A General Overview On: Dentifrices

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General Ingredients:
These ingredients are common for toothpowder and toothpaste
Abrasives/Polishing Agents
Foaming/Wetting/Cleaning/Surface active Agents
Sweetening Agents
Flavouring agents

Toothpastes also contain additional agents like
Binding/Gelling Agents
Therapeutic Agents
Miscellaneous Agents

Abrasives/Polishing Agents:
These are solid cleansing materials which primarily, act by removing the debris and residual stain from the teeth by providing friction and secondarily by polishing the surface of the enamel. They generally comprise of 20-50% of the total formulation. Examples are silica, sodium metaphosphate, magnesium trisilicate, precipitated chalk, tribasic calcium phosphate, hydrated alumina. Some attempts have been made to substitute mineral abrasives with softer organic substances etc, that will clean the surface of the teeth and  the same time overcome the eroding action of   mineral abrasives but they have been found very expensive.

Commonly used abrasive are listed below together their advantages and disadvantages.

Chalk or precipitated calcium carbonate: It is prepared by the double decomposition of calcium chloride and sodium carbonate in an aqueous solution. These are of low cost and are easily available in number of density grades, ranging from light to extra dense. However, the popularity has seen some set backs impurities present and variation in the abrasivity in different lots of the same grade.

Calcium Phosphate: There are a variety of  insoluble calcium phosphates that are extremely popular and effective in dentifrices formulation.

Dicalcium phosphate, dehydrate is excellent and relatively low in abrasion but is incompatible with most fluorides. For dentifrices use it should contain a stabilizer to prevent grittiness, caking or hardening of the paste of ageing. For this purpose magnesium phosphate, magnesium stearate, magnesium sulphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphates are used.

Dicalcium phosphate, anhydrous is very abrasives and generally used in low concentrations to increase the total abrasivity of the paste. It is also incompatible with most fluorides.

Insoluble sodium metaphosphate: is moderately abrasives and compatible with fluorides but relatively costly.

Silica’s: Hydrate silica’s are becoming increasingly popular choices as dental abrasives. They are off two types.
-Abrasive silica
-Thickening silica

Abrasive silica: are dense, relatively non absorbent, odorless and tasteless powders. Commercial grade silica “xerogels” are manufactured under specific manufacturing conditions and are conspicuous by having such structures which are free void or air spaces.

Thickening silica: also referred to as “aerogels “commercially, are extremely small size particles with very large surface areas and have the capability of swelling and of thickening the resulting pastes.

Foaming/Wetting/Cleaning/Surface active Agents:
These are either a surface active agent or a soap which is used to aid the action of abrasives by reducing the surface tension and wetting, the surface of the teeth. They penetrate and loosen surface deposits, emulsify and suspend the debris, which the dentifrices remove from tooth surface. Surface active agents are foaming agents employed at levels of 0.5-2% to provide necessary foaming action.
The most popular is: sodium lauryl sulphate, other surfactants that may be used are sodium lauryl sacrosinate, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate. Soap is generally used for lather making and cleansing action in dentifrices. The soap should be completely saponified, should contain 2% moisture, not more than 0.3% free alkali, calculated as sodium carbonate.

Sweetening Agents:
These are added to mask the bitter tastes of ingredients specially foaming agent and flavour oils. Nutritive sweeteners like carbohydrates cannot be used hence synthetic compounds like saccharine, aspartame, cyclamates or potassium acesulfane can be used in concentrations between 0.05-0.25percent.

Flavouring agents:
Dentifrices flavours belong to a class which not only satisfy the requirements of the formula but also satisfy the psychology of the consumer who is looking forward to fresh breath after brushing. Therefore they should help prepare a product which have a pleasant long lasting effect and which preferably has a medicinal or freshening impact. Examples are spearmint oil, peppermint oil, oil of winter green, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, anise oil, sassafras oil etc. The flavours are generally used at level between 0.2-2percent.

Binding/Gelling Agents:
Binders are natural or synthetic gums used in dentifrices formulations to hold the liquid and solid constituents in the form of a smooth paste. They increase the body and viscosity of the liquid phase as well as the final formulation, preventing liquid bleeding from the paste. Binders are generally used in concentrations between 0.9-2.0percent of the formulations. Natural synthetic gums, resins and other hydrocolloids may be employed. The most popular binder is “carboxy methyl cellulose”.

Deionised water should be used to formulate toothpastes, water is present in most dentifrices formula as both solvent for soluble ingredients as well as for supporting the binding agents, which swell after imbibing a lot of water.

These are one of  the liquid components of a toothpaste. They are incorporated to prevent moisture loss and drying out of dentifrices so that the viscosity of the product is maintained. In opaque paste they are generally employed in concentrations of between 20%-40%. Clear gels are formulated with as much as 80%. Most frequently used are sorbitol, glycerol and propyl glycol.

Formulations of toothpastes require the incorporation of preservatives to maintain the quality and stability of the product. Some preservative action is obtained by the flavouring oils and chloroform present. A mixture of 0.15% methyl paraben is effective as a preservative. Some flavouring (volatile) oils, chloroform, methyl hydroxyl benzoate, propyl hydroxyl benzoate are the common preservative used in toothpastes.

Therapeutic Agents:
All toothpaste doesn’t contain these agents. These are added in specially formulated medicated toothpaste has either bacterial, bacteriostatics, enzymes-inhibiting or acid neutralizing qualities. They thus reduce dental disease prevents mouth odour. Chlorophyll fluoride salt, urea, triclosan, dibasic ammonium phosphate penicillin, chlorhexidine, sodium dehydroacetae, neem extract are added for there therapeutics agents.

Miscellaneous Agents:
Titanium dioxide may be added as a whitening agent whenever desired. Buffers salts such as sodium phosphate may be used to maintain ph at the desired levels. Certified colors may be added.[5][6][7]


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