What's In Your Toothpaste?
Over the last 50 years toothpaste has evolved from a simple product that helps clean teeth to a product that now has many different claimed oral health benefits but, with mouth irritations and allergies on the rise, it’s good to know what’s in your toothpaste.
In this blog, I explore some of the ingredients commonly seen in today’s toothpastes:
Abrasives are used for polishing teeth and removing stains from tooth enamel. These abrasives need to be strong enough to remove stains and to polish enamel without damaging the tooth. This is a difficult balance to achieve. All toothpaste needs to have a relative dentine abrasivity (RDA) score of less than 250 to be safe.
Common ingredients include hydrated silica and calcium carbonate. Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate), activated charcoal and salt are becoming popular due to baking soda having a low abrasivity rating, while activated charcoal and crystalline salt have a high to very high rating.
Oral health agents
These ingredients help promote tartar control, reduce plaque and gingivitis and help prevent tooth decay. The most common and effective are:
Fluoride: added for both its ability to help remineralise tooth structure and its direct antibacterial activity on bacteria.
Xylitol: is a plant derived sugar alternative added for flavour AND it is a prebiotic.
Green tea: Certain extracts from green tea are increasingly being incorporated into toothpastes. Due to their anti-inflammatory effects on the gums.
Tartar control ingredients: these phosphate-based compounds generally have a high pH to prevent calcification of dental plaque however high pH has also been shown to promote gum inflammation with continual exposure.
Milk proteins: these proteins are used as a remineralisation agent and desensitizer however there is currently little evidence to support its use in toothpaste.
Essential oils such as mint or menthol are commonly used to help with fresh breath
For regular daily use I recommend that you use a toothpaste which offers tooth decay prevention and gingival health.
My tip is to focus on your toothbrushing technique which will help with removing plaque and keeping your breath fresh!