Dentyl PH: Brush, Floss, Sloosh, Gargle, Spit

 It is unusual to receive a letter from someone I actually know but this little gem came from one of my Scottish pals, Ian Macleod.  Ian works in health and safety, so by nature, he is a rather careful and thorough chap.  No surprise then that he takes the same attitude to oral hygiene.  After cleaning his oral cavity to within an inch of its life, Ian felt moved to send an email to Dendron Limited (distributors of products that will do everything from zapping your verruca to stopping that itch in your personal regions) to question their claims about Dentyl mouthwash…

From: Ian Macleod
Sent: 26 August 2008 18:38
To: ‘Michelle Simpson’
Subject: Dentyl pH – DDD4305


I bought a bottle of your Clove Flavoured Dentyl Ph from Asda and have been using it for a few days.  I’ll tell you what, I was absolutely DISGUSTED when I spat out and saw, after the obligatory slooshing about of the liquid, all the pink wormlike deposits adhering to the porcelain wash hand basin. And that was AFTER a good electric toothbrush brushing and flossing! To think that they had recently been resident in my mouth! Well, your claims on the bottle were certainly accurate. “SEE THE RESULTS IN THE SINK” you say, “causes of bad breath are removed and revealed”.

They were definitely revealed as I could see from the detritus in the basin.  But removed…?  A wee devil1 on my shoulder had its doubts.

I thought “What if there are more of those bacterial deposits lurking in my mouth? How can I be sure that Dentyl Ph has actually “powerfully pulled ALL the bacteria and debris that can cause bad breath, plaque and gum disease” from my mouth?”.

Only one way to find out; another slooshing was in order. So I brushed and flossed my teeth again and filled the Dentyl Ph cap half way up with trepidation. In the mouth it went, rinse 30 seconds and gargle 30 seconds and LO! If the same amount of pink grot didn’t come out the second time! Boy, was I glad I thought to check there were no more of that nasty bacterial detritus lurking about my molars. I guess that bacteria is cleverer than we give it credit for.

So there I was, doubly slooshed and satisfied that all the plaque, bacteria and nastiness was out my mouth and down the plughole when that wee devil on my shoulder piped up again.

“What if there is STILL some plaque/bacteria/debris clinging to your canines? Pasted to your premolars? Indigenous to your incisors?”  Oh the dread of it!

But what was I thinking? I had bought a very expensive bottle of mouthwash with the claims that it powerfully pulls, POWERFULLY mind you, bacteria and debris from the mouth and PROVES it is working by showing you all that bacteria and debris in the sink.  It had powerfully pulled my bacteria and debris on two occasion now in the previous three minutes, what could possibly be left to pull?

I was soon to find out.

Again another brushing and flossing just to make sure and then, I don’t mind telling you, with increasing trepidation, I filled the cap half way up, I rinsed for 30 seconds (just like the little girl in the picture on the bottle). I gargled for 30 seconds, (even though I couldn’t quite get my mouth as open as the wee girl in the picture) and I spat out. WOW says the girl in the last picture. And WOWed I was. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the amount of bacteria and debris that came out my mouth into the sink!

Well, could YOU go to bed knowing your mouth was a biological chemical plant to rival any that Hans Blix never found in Iraq? I certainly couldn’t. That was three times I had deposited my plaque/bacteria/debris in the basin and it didn’t seem to be waning.

Well. I’m nothing if not a quitter. I was going to give this VERY EXPENSIVE mouthwash one more go. I mean, it was hardly its fault that my mouth was such a nuclear waste dump. So I brushed, flossed, slooshed, gargled and spat and….guess what…..? You think? Well so did I. So you can imagine my horror when an exact amount of pink wormy gunge was deposited in my perfectly white porcelain wash hand basin as had previously been deposited!

Did I mention I wasn’t a quitter?  Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit. Brush, floss, sloosh, gargle, spit.

How much debris/bacteria/plaque can one mouth have?  Or, as I was now thinking, “How much debris/bacteria/plaque does this Dentyl Ph actually POWERFULLY PULL?”

