Everybody knows how important it is to brush his or her teeth as part of your daily dental care. Almost everyone has been taught to brush his or her teeth at least two or three times a day from an early age. However, many people aren’t even aware of the ingredients that go into the toothpastes that they choose to brush their teeth with. Knowing the ingredients in toothpastes can help people make a wiser decision when selecting the type of toothpastes that they want to use.
Fluoride is, of course, one of the most common ingredients found in toothpastes that almost everyone has heard in his or her life at one time or another. Fluoride is, arguably, one of the most important ingredients in toothpastes since it is extremely important to fighting cavities. This ingredient is essentially a mineral that not only helps strengthen the enamel of the teeth, but in doing so, it also reduces the likelihood of the acid found in many foods and drinks from wearing down the teeth. Although there are toothpastes on the market that don’t contain fluoride, according to the American Dental Association, fluoride is “nature’s cavity fighter” and that it is the most active ingredient in toothpastes.
Abrasives are basically the scrubs found within toothpastes that are used to gently scrub the surface of the teeth without scratching or damaging the tooth’s enamel. Examples of the most common abrasives found in toothpastes include calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides and dehydrated silicia gels. Abrasives play an important role in dental health because they are the particles contained within toothpaste that help remove stains and food debris from the teeth. However, because they don’t help prevent against cavities or assist in the prevention of gum disease, they are technically referred to as an inactive ingredient. Still, people should look for toothpastes that contain abrasives since they are essential to thoroughly cleaning the teeth.
Detergents are the ingredients found within toothpaste that help provide the foaming that occurs when people brush their teeth. Detergents are important because the foam is needed to help people more easily dispense the toothpaste from their mouths and to provide them with a deeper clean. The most common type of detergent found in most toothpastes is sodium lauryl sulfate.
Although fluoride and abrasives are essential to thoroughly cleaning the teeth and helping individuals prevent cavities and gum disease, they do not taste very well on their own. The flavors used in toothpastes merely serve the purpose of making the process of brushing teeth more comfortable. Nobody wants to brush his or her teeth with a toothpaste that makes the individual feel like gagging at the taste. Since everybody’s taste preferences are different, it should come as no surprise that there are numerous types of flavoring agents found in different types of toothpastes. Whereas children’s toothpaste is oftentimes fruit-flavored or bubblegum-flavored, many adult toothpastes taste of mint or cinnamon. The most common types of sweetening agents used to flavor toothpaste include saccharin or sorbitol. It’s important to note, though, that just because these types of toothpastes contain sweetening agents to provide the toothpastes with a more amicable taste, they don’t contain any sugar, so individuals won’t have to worry about their teeth decaying simply because they choose to use a toothpaste that tastes sweet.
Lastly, toothpastes also contain humectants. Although these are another inactive ingredient, they are essential to toothpaste because they help prevent the toothpaste from losing water. Without the humectants, when the toothpaste is squeezed from the tube, it wouldn’t come out in a smooth substance. A certain amount of water is put in toothpaste to make it smooth, and the humectants trap the water within the tube to keep the toothpaste smooth, moist and even. Some examples of humectants include glycol and glycerol. However, some toothpaste manufacturers choose to use sorbital as a favoring agent because not only does it provide the toothpaste with a better taste, but it also doubles as a humectant.
Colgate. “What is in toothpaste? Five ingredients and what they do.” Retrieved on February 11, 2016, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/selecting-dental-products/article/sw-281474979330118.
American Dental Association. “Learn more about toothpastes.” Retrieved on February 11, 2016, from http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/toothpaste.
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