Does Your Toothpaste Harden Over Time?

Trusted Health Products

Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

Researchers from the University of Delaware and Ecole des Ponts and University Paris-Est in France have discovered a process called contact-controlled aging that explains some age-related changes in toothpaste materials. They found that contacts form between particles. They stabilize the microstructure of these materials and then those contacts stiffen thereby increasing the stiffness of the materials.

The study - published in the journal Nature Materials - has some broad-ranging implications because there are a lot of types of problems where this type of contact aging may be really important.

Toothpaste Materials

Many toothpaste materials - known as dense colloidal suspensions - stiffen as they age. Changes in the loads the materials undergo over time are partly responsible, but for decades experts have suspected that there’s more going on inside these materials.

By understanding how materials age, the people who use them can design better ways to predict and lessen unwanted changes in materials performance. The experiments closely tie the chemistry of the particle surfaces, which can be tailored by chemical reactions or with additives like surfactants and polymers, to the bulk material properties.

“When people think about aging in materials and the mechanical properties of materials as they age, especially in rheology or the study of how things flow, this mechanism has been overshadowed by changes in the organization, or microstructure, of the material,” says Eric Furst, University of Delaware chemical and biomolecular engineering professor and chair.  

Aging Process Of Toothpaste Materials

A variety of methods were used to explore aging in silica and polymer latex suspensions. Initial experiments showed that the microstructure of the materials does not change over time so if the particles don’t change positions, then something must be happening between them.

Laser tweezer experiments and the study of the stiffness of bonds in the silica and latex materials under investigation were conducted. These experiments enabled the discovery of contact aging. Additional experiments suggested genericity – meaning that the results are likely to apply to a wide variety of dense colloidal suspensions.

A wide range of industries could benefit from understanding the aging process of materials of this type, which includes cements, clays, soils, inks, paints, and more.

Toothpaste materials and antibiotic resistance

Antimicrobial resistance has become a major threat to public health globally with approximately 700,000 people a year dying from antimicrobial-resistant infections. The Review On Antimicrobial Resistance report predicted this will reach 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if no action is taken now.

A common ingredient in toothpaste and hand wash could be contributing to antibiotic resistance, according to University of Queensland research. A study led by Dr. Jianhua Guo from UQ's Advanced Water Management Centre focused on triclosan, a compound used in more than 2,000 personal care products.

Triclosan and other chemicals in toothpaste materials

While it was well-known the overuse and misuse of antibiotics could create superbugs, researchers were unaware that other chemicals could also induce antibiotic resistance until now.

Wastewater from residential areas has similar or even higher levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes compared to hospitals, where you would expect greater antibiotic concentrations.

"We then wondered whether non-antibiotic, antimicrobial (NAAM) chemicals such as triclosan can directly induce antibiotic resistance," Guo says. "These chemicals are used in much larger quantities at an everyday level, so you end up with high residual levels in the wider environment, which can induce multi-drug resistance.

"This discovery provides strong evidence that the triclosan found in personal care products that we use daily is accelerating the spread of antibiotic resistance."

This discovery should be a wake-up call to re-evaluate the potential impact of such chemicals. "While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of triclosan in antibacterial soap, the previous lack of unequivocal evidence prevented such a policy being adopted in other countries," says Professor Zhiguo Yuan, Advanced Water Management Centre Director.

Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tipsnatural healthoral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list

Written By:

With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay 

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