Remember when toothpaste didn’t have all the fancy promises of built-in whiteners and breath fresheners? It just had fluoride to help fight cavities. Well, these days you can’t escape the latest in periodontal care and this time it comes in slicker packaging with even more promises to strengthen your gums, brighten your smile and wet nurse your first born. The makers of Aquafresh (GlaxoSmithKline) have created iso-active teeth whitening gel, a foaming gel that acts much like the technology in shaving foam gels. I guess it was just a matter of time before its use would be applied to oral care.
I recently bought a 4.3 oz can of Aquafresh Iso-Active whitening foaming gel. I love the colorful, new design. and that it comes in a six-inch can rather than the awkward, plastic tubing in which most toothpaste products are still packaged. At my local CVS I paid $4.99, which is a bit more expensive than most brands out there. The active ingredient is the anti cavity sodium fluoride (0.15% w/v fluoride ion) and the back of the can promises to, and I quote, “remove[s] more bacteria than any ordinary toothpaste.” The can literature maintains that the gel works better than paste in reaching farther back in your mouth and the spaces between your teeth. I’m not sure how this is so. The gel is a far softer consistency than the paste, but I don’t know how this correlates to the previous claim of being far reaching. Thorough brushing and flossing is still the way to go, folks.
What’s So Good About Aquafresh Iso-Active?
The gel has a green hue and it slightly whitens or foams a bit upon air contact. After using the gel with my Sonicare, the gel immediately foams and while it’s fresh and minty, there is also a distinct antiseptic taste to it, as if it were combined with Listerine or something. The effects after brushing are excellent. My teeth feel slippery clean and my mouth just generally tastes and feels freshened – this is also true, incidentally, after I consumed a meal containing raw garlic. Part of my oral hygiene routine is tongue brushing to freshen my breath. The easiest way to tell if you have bad breath is to lick the back of your hand, let it air dry and take a quick sniff. The breath test passes with this gel, even after an hour or two has passed. In addition, from just casual observation, my teeth do look brighter.
What’s NOT so Good About Aquafresh Iso-Active?
Well, it turns out that the new packaging design is also this product’s Achilles Heel. While the can concept is pretty sleek, the plastic dispensing nozzle is another story. First, the nozzle is small and trying to apply just enough pressure is quite tricky and annoying. Imagine this for kids – you’re literally asking for a mess. The first few times trying this, I dispensed too much gel on the bristles and there was so much foam that it literally spilled all over my mouth, chin, hands and brush handle. By the time I was done, I looked like I was on the receiving end of a bukkakke facial. Trying to extract a pea-sized portion of gel is not a skill I care to acquire when all I want to do is brush my teeth. Also, the gel tends to ooze out after dispensing, so if you don’t wipe the nozzle clean before and after use, the can quickly becomes a foamy, sticky mess. Again, I want to clean my teeth, not the canister or packaging. Later designs should take this into serious consideration.
All in all, Aquafresh Iso-Active tooth gel really does a fine job cleaning your teeth and freshening your breath. The flavor is invigorating and minty, the gel is foamy and abundant, and you will really like the slick feel of your teeth. I don’t like trying to gauge the right amount of pressure to apply on the nozzle to obtain a small dollop of gel, and I don’t care for the clean up after using the canister each time. It’s bothersome and annoying and though not necessarily a deal breaker for me, it’s something you should definitely consider when making your purchase.