Zinc Citrate 

What is it?

Zinc citrate is a zinc salt derived from citric acid.

What does it do?

Zinc citrate is a multifunctional ingredient. In toothpaste and mouthwash, the primary role that Tom’s of Maine’s has found zinc citrate to provide is that it can help freshen breath by reducing the impact of odorous compounds produced in our mouth by bacteria. Some bacteria in our mouth produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which can leave us with ‘bad breath’. Zinc is able to react with these VSCs to reduce the odorous components to provide breath freshening.

In our Mineral Confidence deodorant zinc citrate works by helping to neutralize odor. 

How is it made?

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

To make zinc citrate, zinc oxide is combined with citric acid. Zinc citrate is precipitated from the neutralization mixture. The crystalline zinc citrate that precipitates is then dehydrated and milled.

What are the alternatives?

In oral care products, alternatives to zinc citrate in the fight against bad breath are artificial antimicrobial agents or other natural agents like terpenes (found in spearmint oil) and tea tree oil that inhibit the odor-causing compounds. Research from Tom’s of Maine has also confirmed the botanical, licorice root, is effective at reducing VSC’s in lab tests and this efficacy was confirmed in human subjects. Tom’s of Maine uses licorice root in its Wicked Fresh! toothpaste to deliver clinically proven, long lasting fresh breath. Other blends of natural essential oils are also effective in neutralizing and masking odor.

Is this the right option for me?

Zinc is ubiquitous in the environment, being found in water, air and all living organisms. Zinc is an essential element that functions as an integral part of numerous enzymes. It is involved in many cellular processes.  It helps to support normal growth and development, and is important for proper sense of smell and taste.

Many of the zinc salts are considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration. Zinc citrate was reviewed by the FDA (Federal Registry, 21 CFR Part 356) and it was determined that zinc citrate is safe.

Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.