Ever wonder what those little blue particles are in some toothpastes? One of our scientists did, and started to investigate their effects on teeth brushing. Known as microbeads or microplastics, these blue particles are usually polyethylene or polypropylene. They are commonly included as exfoliants in face cleansers, and may be added to toothpaste for visual effects.
CPG researcher Lucas Rossier performed a bench top study comparing enamel wear using toothpastes with and without microbeads. A model enamel substrate was used in place of an actual tooth surface. Through optical and electron microscopy, Rossier showed greater scratching and abrasive wear in the toothpaste containing microbeads. Although the results may not be directly comparable to actual tooth enamel wear, they do demonstrate that the microparticles have an abrasive effect that is greater than the toothpaste alone.
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