 25 g pressure at mesiobuccal and lingual sites. Plaque scores from buccal and lingual surfaces of disclosed teeth were also measured. Subjects then used the prescribed rinse, 10 ml for at least 30 s after brushing 2x per day returning on days 28 and 56 for rescoring of sensitivity, gingivitis and plaque. Data from 88 subjects were used with the intent to treat analyses and 83 in the completely evaluable analyses. Groups were well balanced for demographic data and product returns suggested good compliance. Both groups showed highly significant improvements in tooth sensitivity. The pattern was for greater improvement in the test compared to the control group (statistically significant for the plaque score), whereas bleeding scores, already low, showed no change in either group. By definition, the placebo rinse could not have exerted any therapeutic action; the study therefore provides clear direct evidence as to the magnitude (30%-40%) of the little studied, but assumed, placebo response in dentine hypersensitivity trials.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Cetylpyridinium / administration & dosage
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dental Plaque / drug therapy
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Dentin Sensitivity / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Fluorides, Topical / administration & dosage
  • Gingivitis / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouthwashes / chemistry
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use*
  • Potassium Citrate / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Fluoride / administration & dosage
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Drug Combinations
  • Fluorides, Topical
  • Mouthwashes
  • Sodium Fluoride
  • Cetylpyridinium
  • Potassium Citrate