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Toothfriendly products are safe for teeth. To replace sugar, toothfriendly products often contain sweeteners (polyols, intense sweeteners) that are not fermented by the microflora of the dental plaque. Products that are certified as toothfriendly also do not contain excessive amounts of food acids. Toothfriendly sweets - mints, chewing gum, lollipops, and chocolate - can be enjoyed at any time, without any risk to teeth.
In 1983, a WHO working group recommended that the consumption of non-cariogenic "toothfriendly" confectionery should be encouraged.
To provide consumers with easy guidance to toothfriendly products, the Happy Tooth symbol was created. This registered quality mark distinguishes products (confectionery, beverage, sweeteners, medicine) that have been proven in a scientific test to lack both a cariogenic and erosive potential.
The "toothfriendliness" of a product is tested by means of intraoral pH telemetry. Applying a standardized method, the plaque pH is measured at least in four volunteers during and for 30 minutes after consumption of the product with an indwelling, interproximally-placed, plaque-covered electrode. Products that do not lower plaque pH below 5.7, under the conditions of this test, lack a cariogenic potential. The erosive potential is measured with a plaque-free electrode. The acid exposure of the teeth must not exceed 40 micromol H min.
Toothfriendly International certifies products that have been tested and proven to be safe for teeth. It is a non-profit association established in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland. Since then, the association has been granting the rights for the Happy Tooth quality mark to distinguish products that are not harmful for teeth. The members of the organization are prevention-minded dentists, dental and public health institutions, confectionery and oral care manufacturers.
The Toothfriendly Foundation is the charitable arm of the association. The Foundation is responsible for caries prevention projects in less-developed countries.
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