Edible toothpaste made for sick dad sent to space station

An edible waterless toothpaste created by a businessman for his gravely ill father was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) this month, fulfilling a longtime dream of the inventor.

Daisuke Teshima, chairman of biotech company Trife Inc., based in Yokohama’s Naka district, began developing Oralpeace after his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had diarrhea from accidentally swallowing a drug agent. prescribed for a candidiasis fungal infection in his mouth.

Oralpeace is made from ume fruit extracts and other natural ingredients. Free from chemical compositions, the product can be swallowed without adverse health effects, Teshima said.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) chose Oralpeace for use by astronaut Koichi Wakata, who headed to the ISS on October 6, primarily for its waterless quality.

Teshima said his father tried a sample of the space-age product before he died 10 years ago.

“I dreamed of the day when my idea will be used in space, so I’m happy the dream is coming true,” Teshima said. “My father left me a message: Spread your wings all over the world.”

Tubes and other lines of Oralpeace are presented in December 2020 in the Naka district of Yokohama. (Takeshi Suezaki)

WATER SHORTAGE

After his father swallowed medicinal agentTeshima created the safe-to-swallow toothpaste with help from parties such as Kyushu University.

Teshima then discovered that his invention could help astronauts manage the limited amount of water in space.

The product takes advantage of an antimicrobial material derived from lactic acid bacteria, so it can be used as a toothpaste. In addition, the product can keep the oral cavity moist when applied inside the mouth.

Teshima pitched the Oralpeace concept to a JAXA campaign that solicited possible solutions to problems related to space visits.

Water is so scarce outside Earth that astronauts have to severely ration liquid when brushing their teeth and washing their hair, according to JAXA, adding that bringing water to space is extremely expensive. dear.

Oralpeace was selected from 94 applicants for use on the ISS. His selection was made public in the fall of 2021.

Oralpeace and eight other products were launched to the ISS this month.

Teshima also plans to sell the product in a more lucrative market than the ISS.

“I will expand our sales network in the US market on a large scale,” he said.

COOPERATION WITH PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Other people are eager to see Oralpeace tested in space.

A spray version of the product is manufactured and packaged at Aozora Sorashi-do’s factory in Agano, Niigata Prefecture. The facility helps people with disabilities find employment.

Oralpeace’s tube is normally made in a factory in Yokohama. But Teshima, who has a disabled child, asked Aozora Sorashi-do to package the Oralpeace tubes destined for space.

“We all have strengths and weaknesses, but we work together to finish the products,” said Shun Yoshizawa, 23, who participated in the project. “I’m happy (JAXA chose Oralpeace). I want a wide range of people to discover Oralpeace.

Other workers also expressed their gratitude.

Tatsuma Abe called the decision to send Oralpeace to the ISS “great”, while Towa Yokono said he “can’t hide my joy”.

Teshima said it was part of his effort to “create a path for people with disabilities to live.”

“Many people with disabilities can now find jobs, but only a limited number are able to work in mainstream businesses,” he said.

“A realistic solution is to offer special job offers to those who find it difficult to work in ordinary businesses but who still wish to engage in commercial activities. This way they can work while traveling to care facilities,” he added.

Teshima said his vision is reflected in the Oralpeace program.

“From now on, we will shape our future together with people with disabilities and their families around the world,” he said.

Wakata is expected to stay on the ISS for about six months.

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