Ever wonder what’s inside your toothpaste? Most people know about fluoride, but the rest of the ingredients in toothpaste are just a mystery. All of these ingredients serve different purposes, and sometimes it’s just nice to know what’s going in your mouth. Here is a look at what different toothpaste ingredients do for your teeth.
The most important ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride. It has been used for more than 50 years because of its proven ability to fight off tooth decay. Fluoride joins with the enamel on your teeth to strengthen the enamel weakened by acid. This not only makes your teeth stronger as a whole, but it helps your teeth fight off future acid attacks.
These chemicals are used to remove stains and plaque from teeth. They also act as polishing agents to keep teeth shiny and sparkling. Common abrasives in toothpaste include calcium carbonate, silica and alumina. These ingredients are specifically chosen because they are harsh enough to remove stains without being so harsh that they damage tooth enamel.
Detergents in toothpaste work much like any other kinds of detergents ? laundry detergent, dish detergent, etc. These chemicals help to dislodge food debris and bacterial plaque from in between teeth by creating a lawyer of foam in the crevices. One of the most common types of detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulphate. Detergents are also responsible for giving you that “fresh clean feeling” that makes brushing your teeth fun to do.
Here is a quick list of some additional toothpaste ingredients:
- Humectants: These prevent toothpaste from drying out and they give toothpaste its texture. Example: glycerin
- Thickeners: They help toothpaste retain its texture and they allow it to stay on the bristles of the brush without sinking in between them. Example: cellulose gum
- Preservatives: They keep toothpaste clean by preventing the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms.
- Flavoring and coloring agents: They help toothpaste taste like specific flavor (bubble gum, mint, etc.) and they give it its distinct color. This is all used for aesthetics, but it makes a big difference in the way you perceive your toothpaste.
Knowing about toothpaste ingredients won’t change the way you take care of your teeth, but at least now you know a little more about what’s going on every time you brush. There is a ton of science behind every tube of toothpaste.