Dental Tartar Prevention & Removal - The Story of Periogen

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The inventor of Periogen was the late Doug Andersen. His purpose in creating Periogen was to empower the consumer to prevent & treat gum disease at home by inventing a method to reduce dental tartar buildup. Dental tartar is simply hardened (calcified) plaque and is comprised of dead bacteria and elements in saliva including free calcium. Dental tartar buildup is the cause of nearly all gum disease as it harbors and shelters bad bacteria.  If not removed, tartar will expand into the gum/tooth margin resulting in periodontal infection and tooth loss.

Doug’s background was not that of a chemical engineer rather he was an award winning Electrical Engineer at the Boeing Aircraft Company. His problem solving capabilities spanned many engineering disciplines and he concluded over 20 years ago that dental tartar (calcium phosphate salt) was electrostatically attracted to tooth enamel that is made up of calcium phosphate. He concluded that the right mix of FDA approved food salts would soften an outer layer of tartar as long as applied in a balanced healthy pH oral environment. The outer layer of tartar with its weakened bond breaks free and is rinsed away during the swishing or irrigation process.   

So why did it take so long to discover this? The entire oral care industry has been on the wrong track since the 1950’s. They are marketing products to mask a problem caused by dental tartar buildup. None of their products help reduce tartar or reestablish a healthy mouth; to the contrary they make things much worse. Virtually all big name oral rinses are acidic germ killing products that actually build dental tartar as they are a nuclear bomb going off in your mouth killing the good and bad bacteria. The dead bacteria pile up, mix with free calcium in saliva and form more dental tartar. 

You can ask your dentist to tell you about the gold standard of all oral rinses…prescription Peridex (CHX), an FDA approved alcohol based germ killer often prescribed by dentists. Peridex manufacturer warnings include tartar buildup, yellowing of teeth, and tooth sensitivity.

The war on oral bacteria started back in the 1950’s when a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research team made a remarkable discovery that cavities in teeth were caused by bacteria such as streptococcus mutans and a couple others.  The NIH team was even nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1956 and interestingly Dr Paul Keyes who was a strong proponent of Periogen was on the team! After the news hit the market, oral care manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and proceeded to manufacture and market products with slogans such as “Guaranteed to kill 99.9% of the germs that cause bad breath”. The 1960’s saw all out germ warfare between oral care giants with the battlefield being the consumers mouth.  That has been the direction ever since. As the dental industry becomes more holistic in its approach to patient care the trend now is to avoid indiscriminately killing oral flora will only result in an unhealthy mouth, more tartar buildup, and gum disease.

The mouth is the first line of defense for our immune system with the good bacteria competing with the bad ones for resources thus keeping the few bad ones in check. The key is keeping your mouth healthy and tartar free. That is no easy task as so many food and drink products on one hand feed the bacteria through an overabundance of sugars and fermentable carbohydrates while others such as soda, coffee, fruit juices, and alcohol are acidic products that upset the delicate balance in our mouth and cause both staining and tartar build-up.

The Periogen Company was founded in 2010 by brothers Doug Andersen and John Andersen in San Diego, CA. Doug was seeking a patent on Periogen when the two joined forces. Doug’s vision of what could be coupled with John’s background in business made for a great team. They spent the next few years trying to sell Periogen to dentists ultimately focusing on direct to consumer marketing through online retailers like Amazon and

In 2015, with disappointing professional sales, they refocused their efforts on conducting clinical trials of Periogen at Dental Universities around the world. In all, 7 clinical studies were conducted with very positive results. They proved that dental tartar (calculus)…the cause of gum disease could be reduced at home by swishing with Periogen or using in an oral irrigator for deep pocket cleaning. Periogen was the first such product in the history of oral care to reduce dental tartar and still is. It took 5 years to complete all of the studies and the toothpaste study results will be published in 2021. The Periogen studies proved the relevance of the quote from Dr Paul Keyes who is the former NIH Dental Director that Periogen that said after his own study “Periogen is probably the most innovative product to hit the dental market in 35 years”.

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