CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF TOOTHPASTE
The ingredients of toothpaste, when used in tandem with tooth brushing, aid in oral hygiene goals such as plaque removal, decay resistance, promotion of remineralization, tooth cleansing and polishing, tooth stain removal, and breath freshening. The solid phase of the paste (a blend of agents) is typically suspended in a polyalcohol (e.g., aqueous glycerol or sorbitol) via a suspending agent. Also called dentifrice, toothpaste is composed of the following cleaning ingredients (in approximate volume percentages):
• humectant and water, 40 to 70
• buffers/salts/tartar control, 0.5 to 10
• organic thickeners, 0 to 12
• abrasives, 10 to 50
• actives (e.g., triclosan), 0.2 to 1.5
• surfactants, 0.5 to 2
• flavor and sweeteners, 0.8 to 1.5
• fluoride, 0.24
Detergents and Abrasives
The two major ingredients are the detergents and abrasives. Detergents create the foaming action we associate with brushing with toothpaste, aiding in the retention of toothpaste within the mouth. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent used in nearly all toothpastes to clean the surface of the teeth by acting as such a foaming agent. Detergents loosen food particles and other debris and aid in the movement of the abrasive across the gums and teeth surface.
An abrasive typically consists of hard, very fine insoluble particles that act as scrubbing agents to remove stains and plaque as well as polish teeth. Nearly all modern toothpaste contains mildly abrasive hydrated silica particles (e.g., orthosilicic acid and disilicic acid). Other abrasive agents incorporated include calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, and alumina trihydrate. The level of abrasivity is of paramount concern because the tooth-paste must be abrasive enough to help remove stains and dental plaque without damaging tooth surfaces.
Humectants Add Texture
Humectants provide toothpaste texture as well as moisture retention properties. Glycerin, sorbitol, and water are common humectants. Xylitol is an uncommon but superior humectant that has also been shown to enhance the anticavity action of fluoride.
Thickeners also help create the texture of toothpaste and include agents such as carrageenan, cellulose gum, and xanthan gum.
Flavoring agents and sweeteners (e.g., sodium saccharin) improve the taste of toothpaste, while coloring agents (e.g., titanium dioxide, white color) provide toothpaste with agreeable colors.
In addition, toothpaste may also contain preservatives (e.g., sodium benzoate, methylparaben, ethylparaben) that prevent the growth of microorganisms, thus eliminating the need for refrigeration.
History of Toothpaste
The development of toothpaste began as long ago as 300/500 BC in ancient countries of China and India. During the years 3000/5000 BC, Egyptians made toothpaste from powdered ashes of hooves of oxen, myrrh, powdered and burned eggshells, and pumice. In AD 1000, Persians added burnt shells of snails and oysters along with gypsum. In eighteenth century England, a tooth-cleansing “powder” containing borax was marketed in ceramic pots. By World War II, toothpaste was marketed in laminated tubes.
Introduction of Fluoride
In the 1950s, the scientific research findings that fluoride treatment led to dramatic reductions in dental cavities resulted in the widespread introduction of fluoride into toothpaste. Many toothpastes are currently fluoridated with three compounds (e.g., sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, and stannous fluoride) to give greater protection against tooth decay. Saliva serves as a reservoir for calcium and phosphate, which along with fluoride remineralizes tooth enamel. The human mouth may contain more than 500 types of microorganisms, including aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and fungi.
What About Plague?
Nearly immediately after a tooth cleansing, the teeth may be coated with a thin film (pellicle) derived mainly from saliva containing polysaccharides, fats, and proteins. The pellicle may be colonized by bacteria, and thisforms a gel-like substance called plaque. The plaque provides a scaffold for bacteria to grow and metabolize carbohydrates, producing organic acids that may demineralize tooth enamel and underlying dentin, eventually forming dental caries (cavities). Normal tooth enamel contains hydroxyapatite [Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2]. An exchange reaction occurs in the presence of fluoride ion to form fluoroapatite [Ca10(PO4)6F2], which is much more resistant to enamel-destroying acids produced by carbohydratemetabolizing bacteria.
Some toothpastes contain ingredients (e.g., triclosan, xylitol, and stannous fluoride) that act as antimicrobial agents, chemically hindering the growth of plaque and gingivitis (gum inflammation)-causing bacteria.
Inhibiting Tartar Growth
Recent improvements in toothpastes involve tartar (calculus) control. Tartar (mainly calcium phosphate [Ca3(PO4)2•H2O]) deposits on teeth as plaque hardens and can only be removed mechanically by a dental professional. Thus, tartar control toothpastes containing such active ingredients as sodium or potassium pyrophosphate (Na4P2O7) only slow the formation of tartar by inhibiting particular bacterial enzymes.
Baking Soda Added
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate [NaHCO3]) is often added to toothpastes to act as a mild abrasive and to neutralize oral acids originating from the decomposition of food materials.
Some desensitizing toothpastes may work to minimize the pain of tooth hypersensitivity when hot or cold foods are ingested. Two effective ingredients in treating sensitive teeth and gums are strontium chloride (SrCl2) and potassium nitrate (KNO3), which block the sensation of pain via nerve transmission from such teeth to the central nervous system.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF EVERYDAY PRODUCTS by John Toedt, Darrell Koza, and Kathleen Van Cleef-Toedt
Now, my question is—do these ingredients of toothpaste not hamper the action of Homoeopathic remedies?
It is well known by now that the health of the mouth indicates the health of the living organism. The beginning of digestion and the immune system begin with this organ. The foods we ingest contain spiritual energy as well as nutritional energy. We use our mouth to speak, communicate, taste, touch, sing, make sounds, chew, ruminate and much more. When receiving chemotherapy ulcers appear in the mouth, the tooth enamel deteriorates, it becomes difficult to swallow, the skin dries and cracks, inflammation increases, and many other symptoms.
Cancer & Homeopathy by Dr Jean-Lionel Bagot
The treatment of cancer has made enormous progress in recent years, yet sufferers frequently have to endure numerous side effects, taking a serious toll on their quality of life.
Dr Jean-Lionel Bagot and his team in Strasbourg have been very successful in treating the various side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and hormone therapy for many years. With homeopathy as supplementary treatment, these side effects, as well as other problems resulting from the illness itself, can be noticeably reduced.
In this definitive work Dr Bagot describes systematically and in detail which homeopathic remedies have proved effective for particular side effects – including nausea, sensory disturbances, loss of hair, mouth ulcers during chemotherapy, fatigue and pain after surgery, psychological problems, a weakened immune system, and skin irritation caused by radiotherapy.
Dr Bagot sees four thousand cancer patients a year and therefore has great experience and expertise in this area. His advice is very specific and to the point. For each type of chemotherapy, he offers targeted homeopathic guidelines to combat the side effects of each particular medicine.
Homeopathy is shown to be the perfect complement to conventional treatment. The book is written in an accessible style with user-friendly recommendations. It is an invaluable tool both for patients and for physicians.
”This book is a gold mine of practical advice to deal as well as possible with the toxicity of conventional treatments and to cope with daily life."
Professor Gilles Freyer, Oncologist, Lyon Sud University Teaching Hospital, France.