Needless to say, I finished the whole VERY EXPENSIVE bottle in one night and I was STILL producing copious amounts of pink wormy spit. Do you think I slept well that night? Knowing what was still in my mouth? I can tell you I didn’t.

So what I want to know is this…..

Is it my mouth that is so bad, or is it Dentyl Ph’s claims?

I look forward to your response.

Best regards,

Ian Macleod


A couple of weeks later, this landed in Ian’s inbox:

From: Michelle Simpson
Sent: 11 September 2008 15:58
To: Ian McLeod
Subject: RE: Dentyl pH – DDD4305

Our ref:  DDD4305

Date:     11th September 2008

Dear Mr. McLeod2

We apologise for the delay in responding.

Developed originally by Professor Mel Rosenberg, a renowned oral malodour expert,3  later with Dr Phil Stemmer, Dentyl works when the two phases are shaken together. This creates an electrostatic action between the main active ingredient in the formula, CPC, a powerful and well known antibacterial agent, that is positively charged and the negatively charged bacteria4 and debris in the mouth (food but also skin or saliva cellular elements).

The following is a description by Professor Mel Rosenberg himself :

‘According to our published research, the observed attachment of bacteria and debris by the oil droplets is facilitated by the positively-charged cetylpyridinium5 ion in the mouthrinse which binds to the negatively-charged bacteria and debris primarily via electrostatic interactions. The subsequent and/or concomitant6 interaction of the bacteria and debris with the oil droplets is largely through hydrophobic7 interactions.’

So, in conclusion, by creating a temporary oil in water emulsion that is positively charged with the ion positive CPC, bacteria, food particles and other cellular elements (that are negatively charged) are lifted away and then removed. The dyes in the mouthwash tint the conglomerate of particles removed so that you can see the results in the sink (no other mouthwash can show you what’s been removed).

We hope the above explanation goes some way to reassure you of Dentyl’s efficacy and we would like to assure you that all claims made on behalf of Dentyl have been fully approved and tested. Dentyl has been proven to be a useful addition to the daily oral care regime.

Dentyl pH mouthwashes are designed to be used twice daily.8

We thank you for taking the time and trouble to contact us and hope you continue to enjoy the benefits of using this unique mouthwash, the second largest selling mouthwash in the UK. If you provide us with your postal address we would be happy to send you a complimentary bottle of Dentyl mouthwash, and a product information leaflet.

With kind regards

Michelle Simpson (Mrs)
Customer Services Coordinator
Dendron Limited
Units E,F,G Caxton Court
Caxton Way
Tel:    01923 205 727      Fax:   01923 254 062


Well naturally, Ian was impressed.   He’d never seen cetylpyridinium, electrostatic, concomitant and hydrophobic all on the same page before.  However, despite the considerable effort that had gone into the reply, Ian still didn’t feel that his main question has been answered:  If all the crap in his mouth had been removed, why did he keep spitting out more crap?

So he had another go:

—–Original Message—–
From: Ian Macleod
Sent: 11 September 2008 21:00
To: Michelle Simpson
Subject: RE: Dentyl pH – DDD4305

Hi Michelle,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my email.

Wow! What a complete and fully detailed explanatory reply!  My mind is reeling from all the technical terms and, to be honest, I’m not sure I even now fully appreciate the difference between a “positively-charged cetylpyridinium ion” and a “conglomerate of particles”. But that Professor Rosenberg sounds like a clever guy.

I had no idea all this electrical activity was going on in my mouth; and all from this one bottle of mouthwash.  Do you think my bottle maybe wasn’t fully charged when I got it and that’s why it kept showing stuff in the sink no matter how long I kept spitting out?  You should put one of those wee9 voltage meters on the side of the bottles like you get on some batteries to show they are full.  Or perhaps you could adapt the bottles to sit on a charger like my toothbrush does so it can be topped up.

I am not so sure that your response fully addressed my query though which was along the lines of “how do I know when all the bad bacteria has been removed from my mouth”? I see from your email that Dentyl PH removes bad food debris and bacteria whilst at the same time removes harmless skin and saliva cellular elements.

