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Interaction between toothbrushes and toothpaste abrasive particles in simulated tooth cleaning

By R. Lewis, R.S. Dwyer-Joyce and M.J. Pickles


There are currently many toothbrush designs on the market incorporating different\ud filament configurations such as filaments at various angles and different lengths and\ud made from several different materials. In order to understand how the tooth cleaning\ud process occurs there is a need to investigate in detail how the abrasive particles in a\ud toothpaste interact with the filaments in a teeth cleaning contact and cause material\ud removal from a plaque or stain layer.\ud \ud \ud The following describes the development of optical apparatus to enable the\ud visualisation of simulated teeth cleaning contacts. Studies have been carried out using\ud the apparatus to investigate particle entrainment into the contact and how it differs\ud with varying bristle configurations. The effects of filament stiffness and tip shape\ud were also investigated. Various types of electric toothbrushes were also tested.\ud \ud \ud The studies have shown how particles are trapped at the tips of toothbrush filaments.\ud Particles, suspended in fluid, approach the filament tips, as they pass through they\ud may become trapped. Greater particle entrainment into the filament tip contact occurs\ud with a reciprocating action at low filament loads and deflections than with a sliding\ud motion. Large particles are less likely to enter tip contacts and are trapped between\ud tips or under the filament bend at higher loads.\ud \ud \ud Whether the particles are likely to be trapped and how long they remain so depends\ud on the filament stiffness and degree of splay on loading and the filament\ud configuration. The direction the filaments point in, the number of filaments in a tuft,\ud the spacing of the tufts and the way the filaments splay when deflected all have an\ud influence on entrainment of particles. Tufts with tightly packed stiff filaments which\ud deflected together on loading were more effective at trapping particles than more flexible filaments that splayed out on loading as they present more of a barrier to\ud particle entry and exit from the tip region

Year: 2004
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