Space paste takes-off: Japan’s Lion develops easy-rinse foam toothpaste for astronauts

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lion has developed a foam toothpaste that will require less water to rinse off. [Getty Images]
Lion has developed a foam toothpaste that will require less water to rinse off. [Getty Images]

Related tags: Japan, Oral care, Toothpaste, lion

Japanese personal care company Lion has developed a foam toothpaste that will require less water to rinse off that will be used specifically on the International Space Station in 2022.

As the name suggests, the Space Foam Toothpaste, dispensed as a foam rather than a conventional paste.

The product was developed as a foam, as paste was typically difficult to rinse off on the space station given the zero-gravity environment and the limited water supply.

According to Lion, the foam format made it easier for astronauts to rinse off, which could help to reduce the amount of water used in the process.

Lion is one of the top oral care manufactures in Japan, where it has the highest sales, according to INTAGE SRI data.

The Space Foam Toothpaste was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to be used onboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022.

However, Lion said it would be looking into applying this product on Earth in environments or situations experiencing water shortages.

“This technology can be used not only in space but also on the ground during challenging water-scares situations, such as during disasters and for medical care. In the future, we will consider the possibility of further utilisation and research that will lead to the provision of all oral care opportunities.”

The Space Foam Toothpaste will not be the only astronaut-friendly personal care product heading to orbit next year.

CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ has reported​ that Kao Corporation was preparing to send a 3D Space Shampoo Sheet along with a 3D Space Laundry Sheet to the ISS next year as well.

Both products are made with a piece of non-woven fabric and impregnated with cleansing formulas and do not need to be used with water.

Healthy teeth for all

The development of the Space Foam Toothpaste aligned with the initiatives Lion has launched to promote inclusive oral care over the decade ending in 2030.

This kicked off in 2021 with the launch of two initiatives aimed at providing education and information and eliminating economic disparities.

One of the initiatives supports the use of verified sustainable mint from India, which is the largest producer of Mentha Arvensis​, a particular type of mint that Lion said was “key to rounding out the flavours of its products”.

From June 2021, Lion has begun to switch to the exclusive use of verified supplies of Mentha Arvensis. ​This began with Dentor Clear MAX in June 2021 and has been expanding to all of Lion’s brands.

This means the mint is produced by growers verified by Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) and meets the standards of management, environment, labour, and production.

The FSA is operated by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform which supports the creation of sustainable agricultural supply chains.

Lion said it hoped its ongoing procurement of verified mint would encourage more growers to get verified, and in turn, support the growth of sustainable mint production systems.

Another initiative was created to support children’s self-esteem through a variety of oral health-related programs in partnership with children’s community centres that provide meals and services that deliver food to households with children.

In March 2021, Lion formed an agreement with non-profit organisations Florence and Musubie to build frameworks that could support the activities such activities.

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