So what I still really want to know is, how do I know when all the bad stuff has been removed and only good stuff pink goo is showing in my sink? Personally, I’d like to hang on to my good goo and get rid of all my bad goo but if they are all mixed together how do I know which is which? Could you not work out some way to colour the bad stuff pink and the good stuff blue?  Or vice versa?

I am sure I’m not the only person who has asked you this question so you must be working on it in the labs. In the meantime, wouldn’t a disclaimer on your bottles to the effect that “Dentyl PH removes bad goo AND good goo.  Causes of bad breath are removed and revealed and so are all your negatively charged saliva and skin elements so please stop slooshing after about [insert recommended number of slooshings] slooshings.” be more accurate?

It’s just a thought. It would certainly put MY mind at rest.

Anyway, I would love to receive a complimentary bottle of Dentyl mouthwash, the second largest selling mouthwash in the UK, and a product information leaflet. Especially if it answers my question.

My address is: [redacted]

Yours in anticipation and happy dental health,


Ian was in for a treat.  Not only did Michelle respond again, but she included a response from the Professor himself!

From: Michelle Simpson
Sent: 24 September 2008 14:59
To: Ian Macleod
Subject: RE: Dentyl pH – DDD4305

Our ref: DDD4305

24th September 2008

Dear Ian

In addition to the complimentary Dentyl pH and product information leaflet that I sent to you on Friday, I thought you would also appreciate a fuller response from Mel Rosenberg, the inventor of Dentyl, who has read your query and responded below.

Dear Ian

I am in receipt of your letters and thought that since you have put so much effort into writing to them and thinking about the product, that I should answer you personally.

The two-phase technology was based on our observation in the 1980s that oral bacteria are mostly hydrophobic and adhere to oil droplets. The addition of cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC), a common agent in mouthwashes, further promoted the adhesion of bacteria and oral debris to the droplets, enabled a temporary emulsion to form, and provided antibacterial activity to those bacteria remaining in the oral cavity. The CPC has a cationic end that adheres to the negative charge on the bacteria and debris, make them less electronegative and more hydrophobic (the CPC also has a hydrophobic tail which further contributes). The antibacterial effect of the CPC in the mouthwash may be even more prolonged due to small oil droplets, covered with CPC, remaining in the mouth following gargling and rinsing. Of course these are theories based mostly on in vitro research.

We have clinical evidence that the two-phase mouthwash does provide long lasting antimicrobial and anti-odor effects. The question is how does this come about? The apparent answer is

a). desorption10 of some of the debris and bacteria, visualized by the stain and their being bound to the oil phase (by the way, I do not ascribe to the theory that there are ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. We have research evidence showing that some of the good guys (Strep. salivarius) can help the ‘bad guys’ (Porphyromonas gingivalis) break down oral glycoproteins to grow and smell. Further, the anerobic plaque (bad guys) are able to survive because the more superficial plaque (good guys) are consuming the oxygen coming in. Most good mouthwashes, including ours, reduce the overall oral load of bacteria, but do not let the bad bacterial guys, or other bad guys (yeast) prosper.

The result you describe upon repeated rinsing is of interest, and I have noted it on occasion as well.  Since the mouthwash is not intended to remove all of the bacteria and debris in the mouth (otherwise you wouldn’t need to use a toothbrush and toothpaste!), in people with heavy sloughing of buccal epithelial cells11 – such as myself – repeated rinsing can remove additional material. The ‘bit’s that are removed might otherwise be used as proteinaceous substrate for the growth of bacteria, so probably their removal (even repeated removal is beneficial).

b). there is residual antibacterial effect of the CPC (perhaps some of it lingering on small oil droplets as I described above).

These are the theories that help us explain the clinical success of the product. If you have further suggestions or queries, please let me know and I will try to address them. By the way, thanks for the compliment! You are apparently a clever guy as well. Hoping that I have answered your main questions.


Mel Rosenberg, Ph.D.

I hope this answers your query to your satisfaction.

