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Interactions between toothbrush and toothpaste particles during simulated abrasive cleaning

By R. Lewis and R.S. Dwyer-Joyce


Most people clean their teeth using toothpaste, consisting of abrasive particles in a carrier fluid, and a filament based toothbrush to remove plaque and stain. In order to optimise cleaning efficiency it is important to understand how toothbrush filaments, abrasive particles and fluid interact in a tooth cleaning contact.\ud \ud Work has been carried out to visualise, simulate, and model the processes in teeth cleaning. Laboratory cleaning contacts were created between a toothbrush and a transparent surface. Video and short duration flash photography were used to study the processes by which a toothbrush traps abrasive particles, loads them against the counterface, and removes material. Small abrasive particles tend to be trapped at the contact between the filament tip and the counterface, whilst larger particles are trapped by clumps of filaments or at the contact with the side of a bent filament.\ud \ud \ud Measurements of brush friction force were recorded during cleaning for a range of operating conditions. The presence of abrasive particles in the cleaning mixture increased the coefficient of friction, but the absolute particle concentration showed a lesser effect. It is surmised that only a few particles carry any load and cause any abrasion; increasing the particle concentration does not directly increase the number of load bearing particles.\ud Abrasive scratch tests were also carried out, using PMMA as a wearing substrate. The scratches produced during these tests were studied. The microscopy images were used to deduce how the filaments deflect and drag, and how particles are trapped by filaments and scratch the surface. Again, it was observed that few of the brush filaments loaded particles to produce scratches, and that when a filament changes direction of travel the trapped particle is lost.\ud \ud \ud Results of these studies were used to develop both qualitative and quantitative models of the process by which material is removed in teeth cleaning. The quantitative model contains, by necessity, several empirical factors, but nonetheless predictions compare well with in vitro wear results from the literature. The results were also used to draw some broad conclusions on appropriate brushing techniques for optimum tooth cleaning.\u

Publisher: Professional Engineering Publishing
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:

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