Toothpaste formulation efficacy in reducing oral flora

  • J Okpalugo
  • K Ibrahim
  • US Inyang
Keywords: Tooth bacteria, Oral bacteria, Triclosan, Toothpaste, Fluoride, Natural toothpaste


Purpose: To assess the microbial quality as well as the effectiveness of seven brands of toothpaste marketed in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, for reducing oral bacterial flora. Methods: Seven brands of toothpaste were randomly purchased from the open market in Abuja. Two brands contained triclosan + sodium fluoride as antibacterial, four contained sodium fluoride only and one was herbal. Each of the toothpaste products was assessed in duplicate for microbial safety based on growth on nutrient agar and broth. Also, eight volunteers were enrolled who used a toothpaste brand 12hourly on three consecutive occasions as the only source of oral hygiene, and then switched over to another brand. Mouth swaps and saliva before and after brushing was taken, plated by the pour plate technique, incubated at 37°C and then counted on nutrient agar after 24 h. Percentage bacterial reduction was calculated from the difference in bacterial counts before and after brushing. Results: All the toothpaste brands were sterile. 71% of the toothpaste brands were found to significantly (p=0.068) increase saliva bacteria counts. No brand of toothpaste removed teeth bacteria by up to 50%. On average, the two triclosan-containing toothpaste brands exerted a greater reduction in mouth bacteria than non-triclosan toothpaste brands. This was followed by the herbal toothpaste. The toothpaste brands that contained only fluoride were the least effective in reducing mouth bacteria. Conclusion: The results from our study indicate the need for further research into the possible value of toothpaste for reducing oral bacterial flora.

Keywords: Tooth bacteria, Oral bacteria, Triclosan, Toothpaste, Fluoride, Natural toothpaste

Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research Vol. 8 (1) 2009: pp. 71-77

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996