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Arginine: A new and exciting approach to oral care

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The ingredients in your toothpaste matter. Brushing is no longer just about the mechanical removal of plaque, and has not been for some time. Recent advancements in technology have lead to exciting formulations that can significantly improve the oral health of the brusher! One such example is the use of arginine.

What is arginine and what is DZA technology?

Arginine, also known as L-arginine, is a unique amino acid with the potential to control the biofilm in the mouth across both hard and soft tissues. This substance has has been shown to play a direct role in oral health by altering plaque metabolism and content. Dual Zinc plus Arginine (DZA) technology not only uses this amino acid, but also the mineral Zinc. The 'dual zinc' in DZA technology consists of the inclusion of both zinc citrate and zinc oxide Zinc has been used in toothpastes for decades because of its antimicrobial properties, for example in the form of zinc citrate. It has been shown to reduce numbers of bacteria responsible for dental plaque. In a randomized double-blind clinical study, a toothpaste containing DZA technology (0.96% dual zinc and 1.5% arginine together with 1450 ppm fluoride as sodium fluoride) provided significantly greater reductions in plaque and gingivitis at 3 and 6 months compared to a regular sodium fluoride toothpaste containing the same amount of fluoride.

Effect on dental caries

The fluoride in toothpaste containing DZA Technology provides for caries prevention. In addition, arginine is a modulator of plaque metabolism and can increase the pH of plaque through the production of ammonia and other natural arginolytic species in oral biofilm. This helps to maintain a pH-neutral environment, an important consideration with respect to dental caries in which demineralization occurs when pH is lowered as a result of acid production by cariogenic bacteria. The formulation of DZA in products such as Colgate Total Whole Mouth Health is truly unique and provides whole mouth health benefits through chemical and biological modes of action. Arginine also has the advantage that it may enhance the penetration and retention of antimicrobial agents in plaque biofilms.

Relief from dentin sensitivity and Pro-Argin technology

Arginine is also found in a serum providing relief from dentin sensitivity, together with calcium carbonate, as Pro-Argin technology.  Colgate Professional Sensitivity Relief Serum relieves dentin sensitivity in one minute when massaged into the area with a fingertip. This is achieved because the Pro-Argin technology occludes the open dentin tubules and forms a layer over the tooth surface.

Arginine contributes to Whole Mouth Health. It also plays a role with respect to dental caries, helping to maintain a pH-neutral environment, and is proven to rapidly help relieve dentin sensitivity. Arginine is truly a remarkable ingredient now being used in oral care products.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.