Vinay Kumar Singh

Chief Research Officer,
Paramount Cosmetics India,
Bangalore, Karnataka

Oral Care Products are intended to cleanse the oral cavity, freshen the breath, and maintain good oral hygiene. Some products also include ingredients to protect against the formation of cavities.

Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, most commonly, dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontal (gum) diseases and bad breath. Oral care segment has recently witnessed lots of innovation. Previously, locally made Ayurvedic powders and natural herbs that served the purpose of maintaining oral hygiene dominated the Indian oral care market. Indian oral care industry, over the last few years, has been one of the fast growing FMCG sectors. The overall market for Indian oral care products has grown at CAGR of 14.4% during FY 2008-2013. The growth was due to significant change in spending power of people, backed by growing awareness about healthy lifestyle and oral hygiene. Further the industry has witnessed introduction of innovative products such as Sensitive toothpaste, gum care toothpaste, sensitive mouthwashes, which has aided the growth. Recent news is that Colourants used in oral care products can be used as antibacterial agent when activated with visible light. Let us discuss various oral care products.

Tooth paste is one of the preparation for maintaining oral hygiene.  It is oriented to prevention of dental caries and gum disorders.

The portion of tooth above the gums is called crown and bottom portion as root.

Surface of the tooth is covered by hard tissue called enamel.  This consists of mainly ‘hydroxy apatite’ (98%) 3 Ca3(PO4) 2 Ca(OH)2 .

Layer of material beneath the tooth enamel is called dentine.  It also consists of hydroxy apatite to lesser extent (70%) and remainder being collagen and water.

Apatite of dentine may also contain variety of other elements.  Most remarkable element present is flourine.

On all parts of teeth there is a mucous coating of various thickness which is known as dental plaque.  Plaque is considered as prime cause of dental caries.  Plaque contains protein, carbohydrates and other  minerals and 82% water.

Calculus is crystalline deposit which has its origin from Plaque.  The formation of dental caries and Calculus is inter related.

Following are the minimum requirement of a dentifrice :
1.  It should clean teeth adequately i.e. food debris, plaque and stains.
2.  It should leave mouth fresh and clean sensation.
3.  It should be harmless, pleasant and convenient for use.
4.  It should induce users for repetitive use everyday.

Function of tooth paste are as below.
1.  Keeps the surface of teeth as clean and shiny as possible.
2.  Counteract the formation of unpleasant odour.
3.  Prevent dental caries and gum diseases.

Following are the Constituents of tooth paste.
1. Abrasives & Polishing agents
Dicalcium Phosphate and Calcium Carbonate are commonly used abrasives.  Other items Aluminium Hydroxide Silica, Calcium Sulphate, tricalcium phosphate etc. are also used.

Each of these abrasives has different degree abrasive power.  The formulator usually combines a judicious mixture to achieve desired abrasive power.  Tooth pastes consist of 30 to 60% of abrasive materials.

The particle size of abrasive material has to be carefully monitored-otherwise the sharp edged particle can damage dental enamel.

2. Binders
Hydrophilic Colloids which increase viscosity which prevents liquid from separating from the paste are used as binders. Carboxy Methyl Cellulose, Methyl Cellulose Alginates or Carrageenans are used. These mucilages are thixotropic and maintain consistent viscosity under great temperature fluctuations.

3. Humectants
Glycerol, Sorbitol are commonly used humectant.  These ingredients achieve desired consistency to the paste.

4. Sweeteners
Sodium Cyclamate and Saccharin are commonly used sweeteners.  Approximate level is around 0.1%.

5. Foaming agents
Dioctyl Sulpho succinate and Sodium lauryl Sulphate are commonly used foaming agents (0.2 to 2% level).  Sodium Lauryl Sarsosinate is another foaming agent.

6. Flavours
Flavours play important part of success of tooth paste.  Peppermint oil, spear mint oil are commonly used along with other flavour.  Stability of flavour over a period of time is very essential.

7. Preservatives
Esters of para hydroxy benzoate are quite effective as preservatives.  Ethyl and Methyl parahydroxy Benzoate are used at 0.1% level,which are now currently being replaced.

8. Water
Purified water is adequate for common tooth paste manufacture.

9. Speciality additives
The additives which prevent dental caries like Sodium flouride, Sodium lauryl Sarcosinates, Disodium Mono Flouro phosphate used compounds antibiotics, stannous choride etc. are used in special grades of tooth paste.

