Oral care is not only about brushing with a minty toothpaste and gargling with a refreshing mouthwash, but this category has far expanded to include breath sprays, breath strips, whitening strips etc. Going back to basics, to maintain basic oral health, the minimum one needs to do is brush the teeth at least twice a day, regular brushing of teeth helps in prevention of caries, enamel erosion and bad breath, reducing gingivitis or tartar build-up.
Brushing of teeth is an activity that needs to be made appealing and the consumer should look forward to starting their day with a fresh, cool breath and should look forward to going to bed with a similar fresh cool breath. This ‘not so appealing’ activity is made into a ‘looking forward to’ activity by its flavours. Flavour pallet varies across the age category from kids to youths to elderly. While kids prefer sweeter and confectionery notes in their toothpaste, the youth prefer minty, strong cool, sometimes bitter, salty profiles, whereas elderly prefer cool but mild profiles that give them a feeling of refreshment and tingle their taste buds to make it feel alive.
Some young and health-conscious consumers want the cool, minty effect every time and would also want the benefits of age-old traditional and Ayurvedic and herbal ingredients. However, most of the Ayurvedic formulations are extracts or ingredients that are earthy, bitter and not so palate friendly. Still, they give a sense of assurance of being beneficial to health, as there is always a belief that ‘ Bitter is Better’ for health.
Flavour development for this category has various challenges other than just the right taste profile of the flavour, one needs to consider what the base is as flavour systems for silica, calcium carbonate and gel applications differ considerably. There needs to be a balance between the masking effect and release of flavours, the right amount of masking is to be provided to different bases, thus the dosage of the flavour and the flavour itself needs to be formulated based on the base of toothpaste.
Composition of ingredients in toothpaste has a lot of taste challenges as they not only impart their inherent aromatic and organoleptic profile but also their functional groups can interact with the flavour ingredients that need to be considered while designing any flavour. Along with overcoming these challenges, one also has to adhere to the regulatory requirements.
Let’s see what are the regulatory challenges that can be faced when it comes to oral care. We all know that this is a cosmetic category that has the possibility of being ingested too, thus there is an additional requirement to be met which is to be compliant to food regulations too. Thus if one closely looks at what would fit in these shoes, we would know that it is flavours that would be more appropriate. Thus, flavours that are meeting the requirements of IFRA would be best suited as they are already compliant to food grade.
Flavours for oral care is a challenge, but it is all the more fun too… so enjoy your minty, sweet and flavourful brushing.