Tin is a metallic element that forms alloys with other metals, conferring strength and hardness. It is relatively scarce and is not currently mined in the United States.
Inorganic tin compounds are used in toothpaste, perfumes, processed foods, and soaps. Organic tin compounds are used in plastics, pesticides, paints, wood preservatives, and rodent repellants. In general, organic tin compounds are the product of human activities and do not occur in nature.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for tin. Tin is an ultratrace element in humans. It has been suggested that the amount of tin found in a healthy diet should be the value used to describe appropriate intake. Tin deficiency has been described in animals, but not in humans.
Daily intakes of tin from air, food, and water are small. The natural content of tin in plant and animal tissues is low. Tin is present in natural water only in trace amounts. Diet is the primary source of tin in humans. The main source of dietary tin is foods that have been stored in tin-lined cans.
Fluoride prevents cavities due to antibacterial and mineralization properties. Stannous fluoride (tin fluoride) has been used as a vehicle for fluoride in toothpastes and mouthwashes since the 1950s.
Occupational exposure to some forms of tin may cause lung disease, stomach cancer, and organ damage.
Alkyl tin, aryl tin, blend-a-med Pro-Expert, bronze, canfieldite, cassiterite, Crest® Pro-Health, cylindrite, eallite, metallic tin, methyl tin, native tin, organotin, pewter, Purlytin™, rostaporfin, Sn, SnCl2, SnF2, SnMP, SnO, SnO2, SnPP, stannic, stannite, stannosis, stannous, stannous chloride, stannous fluoride, stannsoporfin, stannum (Latin), tin chloride, tin colloid, tin dioxide, tin ethyl etiopurpurin, tin mesoporphyrin, tin oxide, tin protoporphyrin, tin[II] chloride, tin[II]fluoride, tin[II] oxide, tin[IV] dioxide, tributyltin oxide, tricyclohexyltin hydroxide, triethyltin, trimethyltin.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Since before the 1950s, fluoride (in the form of sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride (tin fluoride), sodium monofluorophosphate, or acidulated phosphate fluoride) has been used in treatments such as toothpastes and mouthwashes to effectively prevent cavities. The efficacy of the treatment depends on the concentration of fluoride, the frequency and duration of application, and to a certain extent, the fluoride compound used.
Dental pain (dentinal hypersensitivity)
Clinical research shows that topical application of 0.4% stannous fluoride gel for 2-4 weeks relieves the symptoms of dentinal hypersensitivity. The effects of tin alone cannot be determined, and additional research is needed.
Use of stannous fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes has been shown to be associated with significant antigingivitis effects. The effects of tin alone cannot be determined, and additional research is needed.
In adults with documented, reproducible halitosis (bad breath), brushing with a tin-containing sodium fluoride toothpaste significantly reduced bad breath compared with brushing with a standard commercial sodium fluoride toothpaste. Additional research is needed in this area.
Neonatal jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia)
In early studies, tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP, stannsoporfin) and tin protoporphyrin (SnPP) have been used to treat hyperbilirubinemia (a high blood level of bilirubin) in newborns. However, these compounds are also photosensitizing agents and release toxic oxygen species. More high-quality research is needed to determine safety and efficacy.
Ocular disorders (choroid neovascularization)
Photodynamic therapy uses photosensitizing drugs and nonthermal light to selectively eliminate defined areas of tissue, with minimal damage to surrounding areas. Evidence showed closure of new blood vessels in the choroid layer of the eye within 24 hours of treatment with tin etiopurpurin (tin ethyl purpurin, rostaporfin, Purlytin™). Further research is needed.
Use of stannous fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes has been shown to be associated with significant antiplaque effects. The effects of tin alone cannot be determined, and further research is needed.