Move over toothpaste, there’s (potentially) a new oral health product being added to drug store shelves worldwide. As scientists gain further information on the role of pH in our mouths, product developers are taking advantage. According to a recent DrBicuspid.com story, researchers at Stony Brook University school of Dental Medicine and Ortek Therapeutics have developed a chocolate-flavored soft chew that it meant to provide the same natural benefits as saliva.
BasicBites, the sugar-free chews, were developed to help maintain healthy teeth by supporting normal pH levels while coating the teeth with a mineral source. Mitchell Goldberg, president of Ortek Therapeutics, said the company is recommending two chews per day, once in the morning after breakfast and at bedtime after brushing and flossing. According to Israel Kleinberg, DDS, PhD, DSc, professor at Stony Brook, the research team spent decades analyzing and taking apart saliva to fully understand the protective and natural benefits it provides. Kleinberg, considered a pioneer of oral biology in the U.S., is credited with the discovery that the amino acid arginine supports the sustained base or alkali production on the surfaces of the teeth. This understanding led to the foundation of Ortek’s AlkGen Technology in BasicBites, which consists of two main ingredients, arginine bicarbonate and calcium carbonate. They work together to first neutralize the pH state of the mouth and then remineralize, creating a one-two punch of oral health benefits.
This is not the first product to come to market using the combination of these two ingredients. Around the year 2000, it was observed that calcium plugged dental tubules when pH was neutral in the mouth. According to Goldberg, “arginine and calcium had almost an adhesive quality.” This adhesive was used like a prophy paste in several Rx products and was later developed into a fluoride-free dentifrice called DenClude, that ended up being sold to Colgate-Palmolive in 2008. Currently, Colgate uses this in a U.S. product called Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Desensitizing paste which is used in-office and is only available to dental professionals. BasicBites is the latest development, hopefully making the oral health benefits of this combination available to the public in an over-the-counter chew.