Stain removal from teeth is important both to prevent decay and for appearance. This is usually achieved using a filament-based toothbrush with a toothpaste consisting of abrasive particles in a carrier fluid. This work has been carried out to examine how these abrasive particles interact with the filaments and cause material removal from a stain layer on the surface of a tooth. It is important to understand this mechanism as while maximum cleaning efficiency is required, this must not be accompanied by damage to the enamel or dentine substrate. In this work simple abrasive scratch tests were used to investigate stain removal mechanism of two abrasive particles commonly used in tooth cleaning, silica and perlite. Silica particles are granular in shape and very different to perlite particles, which are flat and have thicknesses many times smaller than their width. Initially visualisation studies were carried out with perlite particles to study how they are entrained into a filament/counterface contact. Results were compared with previous studies using silica. Reciprocating scratch tests were then run to study how many filaments have a particle trapped at one moment and are involved in the cleaning process. Stain removal tests were then carried out in a similar manner to establish cleaning rates with the two particle types. Perlite particles were found to be less abrasive than silica. This was because of their shape and how they were entrained into the filament contacts and loaded against a counterface. With both particles subsurface damage during stain removal was found to be minimal. A simple model was built to predict stain removal rates with silica particles, which gave results that correlated well with the experimental data
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