Every morning and night we pull out our toothpaste and use it to brush our teeth but have you ever wondered:
🪥 What is in toothpaste that makes it good to brush your teeth? 🪥 What ingredients are in your toothpaste? 🪥 Are expensive toothpastes better than home brand ones?
These are all questions to be answered in this week's blog.
What is in toothpaste?
Toothpastes have been used for centuries to remove plaque and prevent dental decay.
Our ancestors would have used crushed up bones, oyster shells or egg shells to clean their teeth, thankfully there are better options available today.
Most people use modern toothpastes for cosmetic reasons.
We need toothpaste to have 2 key ingredients: fluoride and a mild abrasive, these will then be bound together with flavours, sweeteners, thickeners and other stabilisers to make the toothpastes that we know and use today.
What ingredients are in your toothpaste?
1. FLUORIDE Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your tooth enamel. It works best when a small amount coats your teeth twice a day (when you brush). It works like a protective armour for your teeth. This is your best protection from tooth decay. Some "natural" toothpastes do not contain fluoride but in my opinion you should always choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride otherwise you loose the strength in your enamel and risk dental decay. The latest fluoride guidelines from the Australian Dental Association for those wanting to look at the safety of fluoride is here
2. ABRASIVES These ingredients scrub and polish your teeth, they remove food particles and also remove any plaque. Abrasive ingredients are often advertised as whitening ingredients but they do not truly whiten your teeth. Abrasive ingredients can make your teeth look whiter if there is a surface stain, but only bleaching your teeth can make them whiter. In the past abrasives used in toothpastes could cause damage to your enamel if you brushed too hard but today the amount of abrasives is limited to protect your teeth from this type of damage. Examples of adhesives in toothpaste include: dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, insoluble sodium metaphosphate, calcium pyrophosphate, calcium carbonate, alumina trihydrate, magnesium trisilicate & silica gels
3. FLAVOURS Flavours are required in modern toothpaste as the Fluoride and abrasives do not taste great. Most toothpastes are flavoured using sweetening agents such as saccharin, sorbitol or xylitol. The main flavours used are peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen but can also be blended with other essential oils.
4. HUMECTANTS Humectants are used to stop your toothpaste from drying out and being a nice smooth paste that can be squeezed out of the tube till the very end. Commonly used humectants include: Sorbitol (also a flavour), glycol and glycerol.
5. DETERGENTS Detergents used are not like washing up detergent. Detergents make your toothpaste foamy (and a bit more fun to use), this improves the coverage of your toothpaste ensuring that it covers more of your tooth surface making sure to evenly spread Fluoride across all of your teeth. Commonly used detergents include: Sodium lauryl sulphate, lauryl polyglucose & lauryl glucoside.
Are expensive toothpastes better than home brand ones?
Most toothpastes available in the supermarket or pharmacy aisle contain very similar ingredients.
Find a toothpaste with Fluoride with a flavour that you enjoy.
More expensive does not mean that it cleans you teeth any better, at the end of the day most of the work is done by the toothbrush so a home brand toothpaste that has a flavour that you enjoy is the one to choose.
BUT... There are some specialised toothpastes that help with sensitivity or remineralising teeth that are worth the extra money if you have specific dental problems.
If you have any further questions regarding Toothpaste ingredients or any other dental question please give us a call or send us a message, we would love to help.