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I've been looking at a dental product for pets, called MAXI/GUARD Oral Cleansing Gel and it states it uses zinc ascorbate/taurine, however in the ingredients I found elsewhere it instead lists zinc gluconate.

Active Ingredient(s): Deionized water, zinc gluconate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), methylcellulose, taurine, methylparaben, propylparaben, F.D.&C. blue no. 1. May also contain zinc sulfate.

What is the difference between the two and any idea why they are listed as such?

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As I understand your question, “the two” refers to Zinc Gluconate and Zinc Ascorbate.

Zinc gluconate and zinc ascorbate are distinctly different compounds. They are both adducts of Zn with one Zn and two bidentate oxygen-based ligands of organic acids. Some basic information from PubChem for both zinc gluconate and zinc ascorbate is given below.

Zinc gluconate: $\ce{C12H22O14Zn}$

Zinc gluconate [Gluconic Acid Zinc (II) Salt] is a zinc salt of gluconic acid comprised of two gluconic acid molecules for each zinc cation ($\ce{Zn^2+}$). Zinc gluconate is a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance by FDA.

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Of interest, as related to periodontic issues note that a phase 4 clinical trial was completed 2014-12-16 “The effect of Zinc-D-gluconate on bleeding propensity of the periodontium in patients with chronic parodontitis - a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind interventional study”.

Zinc ascorbate: $\ce{C12H14O12Zn}$

Zinc ascorbate is a zinc salt of ascorbic acid[Vitamin C] comprised of two ascorbic acid molecules for each zinc cation ($\ce{Zn^2+}$). Zinc ascorbate goes by a variety of different names, L-Ascorbic acid, zinc salt (2:1), L-Ascorbic acid, zinc salt, (-)-Ascorbic acid, zinc salt to name a few.

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A ResearchGate reference discusses zinc-gluconate, taurine in reducing halitosis and gingivitis. A portion of the abstract follows:

Objectives: to evaluate the efficacy in reducing halitosis and gingivitis insurgence in fixed orthodontic patients of a zinc-gluconate, taurine and cetylpyridinium-chloride (CPC) oral-rinse, sole or combined with a toothpaste with the same active principles.

References:

  1. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/443445
  2. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Zinc-ascorbate#section=Structures
  3. Dalessandri, Michela & Dalessandri, Domenico. (2011). Halitosis And Gingivitis Reduction Using A Zinc-gluconate-taurine-cetylpyridinium-chloride Oral-rinse And Toothpaste. (link)
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks very much. Now I see they have listed Zinc Ascorbate as Ascorbic Acid, now it makes sense :) Do you have a link to the referenced clinical trial mentioned above regarding Zinc Glucanate? I don't believe it was included in your references? $\endgroup$ – Brett Oct 22 '20 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ clinicaltrialsregister.eu/ctr-search/… I believe that link will take you to the available information. $\endgroup$ – Hal Oct 22 '20 at 1:15

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