Pearly Whites: How A Digital Lab Notebook Can Boost Innovation in Toothpaste Companies

Consumer Packaged Goods, ELN

digital lab notebook
Not much about toothpaste has changed since the 1870s. Some companies are looking to capitalize on that fact. A digital lab notebook can benefit this innovation.
Image source: Flickr CC user William Warby

Brush your teeth after every meal. Floss daily. Apples are nature’s toothbrush. We hear lots of advice regarding oral hygiene. My mother was a dental assistant, so I was bombarded with constant tips and reminders when it came to my teeth. It was a little overwhelming growing up but looking back, she had a point.

Just recently, the U.S. government recommended lowering the amount of fluoride added to drinking water. Fluoride was first added to public tap water during the 1960s in order to reduce the risk of developing cavities. However, high levels of fluoride have been shown to stain and mottle teeth, a condition known as fluorosis. By lowering fluoride levels, officials hope to decrease the number of fluorosis cases while still preventing cavities.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are also looking at other ways to improve dental care. Toothpaste was first made commercially available in 1873 and packaged in that very familiar tube in the 1890s. How surprising that it’s been around in that form for so long! Even more surprising is that there hasn’t been much innovation since then. The basic principle remains unchanged: toothpaste acts an abrasive to remove plaque from teeth. You could argue that if it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing, but this area seems ripe for innovative new products. By making use of electronic tools like a digital lab notebook, CPG companies can take advantage of recent scientific advances.

The Introduction of a Luxury Gel Toothpaste

When we picture Silicon Valley, we tend to think of computers, social media and gadgets. We normally don’t associate it with dental care. One company intends to change that by unveiling a product called Livionex.

Unlike traditional toothpastes which break up plaque by their abrasive properties, Livionex contains a substance that makes it harder for plaque to adhere to teeth in the first place. This includes difficult-to-reach places like the gumline and between the teeth. Initial studies show a 260% reduction in plaque compared to traditional toothpaste.

However, more research needs to be done. While the results were promising, the sample size was small: only 25 subjects. More studies need to be conducted on larger test groups to ensure safety. A digital lab notebook can keep track of the data. In addition, its features allow users to clone templates, which can then be modified. This comes in handy when upscaling a pilot study to a larger sample size.

The Incorporation of Nanotechnology in Oral Hygiene Products

Nanotechnology sounds like something from a science fiction movie. However, this field of science is making huge strides in innovation and development. A recent study at the University of Pennsylvania showed that a cavity-fighting drug worked better when it was inside a nanoparticle. The idea behind the delivery system is astonishingly simple. Engineer a nanoparticle that’s attracted to tooth enamel and inside it, place a drug that attacks bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay.

Researchers came up with the idea after seeing how similar drug-containing nanoparticles were being developed to treat cancer. A digital lab notebook can lead to similar inspiration for other products due to its collaborative features. Data can be shared with other scientists without concern for compatible file formats. Indexing makes searching through results simple, allowing for patterns to emerge.

Digital Lab Notebooks Lead to Greater Efficiency

When it comes to product development, timing is key. The company that unveils a new product on the market first usually ends up with the advantage. A digital lab notebook makes it significantly easier for CPG firms automate workflows in their laboratories, leading to faster development.

With the capability to interface directly with laboratory instrumentation, a digital lab notebook can obtain data immediately. Depending on the type of experiment, the notebook can run automatic analysis of the results. All of this can be done during off-hours, which means that a researcher’s time can be devoted to other productive tasks such as setting up more experiments or coming up with other ideas.

It’s funny to think that after nearly 150 years, we’re finally thinking of ways to innovate toothpaste beyond adding fluoride, changing flavors and improving texture. But it only means that this is a ripe opportunity for CPG companies to bring new products to market. Whether it’s drug-containing nanoparticles or new activated substances, the future looks bright white for oral hygiene.

With its data features, collaborative tools and automation capabilities, a digital lab notebook might be exactly what your CPG firm needs to innovate and compete in today’s CPG space. Visit our website to learn more about the BIOVIA Notebook today.

2 thoughts on “Pearly Whites: How A Digital Lab Notebook Can Boost Innovation in Toothpaste Companies

  1. This is similar–though more complex–to the water analysis technology in the water purification industry. Smart technology is making great strides.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Patrick. I didn’t realize that! We’re definitely living in an age where technological advances can lead to great innovation.

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