“Dirty mouth? Clean it up!” So say the Orbit gum commercials, complete with an old-time flight attendant advertising the perks of chewing. But for those whom twice a day brushing will do just fine, there’s a promising new chemical on the market to help your pearly whites stay that way.
Most toothpastes contain fluoride to prevent cavities, but General Dentistry published a study last week showing triclosan (an antibacterial and antifungal agent) along with a copolymer was better at killing those hundreds of bacteria living in your mouth. While the triclosan/copolymer toothpaste was not tested on humans, some lucky researchers did use the compound on bacteria collected from the mouth of human volunteers.
In studies, triclosan helped prevent plaque and gingivitis while the copolymer boosted the staying power of triclosan in the mouth. The longer-lasting power of the new germ-fighters is especially exciting for those of us who have been stuck in close quarters with those suffering from halitosis.
Interestingly, this was not the first study done on the triclosan/copolymer compound, as a study in 2004 also found it to be effective at slowing periodontal disease. And the founder of the study? Colgate itself, whose Total Advanced Clean toothpaste boasts the addition of triclosan and a copolymer.
So whether you’re reaching for Colgate, Aquafresh, or Crest, you can be rest assured scientists are looking for a way to keep the 80% of Americans who are afraid of the dentist leaving the office with a clean report.