Dr Zoe Laughlin, co-founder and director of the Institute of Making at University College London, is an artist, designer, maker and materials engineer. An infectiously enthusiastic presenter, she has made a variety of TV programmes about materials and describes her role as ‘explaining the art, craft, science and engineering of STUFF.’
The three-part series she presents, ‘How to make’, focuses on everyday objects which Zoe dissects and investigates, and then recreates her own bespoke versions, step by step. The second episode of the current series, entitled The Toothbrush, looks at both toothbrush and toothpaste technology and includes an interview with the developer and Chief Scientific Officer of BioMin, Professor Robert Hill of Queen Mary University London.
Although BioMin could not be mentioned by name on the programme, Zoe said that there was only one brand which used the bioglass technology, and she was extremely excited by its innovation and its potential. Discussing the need for fluoride in toothpaste, she introduced the QMUL research saying: ‘Professor Robert Hill and his team have created a new material to create an even better fluoride barrier.’
When Professor Hill explained the slow fluoride release mechanism of bioglass, she commented: ‘You’ve developed what sounds to me like a magic ingredient.’
Once Zoe had watched the glass being produced and ground she went on: ‘The magic properties of this bioglass don’t stop at fluoride protection. Robert and his team have also added calcium and phosphate ions, two of the main materials in tooth enamel... Amazingly, the calcium and phosphate remineralise and restore the outer layer where the enamel has been worn away.’
And having seen the way in which the product occludes dentinal tubules to relieve sensitivity, she got it in a nutshell: ‘So that’s your special bioglass bunging up the holes!’
She summarised: ‘So your bioglass is actually doing two things. It’s releasing that protective fluoride, but it’s also blocking those dentinal tubules.’ Professor Hill agreed, ‘And that makes it a very effective ingredient for toothpaste.’
At the end of the interview with Professor Hill, she came away with a sachet of the bioglass contained in BioMin, saying: ‘I’m really thrilled – magic stuff.’*
When Zoe combined the ingredients to create her own ideal toothpaste, she included the bioglass, saying; ‘Now for the futuristic bioglass. This amazing timelapse fluoride-releasing glass. This has GOT to be in there.’
She concluded: ‘This bioglass doesn’t come cheap. But it offers an exciting future for the health of our teeth.’
If you want a little bit of ‘magic’ for your teeth, you can purchase BioMin toothpaste from our distributors.