Founder’s version: Why you should stop using your toothpaste and switch to toothpowder.

Founder’s version: Why you should stop using your toothpaste and switch to toothpowder.

(note: the following is the founder's version on why one human being on planet earth should choose a toothpowder as their primary form of dentifrice, over a toothpaste. Alternatively, here is the link to an AI version of the following)

 

 

In my childhood, my elder brother and I would get asked by mother to go up to the corner kirana store and buy some groceries and necessities for the house. My brother would speak to the store uncle and I would stand next to him day dreaming, while observing the various products, colors, patterns and movements in & around the store. On one of these occasions, the sachets and single-use packages hung over a thread caught my eye, so I asked my brother about their use? He told me how the single-use products was useful for a country like Indian population and its economy. I saw many products packed in single-use packs, like: coffee, tea, detergent, bournvita, tobacco, crisps, toothpaste, etc. However, I would never find a mouthwash packed in a single-use pack. I wondered why? I asked my brother, he didn’t have an answer. I told him that we should start a company that makes single-use mouthwash packets. I was 12 and he was 16, and rightfully he ridiculed and said “okay, lets go home now”. It is important to note here that this was purely an observation and not some groundbreaking discovery. But, the idea persisted…

Cut to 23 years of age, I was privileged enough to go to the city of London to do my masters in pharmaceutical formulation. Here, I had the opportunity to explore my idea of “mouthwash sachets” as part of a project for the subject “business for bioscience”. At the time of submitting the project proposal, due to lack of ideas for the project, the mouthwash-sachet idea was submitted. Post the approval, I worked on it diligently and even ended up scoring a distinction. I usually don’t belong to the distinction category, so I was proud of myself. At the time of final thesis, again due to lack of ideas, I submitted the same topic and received an approval again, but for a much more in-depth work on mouthwash-sachet idea. Got a distinction again. Its quite funny if I think about all this at my current age of 29.

I got done with my masters and came back to India upon my family’s interest to join the family business. I worked with my brother and father for about a year, bought some much needed changes and eventually got bored. I proposed to my family that I would no-longer continue working with them, and I would like to pursue something else on my own; not knowing what. I obviously received resistance and backlash, but I still persevered. I thought to myself for long hours on what can I work on? I didn’t have many ideas to be honest. So, I prepared a pitch for the family (mostly my father) and convinced them that I would like to launch my own “mouthwash-sachet brand”. It was literally my only business idea. I got the much-needed approval and I think I got it only because my father had a good day at the office. Otherwise, on a bad day, an experienced business man like my father would never approve of such an idea.

Post the approval, I opened my laptop first day at my office (my bed room) and was absolutely clueless as to what to do. NIL. NOTHING. I know the title is ‘Why you should stop using your toothpaste and switch to toothpowder’ and you must be wondering what this story has to do with the title…

I started researching on how to go about starting a business, formulating a mouthwash, branding, markets, raising funds etc. I slowly but steadily fell in love with research. Day and night I would just go on and on researching and entering various rabbit holes in the field of oral hygiene and microbiome. Sometimes the wrong holes as well. All my research would be directed towards building a mouthwash-sachet product. Through my research, I had understood that human beings’ oral cavity undergo a state of dysbiosis across a 24-hour day cycle. This is due to human beings consuming food, the oral microorganisms thriving on left over food particles and eventually forming an acidic oral environment. So, to attain a eubiotic state, there would have to be no food particles leftover in the mouth and maintenance of an alkaline environment in the mouth would be key. I was like great, I’ll formulate a mouthwash and market it to people to use it post their meals. By rinsing one’s mouth post meals, the tiny food particles would have gotten rid off the mouth and an alkaline state of oral cavity would be achieved.

As part of market research, I ended up putting the current gold-standard mouthwashes (listerine, colgate, etc) in the market to test and was surprised to see all of their pH being below 6. I was shocked. I wondered to myself why are there mouthwash brands who’s acidic levels are so high and far from alkaline, it made no sense to me. It was as if they wanted oral diseases to be promoted. Mouthwashes are not even a primary form of oral care product, they would probably belong to the tertiary category. I thought to myself, if the tertiary form of oral hygiene products are flawed, then how good or bad are the primary oral care products aka toothpaste. I reached a dead-end of sorts. So, I shelved the mouthwash-sachet product building and deeply entered the world of dentifrices.

Reaching the dead-end wall was a bit of bummer, but I found a hammer lying nearby. The hammer being the vision for my research here- “Prevention of dental caries and maintenance of everyday oral hygiene without causing impairment on the human body and health”. So, I took the hammer and broke the wall. I entered the other side of the wall, and there was whole lot going on there.

Dentifrice is defined as a toothpaste or toothpowder used to clean teeth. Toothpaste is a dentifrice that is in the form of a paste and toothpowder is a dentifrice that is in the form of a powder. Now, which is better and why? According to the chronology, toothpowder arrived into the scene way before the arrival of toothpaste. Traditionally, different regions from different parts of the world formed their own local toothpowders from a range of substances like- bones, hoofs, horns of some animals, crabs, oyster, murex, egg shells, charcoal, brick and salt. These materials would be crushed into a fine powder and with the help of one’s index finger, it would be rubbed against the teeth to get rid of the unnecessary dental plaque. With industrialisation and modernisation, for the sake of convenience, there were changes made to convert this powder into a paste. As a result, the formulation was changed and convenience was achieved. This gave birth to toothpaste. However, it seems like the toothpaste makers misread the situation here; the toothpowder as a dosage form has design issues and not formulation issues. When a state of matter is converted from powder to paste, a certain number of non-inert excipients (dumbed down word: ‘ingredients’) are added like fluoride, binders, surfactants, humectants, preservatives etc. Keeping in mind that the oral cavity has many high-absorption sites, all these unnecessary ingredients enter the blood stream. Some of them are filtered out, but some of them remain back in the human body and cause cellular level damage. Cell is the most basic fundamental unit of life, remember that from school? Cells form the foundational building blocks to life and if they are damaged, the foundation of a human body is damaged. And when the foundation of anything is attacked, the whole structure collapses.

An ideal dentifrice should merely act as an intermediate substance between the brush/finger and the teeth, to assist in removing dental plaque that is lodged upon them, neutralising the lactic acids (plaque biofilm) produced by the oral microbiome and gently polishing the teeth. These are the only uses that a dentifrice can or ought to have. The act of teeth cleaning involves a mechanical action + chemical action, which are provided by the toothbrush/finger and dentifrice respectively.  The dentifrice is there to merely reduce the friction between brush/finger and teeth, so as to avoid enamel damage. Hence, an amalgam of lab-synthesised chemicals (some of them known to be neurotoxic) in a toothpaste is absolutely unnecessary. Each toothpaste company is trying to one up each other by adding a “wonder” chemical, when you actually just need some burnt ash.

Replace your toothpaste with Nanjangud Toothpowder #RYTwithNTP

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1 comment

Great article. We are unnecessarily moving towards modern products forgetting the basic need. Realised how tooth powder is such a simple product to clean our teeth. This article is like an eye-opener for me.

Maanasa

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