10. Manufacturing Process
Manufacture of tooth paste is normally done under vacuum conditions.  Water, Sorbitol etc. are loaded initially.  The water soluble ingredients are dissolved and thickening agents are dispersed under homogeniser type of stirring arrangement.  The powder materials are loaded into performed mucilage and mixed under homogeniser.  Colour and perfumes are added subsequently.  Entire operation is done preferably at room temperature.  In certain kind of tooth paste it is processed at higher temperature.  Mixing, Grinding, deaeration is the main process followed.

The finished tooth paste is filled in aluminium or collapsible plastic tubes or pumps.

11. Quality Control of tooth paste
Quality Control of tooth paste will involve determination pH, Viscosity and test for homogeneous structure.

Performance characteristics like sensability from brush, uniformity of flavour,polishing effect,  Detergent effect, squeezability from tube etc. are also checked.

These are the original, the simplest and cheapest compounded form of dentifrice.  Formulation problems are not as severe since interaction between components is unlikely in the absence of water.  Fluorides and oxidising agents are likely to retain their effective concentration longer than they would do in a paste formulation.  Ingredients of tooth powders should be such that they are of fairly uniform size so as to prevent separation on shaking and caking on storage. Ingredients are basically same as toothpaste.  The manufacture of powders is very simple.  The sweetness and flavour, together with a little alcohol if desired, are made into a pre-mix concentrate with part of abrasive powder.  This is then mixed with rest of the powders in a conventional powder mixer. There are few very effective toothpowder in the market.

It is essentially a soap in which the abrasive powder is mixed.  The proportion of soap may vary from about 10 to 30% depending upon the glycerine content and hardness desired.

The toothbrush and mechanism of toothbrushing play an important part in oral Hygiene. Toothbrushes available today employ nylon bristles with a plastic handle. It varies in bristle texture, bristle length, number of bristles per tufts, Number of tufts, angle of tufts to the brush head, row of tufts, uniformity of bristle length, angle of head relative to handle flexibility of handle etc.   

Surveys of toothbrushing habits show that 60% adults claim to brush their teeth twice a day and on the whole women are more conscientious than men for oral hygiene.  Whereas statistics of Tooth paste seller give different picture that a large no. of people either do not brush their teeth at all or do it rarely. Most brushes, if used properly have some effect in improving oral hygiene.

These are marketed either in powder or tablet form or as liquid.  Though the solid product may differ widely in composition, they comprise essentially of an oxidising agent, an electrolyte and an alkali.

The oxidising agent used is normally Sodium Perborate or Sodium Percarbonate, though Hypochlorites, Persulphates have been used.

Liquid products are normally dilute solutions of Sodium Hypochlorite to which additional Sodium Chloride may be added.  Such solutions of course lose some of their available Chlorine over time.

The inclusion of Proteolytic and amylolytic enzymes in denture cleansers has been reported.

Mouthwashes are of three types:
1.  Antibacterial which deal with the bacterial population of mouth.
2.  FLUORIDE which help to reinforce the fluoride layer of the enamel of teeth and
Remineralising help to repair early carious Lesions.

These products are expected to give a healthier and fresher mouth and to provide some assurance of good breath odour. The total effect exerted by Mouthwash is a combination of three factors :
a) The mechanical effect of rinsing food debris from the mouth.
b) The effect of the antibacterial agent on the oral flora and
c) The effect of flavour present.

Since many flavouring substances have an antibacterial effect thus there may be synergism between (b) and (c).

Antibacterial agents used in mouthwashes includes Phenols, Thymols, Tannic Acid, Chlorinated Thymols, Hexa Chlorophene and quaternary Ammonium compounds.  At times, Alum and Zinc salts are used to give Astringent effect.

An essential feature of a good mouthwash is its flavour, since the consumer must be aware of the freshness of the mouth after use. Oil of winter green, peppermint, menthol, eugenol etc. are commonly used flavours and all leave the mouth with a feeling of freshness.

It is a development of aerosol products. They are used for refreshing the breath after eating, drinking or smoking and usually contain only flavouring agent though antibacterial could be added. Advantage is that a metered dose is only dispensed thereby reducing the loss of product.

Oral Care market has shown healthy growth as consumer is evolving. In India there are many players in this segment. Most dominant are Colgate, HUL, P&G, GSK, Dabur etc. There are few local players too in the market.

Almost one third of Indian population does not have access to any of the modern oral facilities, making it lucrative prospect market for the leading players. Per capita consumption of oral care products are very low compared to even China

India is considered to be one of the preeminent locations for the business in the oral care products as the Indian oral care industry is still in its nascent stage and thus poses high growth opportunities in the premiumisation of oral care solutions.


SUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE/PROJECT AT editor-in-chief@pharmatutor.org

Subscribe to Pharmatutor Alerts by Email