Tooth pastes are viscoelastic products well known in everyday life. Its main components are abrasives, moisture agents, binding agents, surfactants, sweeteners, preservatives, artificial colouring, flavours and special active ingredients.
As abrasives, often hydroxides, carbonates, phosphates or silicates are used which are to support the mechanical cleaning effect of the tooth brush. Moisture agents like glycerin, sorbit, lignite or polyethylenglycols prevent a drying out of the tooth paste. At the same time, they increase the low temperature stability and have a texture building effect.
Binding and thickening agents give the tooth paste its desired texture and prevent a phase separation between fluid and solid. Hydrocolloids like Alginate, Carrageenan, Methylcellulose or Xanthan are mainly used as binding agents. A frequently used thickening agent is high-disperse silicium dioxide or Bentonite.
Surfactants decrease the surface tension thus improving the even distribution of the tooth paste in the mouth. In dental care only tasteless, nontoxic anion surfactants are suitable like e.g. sodium lauryl sulfate, or coconut aliphatic monoglyceride sulfonate.
Sweeteners as well as the flavours serve as taste correctives. Preservatives are necessary as protection from microbial decomposition. Colours and pigments are finally used for the coloring of striped tooth pastes. Besides this, there may be active ingredients as protection from caries or for the care of the gums or pain sensitive teeth.
How is tooth paste produced?
The production of tooth paste is either done batch-wise in a vacuum mixer or in continuous production processes. In the continuous production 5 different process steps can be differentiated: gel production, metering of liquid components, metering of solids, mixing process as well as homogenisation and ventilation.