MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: What sort of bacteriocide do I use for toothpaste??

Date: Thu Jul 15 17:42:50 1999
Posted By: Tinsley Davis, Grad student, Microbiology, University of Wisconsin Madison
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 930017283.Me

Hi Emily!
	Way to go for trying experiments!  Brushing your teeth is 
definitely an important activity, and there are many toothpastes on 
the market that advertise different special effects.  You've probably 
noticed that many are claiming to produce whiter teeth.  Others 
propose to help fight ginigivitis, an  inflammation of the gums that 
occurs when bacteria that live in the mouth get out of hand.
	In 1997, Colgate became the first toothpaste manufacturer 
that could legally claim their product helped prevent gingivitis 
through bactericidal activity (or bacteria killing).  Their special 
ingredient is Triclosan, an antibiotic also found in soaps and 
detergents that claim antibacterial activity.  However, the simple 
act of proper brushing  with a basic fluoride toothpaste goes a long 
way in getting rid of bacteria by cleaning the crevices where they 
like to hide and strengthening tooth enamel.
	You asked what bacteriocide would be proper for your homemade 
toothpaste.  Bacteriocides used by companies that make toothpastes 
are not availabe to the average consumer because these bacteriocides 
are considered chemicals and require very special handling.    I have 
included links to several websites below that may help you in your 
quest to experiment with toothpaste.

Here's a site that explains the ingredients in toothpaste and offers 
a simple recipe:

An article on how Triclosan works in toothpaste:

Good luck and have fun!

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