Crabshell toothpaste to combat decay

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Oral hygiene

Toothpaste made from the chitosan in crab shells may reduce dental
infections according to British researchers who hope to see the
product on sale in a year's time.

Toothpaste made from crab shells may reduce dental infections according to British researchers who hope to see the product on sale in a year's time, reported BBC Online.

The new toothpaste contains chitosan particles, derived from the chitin in crab and beetle shells. The sticky substance lodges around parts of the teeth and gums where bacteria grow and cause gum disease and tooth decay. When water breaks down the chitosan, the antimicrobial chemical triclosan is released, killing bacteria.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in England mixed the chitosan particles into a glycerol base, the basis of toothpaste, said the report.

They also had to solve the problem of how to get triclosan, which is not water soluble, into the particles making sure they were the right size.

If they were too big, the toothpaste would feel gritty, and if they were too small, they would not contain enough of the drug, said the BBC.

Laboratory tests have shown the particles can stick to tissue for up to two hours but the team hopes to increase this to 24 hours.

Developer of the toothpaste, Dr John Smart, presented his research at the British Pharmaceutical Conference​ in Manchester, UK.

He said: "The idea was to find some way to keep the therapeutic agent in the oral cavity for longer. People are not particularly keen on gels, and mouthwashes don't stay in the mouth for very long. But everyone uses toothpaste."

Researchers have not yet added fluoride or flavouring to their basic toothpaste.

Related topics: Research

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