In ancient times before toothpaste and toothbrushes were invented, the Chinese used twigs, salt, medicine and other tools to clean their teeth, hoping to achieve cleansing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects, and bring a slight fragrance.
Before toothpaste came out, people invented toothpaste. It is a mixture of calcium carbonate and soap powder, and its function is to keep teeth clean and remove stains.
However, the high pH of tooth powder can cause inflammation of the oral tissues. Today, people’s expectations for toothpaste have long gone beyond cleanliness, but hope that toothpaste can play a more role in oral health care.
Composition of toothpaste
Toothpaste is composed of friction agents, moisturizers, thickeners, foaming agents, fragrances, water and other additives (including functional ingredients used to improve oral health).
No matter what toothpaste, the main ingredient is the friction agent, and the cleaning effect is mainly completed by the friction agent. Other additives include preservatives, colorants and so on.
Commonly used friction agents in toothpaste are: calcium carbonate, calcium hydrogen phosphate (the friction is strong, so in the special smoke removal toothpaste, you can mix 5%-10% anhydrous salt in the dihydrate salt), calcium pyrophosphate (Because it does not react with fluorine-containing compounds, it can be used as a base material for fluorine-containing toothpaste.)
The humectant can prevent the toothpaste from curing and hardening in the tube, and make the paste have luster and other effects. The humectants used in toothpaste include glycerin, sorbitol, polyethylene glycol and so on. Sorbitol can also impart a moderate sweetness to toothpaste.
Diethylene glycol was also used in toothpaste as a moisturizer, but it was found to have low toxicity and was banned by the United States, Japan, Canada and other countries in 2007.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China also subsequently issued a notice prohibiting the use, and explicitly prohibited the addition in the new national standard for toothpaste (GB8372-2008) announced in 2009. If it is brought in as an impurity, the content in the toothpaste shall not exceed 0.1%.
Surfactant has cleansing and foaming ability, so that toothpaste spreads quickly in the oral cavity and makes the fragrance easy to spread. The dosage in the formula is generally 2 to 3%, and sodium lauryl sulfate is commonly used.
The thickener is usually CMC (Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose), which aims to organically bond a variety of raw materials in toothpaste to form a paste, but the new national standard has already cancelled the requirement for consistency.
The spice used for toothpaste is mainly mint, which can bring a cool feeling to brushing. In addition, fruit flavors and green tea flavors can also be used, but they are strictly limited as toothpaste flavors, and they are not required to be contained.
Toothpaste production process is often threatened by microbial contamination, so it is necessary to add certain preservatives to the toothpaste formulation system. The preservatives in toothpaste are benzoic acid and parabens. As for the cancer-causing triclosan mentioned by the media, in the new national standard in 2009, it has been included in the allowable preservatives, but it is clearly not more than 0.3%.
Types of functional toothpaste
Toothpaste is just an ordinary daily chemical product, not a medicine, so it is unrealistic to expect toothpaste to treat oral diseases, but people are still trying to make toothpaste have more health benefits.
Fluoride ions can combine with the surface of teeth to form fluorapatite, which improves the acid resistance of teeth. Adding appropriate amount of fluoride to toothpaste can increase the fluoride in the oral cavity and form a strong protective layer on the surface of the teeth. Fluoride toothpaste is added with active substances such as sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, zinc fluoride and so on.
However, high fluoride content can also have a negative impact on teeth and bones. Dental fluorosis can make permanent teeth appear chalky to dark yellow. Skeletal fluorosis can damage bones. Therefore, the content of fluoride in toothpaste is also required: the total fluoride content of adult toothpaste is between 0.05% and 0.15%, and the content of fluoride in children’s toothpaste is between 0.05% and 0.11%.
Chinese herbal toothpaste
Some Chinese herbal medicines are added on the basis of ordinary toothpaste, which has a certain auxiliary effect on alleviating the inflammation of the gums.
Anti-inflammatory drug toothpaste
Add some antibacterial drugs on the basis of ordinary toothpaste, such as chlorhexidine. These drugs generally have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, but long-term use can easily lead to disorders of the normal flora in the oral cavity.
Add desensitizing ingredients, such as fluoride and strontium chloride, to toothpaste, but it can only relieve mild dentin hypersensitivity. If it does not work after a period of use, you should stop using it, and it is best to seek medical advice. Use other desensitization methods with the help of professional doctors.
Detergent whitening toothpaste
This kind of toothpaste contains drugs such as peroxide or hydroxyapatite, which can use the principles of friction and chemical bleaching to remove the stain on the tooth surface, and play the role of whitening teeth and removing exogenous staining on the tooth surface. However, if the friction particles in the toothpaste are large and hard, long-term use and brushing too hard may cause tooth wear.
Multi-effect toothpaste can help solve a variety of dental problems
Different toothpastes have their own effects, but all have limited effects.
Therefore, dental experts generally recommend not to use the same toothpaste for a long time, but to change to another one at intervals. But everyone still hopes that toothpaste can have all the effects of preventing caries, whitening/staining, desensitization, reducing plaque, and removing bad breath.
A series of studies recently published in the American Journal of Dentistry found that a new type of toothpaste containing stannous-sodium fluoride can inhibit dental plaque, desensitize, reduce exogenous staining, prevent caries and improve bad breath All have a certain effect and may become a new choice for multi-effect toothpaste.