Common chemicals can alter the saliva’s protective functions

Posted on December 30, 2014

A study at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich UK, has investigated how common chemicals found in toothpaste (Sodium dodecyl sulphate, SDS, and sodium tripolyphosphate, STP) can alter the protective film of the saliva.

Saliva has a number of functions, one of which is to coat our mouth and teeth in a thin film. The film protects the teeth from acid foods and also lubricates the mouth, which makes eating easier.
The study found that both SDS and STP can change the saliva structure which can affect teeth and mouth protection and may also influence our perception of food.

-This new knowledge not only augments our current understanding of the salivary pellicle, which is important for the development of more realistic salivary mimetics, but also demonstrates how certain ingredients are able to alter the structure of the salivary pellicle,” said Dr Anthony Ash who performed the study.

The researchers at IFR hope to develop a deeper knowledge of the salivary pellicle, how its physical structure can be influenced by exposure to different food and oral hygiene ingredients by measuring the film forming properties of the human saliva.

Read the article in Biofouling: The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research.

Structural and compositional changes in the salivary pellicle induced upon exposure to SDS and STP
Authors: Anthony Asha*, Francis Mulhollanda, Gary R. Burnettb & Peter J. Wildea
Volume 30, Issue 10, 2014 pages 1183-1197