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Oral hygiene – toothpastes part 1.

Oral hygiene – toothpastes part 1.

A beautiful smile is essential, so toothpastes are crucial in daily oral hygiene. Systematic care of the oral cavity ensures the maintenance of its proper condition. Ingredients found in toothpastes support the cleansing effect of mechanical removal of all plaque. According to many studies, proper oral hygiene not only contributes to good oral health, but can also affect our entire body. Today we can find a wide range of toothpastes on the market, so there is always a great choice a toothpastes to suit our needs.


Function and action of toothpaste

Toothpaste can come in the form of classic paste, gel or, less frequently, powder or capsules. Depending on the type, it is characterized by a more or less abrasive formula. Toothpastes include various colors and flavors. The paste includes a group of many ingredients with properties that promote oral hygiene. Although recent years have represented an intensive development of oral care cosmetic products, and now on the market you will find a whole cross-section of such products, the basic functions of all toothpastes are:

– cleaning the teeth and mouth of all impurities;

– preventing the formation and accumulation of plaque, dental plaque – biofilm and tartar;

– providing fresh breath;

– protection against caries;

– helping to maintain the natural whiteness of teeth;

Regular oral hygiene with toothpaste reduces the growth of bacteria in the mouth by minimizing the formation of biofilm. Biofilm is a plaque, formed by a resident cluster of bacteria in the mouth, which are surrounded by a layer of organic and inorganic substances. It is found in everyone, covering both teeth, gums and tongue. This biofilm is known as bacterial/dental plaque. It is produced by the layered growth of microorganisms that adhere to each other. The bacteria that form this structure metabolize sugars, supplied with food, which consequently leads to the formation of acids that negatively affect enamel. Moreover, in the absence of successive removal of plaque, it transforms into tartar due to absorption of mineral compounds contained in saliva, undergoing calcification. The resulting tartar is much more difficult to remove than plaque. Daily oral hygiene with toothpaste also helps remove plaque. Dental plaque is nothing more than discoloration on the surface of teeth of external origin, which is caused by the deposition of food dyes on the enamel, for example: due to frequent drinking of coffee or tea.

Oral hygiene with toothpaste also helps keep our teeth naturally white for longer. Although consumers today strive for the highest possible whiteness of teeth and an aesthetically pleasing smile, it should be remembered that the natural whiteness of our teeth is mainly influenced by genetics (the color of the dentin and surrounding enamel is responsible for the shade), as well as lifestyle. In addition, to a large extent, the accumulation of plaque, any deposits or tartar on the surface of the teeth, with improper and irregular oral hygiene, make the teeth lose their shine and turn a darker shade. Thanks to systematic hygiene, in fact, we remove all impurities and plaque from the surface of the teeth, thus helping to maintain the natural whiteness of our teeth and a beautiful smile. In addition to abrasive/polishing substances, which are responsible for the mechanical removal of deposits and plaque, toothpastes are often enriched with additional whitening ingredients, such as: activated charcoal, peroxides and enzymes.

Another primary function of toothpaste is to provide fresh breath from the mouth. Unpleasant odor is caused by compounds released in the process of metabolism, primarily volatile sulfur compounds produced by bacteria – mainly Gram-negative. Unpleasant odor can be caused by, for example: improper diet or, in most cases, inadequate oral hygiene. Toothpastes, thanks to the content of abrasive substances, cleaning substances, plant extracts and extracts, essential oils and aromas and other active ingredients, can effectively help remove, reduce or neutralize unpleasant odor from the mouth while providing fresh breath. One of the most commonly used ingredients for this purpose, for example, are zinc compounds, which effectively neutralize sulfur compounds.

Toothpaste is also used to prevent the development of tooth decay, which is caused by acids, which, as already mentioned, are a product of the metabolism of bacteria in plaque. The most common ingredients in oral hygiene products for caries prevention are fluoride compounds. Fluoride in toothpastes can be found as sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, stannous fluoride or aminofluoride. Sodium fluoride in the mouth easily dissociates to the active form (F-) being well absorbed by enamel. The maximum permissible concentration of fluoride in cosmetic products on the European Union market is 0.15% – 1500 ppm, while in pastes for children about 600 ppm is recommended. The activity of fluorine compounds is based on: weakening enamel demineralization, promoting remineralization processes and inhibiting the metabolism of plaque bacteria. Fluoride builds into the structure of enamel, which is made of hydroxyapatite that protects teeth from external factors. During the reaction, hydroxide ions are replaced by fluoride ions in the hydroxyapatite crystals:


Oral hygiene – toothpastes part 1.

This exchange reaction results in the formation of fluoroapatite, which has greater resistance to acids (less soluble in acids) and higher crystalline stability. The crystalline structure of enamel loses its stability as a result of the acidic pH in the oral cavity and depends on the concentrations of calcium and phosphate ions contained in saliva. The acid-base balance in the oral cavity is constantly changing, with a decrease in pH to 4.5 – 5.5 the process of damage to the crystalline structure of enamel begins (demineralization), where calcium and phosphate ions pass into the external environment. Thus, an important mechanism of action of fluoride is the remineralization of enamel, which involves facilitating the introduction of lost minerals into the enamel layer and repairing the damage that has occurred due to acids. In addition, fluoride blocks the bacterial enzyme, enolase, resulting in the disruption of sugar metabolism and the production of acids responsible for demineralization.


An interesting alternative to fluoride is the use of hydroxyapatite (INCI: Hydroxyapatite) in toothpastes, which, as already mentioned, is the main building block of enamel – it regenerates it, strengthens teeth and has a remineralizing effect. Another alternative, however, is calcium glycerophosphate (INCI: Calcium Glycerophosphate). As confirmed by research, this ingredient, even in very low concentrations, significantly affects the remineralization of enamel, is a source of calcium and phosphorus, exhibits a buffering effect, thanks to which it neutralizes the acid reaction in the oral cavity protecting teeth from the action of acids, and counteracts the formation of plaque.



This is why oral hygiene is extremely important. Removing, first of all, mechanically from the surface of the teeth and gums all deposits and impurities, oral care products provide fresh breath and long-term protection against tartar buildup, loss of natural whiteness of teeth and strengthen enamel.



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