|MadSci Network: Medicine|
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: http://www.earthsciweek.org/forteachers/pastetaste_cont.html An article on how Triclosan works in toothpaste: http://www.pharminfo.com/pubs/msb/triclos240.html Good luck and have fun! -Tinsley
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