Kind regards

Michelle Simpson (Mrs)

Customer Services Coordinator
Dendron Limited
Units E,F,G Caxton Court
Caxton Way
Tel:    01923 205 727      Fax:   01923 254 062

Clearly, Ian was delighted to get his personal note from the Prof and he simply couldn’t resist sending off another salvo:

From: Ian Macleod
Sent: 02 October 2008 00:10
To: ‘Michelle Simpson’
Subject: RE: Dentyl pH – DDD4305

Dear Michelle and Prof. Mel,

Thanks you so much for your emails. I am just back from my holidays and therefore only just picked up my Dentyl PH and informative leaflet from the post office (it was too big to fit through my letterbox so they took it to the local sorting office).

Thank you very much for the free sample of Dentyl PH. I shall be sure to take cognizance of Professor Rosenberg’s comments when using it and will definitely stop slooshing and spitting before I reach the bottom of THIS bottle.

I have a great advertising campaign idea for you. Why don’t you get kids to draw their idea of what a CPC looks like? If I were to do it I imagine it would have a head of a cat (the cationic bit) with sticky bits on it to adhere to the negative bacteria and debris and a tail (in mine the tail would have an expression of being scared of water – hydrophobic like – or is that hygrophobic? I always get those mixed up).

Just a thought.

Well, you can tell Prof. Mel that his detailed explanation fully answered my question and you will no longer be bothered by emails from me.

I am now a convert to Dentyl PH, the second largest selling mouthwash in the UK, and won’t be slooshing from now on with anything that doesn’t have a cat’s head and a hydrophobic tail.

There’s just one thing that niggles me (and you know how easily I am niggled). How come the CPC results and theories are based mostly on in vitro research? Surely you have had enough people slooshing your product by now to be able to test your theories in os?

Just a thought.

Well that’s me off to bed now safe in the knowledge that my mouth is as clean as Mary Poppin’s mind thanks to Dentyl PH. (You can use that slogan if you want).

Yours in continued dental health,



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  1. For American readers: ‘Wee’ in this context is a Scottish adjective meaning, on the face of it,  small.  For example,  the expression ‘a wee dram’ refers to a small alcoholic beverage (usually whiskey of course).  However, it isn’t that straight-forward because in many parts of Scotland, and in Glasgow in particular, a ‘wee dram’ can also refer to a long night of alcoholic excess consisting of fifteen pints of beer with whiskey chasers washed down by a good chicken vindaloo. So, because Ian hails from Glasgow, his ‘wee devil’ was probably the size of a small country with horns like giant redwoods 

  2. Oops.  Not a good start.  They mis-spelled his name in the very first line. It’s Macleod not McLeod! 

  3. Good God!  Can you imagine that! Not the best chap up line: “Hello handsome, and what do you do for a living?”  “Well my dear, I am a renowned oral malodour expert”.  Not exactly up there with racing driver is it?  I suppose he could change it: “Well my dear, I’m an oral specialist!”.  That might work a lot better! 

  4. What I want to know is: How do they know the bacteria are negatively charged?  Did they ask them? 

  5. Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is a cationic quaternary ammonium compound.  I looked it up.  Never say that you don’t learn stuff on Dear Customer Relations 

  6. Concomitant: meaning naturally accompanying or associated.  I looked that up too 

  7. The hydrophobic effect is the observed tendency of nonpolar substances to aggregate in aqueous solution and exclude water molecules.  Obviously, I looked that up too 

  8. As opposed to Ian’s seventeen times consecutively 

  9. There he goes again 

  10.  Desorption is a phenomenon whereby a substance is released from or through a surface. The process is the opposite of sorption [that is, either adsorption or absorption]. This occurs in a system being in the state of sorption equilibrium between bulk phase [fluid, i.e. gas or liquid solution] and an adsorbing surface [solid or boundary separating two fluids]. When the concentration [or pressure] of substance in the bulk phase is lowered, some of the sorbed substance changes to the bulk state.  But you knew that didn’t you?  Didn’t you?! 

  11. Heavy sloughing of buccal epithelial cells:  Buccal is the medical team for something relating to the cheek.  Sloughing is the casting off of dead cells.  Epithelial cells are the membranous tissue forming the covering of most internal and external surfaces of the body and its organs. So, heavy sloughing of buccal epithelial cells is the inside of your cheeks coming off as experinced the morning after a ‘wee dram’ – the fifteen pints, chasers and vinadloo version  

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