St. Louis Dentist and Inventor Releases First Color-Changing Toothpaste

Retired St. Louis Dentist and inventor Dr. Howard Wright is releasing his groundbreaking color-changing toothpaste after a 10-year process that has become a labor of love.

The new dental breakthrough -- called Vortex Toothpaste -- makes kids want to brush their teeth longer and more vigorously thanks to a fun color-changing process.

"Ten years is a long time to spend fighting for your product, but if you truly believe in your invention, the fight is exhilarating," says Dr. Wright, a graduate of the Washington University School of Dental Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Howard Wright knew exactly what he wanted in Vortex: a safe, palatable toothpaste with minimal chemicals. the color-changing phenomenon itself is refreshingly simple. Vortex is dispensed as twin streams of red and blue toothpaste onto the toothbrush and, as the child starts to brush, the colors are mixed into a vivid purple.

"By brushing vigorously, kids delight in watching the toothpaste change color," says Dr. Wright. "The color change is accomplished not through a chemical reaction, but by simple optics."

Vortex Toothpaste also has an emphasis on natural ingredients, and contains no sodium-lauryl-sulfate or SLS, a common foaming agent found in other toothpastes.

'When brushing with conventional toothpaste, children find that the heavy foaming makes breaking through the mouth difficult, making the experience frightening," says Dr. Wright. "Remove the SLS, make it change color, and you have kids wanting to brush their teeth."

Dr. Wright discovered a study by the University of Oslo that determined SLS was directly linked to the develpment of canker sores, making the elimination of that foaming agent a priority to him.

While the chemical side of Vortex came together swiftly, the toothpaste tubes themselves proved to be nearly impossible to manufacture. To prevent the colors from mixing prematurely, the Vortex Toothpaste tube must have an interior barrier to separate the red and blue colors.

"Every plastics manufacturer I spoke with told me it couldn't be done -- that no one had ever made a toothpaste tube like that before," says Dr. Wright. "I had pretty much given up hope and was ready to let my patent lapse when I decided to call one last manufacturer. They had the perfect tube.

Vortex is not Dr. Wright's first invention. Twenty years ago, the scuba diving enthusiast patented the Storm Safety Whistle, which can be heard up to 50 feet under water and is the loudest whistle in the world. Dr. Wright's All Weather Safety Whistle COmpany has sold millions of Storm whistles in more than 30 countries around the world.

Dr. Wright's advice for aspiring inventors? "The easiest way to deal with someone who says your idea is impossible," says Dr. Wright, "is to deal with someone else."

Vortex color-changing toothpaste retails for $6.95 and is manufactured in the USA in a plant in Muskegon, Michigan. It is available on or via the website at