Prestige Brands, the parent company behind the Efferdent™ brand of dental appliance cleaners, wanted to extend their market opportunities by offering consumers a new on-the-go option for cleaning dentures, retainers, clear braces, and mouthguards. Existing products made for removable dental appliances required soaking for at least five minutes in a cleaning solution. Toothbrushes and toothpaste can damage the appliances. Prestige Brands wanted to develop a disposable wipe that would quickly clean and disinfect the appliances without damaging the materials, and without using chemicals that would be dangerous to ingest.
Prestige Brands asked Battelle to develop and test a cleaning formulation that could be impregnated into a disposable, textured wipe. It needed to be free of both alcohol and triclosan, an antimicrobial agent commonly used in toothpastes but now under fire for potential health concerns. It also needed to taste good and be shelf stable. We used molecular modeling to develop formulations that met the desired performance requirements. The cleaning efficacy of the formulations was demonstrated by removing synthetic saliva from variety of appliances.
In addition to cleaning ability, we evaluated the formulations to make sure they would not react adversely with the metals and polymers in the appliances. We conducted a thorough literature review on all ingredients to make sure they were safe in case of accidental ingestion. Then we developed a prototype single-use sealed packet for the product. Finally, we conducted accelerated aging tests to make sure the formulation remained stable in flavor, color and cleaning ability, and tested the packaging to make sure it did not leak or degrade over time.
The finished product was shown to effectively remove “mouth slime”, improve overall appliance cleanliness, and retain a “fresh, minty flavor” for up to 15 minutes after use. Prestige Brands launched Fresh Guard™ Wipes in 2014, and they are now available in stores nationwide. They have been well-received by consumers, with positive online reviews on the Efferdent™ website and 4.5 stars on Amazon. Fresh Guard™ Wipes were the first product of this type on the market, opening up a whole new market area for the Efferdent™ brand. In addition to their use by retainer and denture wearers, the wipes have been embraced by athletes for use on mouthguards, a new market segment for the company. The product has allowed them to increase their revenues and put new life into their brand.