The Five Key Ingredients In Toothpaste And What They Do

Most of us go through this daily routine of squeezing a small amount of toothpaste from the tube, putting it on our toothbrush and brushing our teeth. We, or at least those of us who take proper care of our teeth, do it two to three times a day. Although we do it often, most of us don’t know what exactly makes toothpaste, well, toothpaste. Sure, most of us know that most toothpastes today contain fluoride, but what else do we know about toothpastes? Or to be specific, what ingredients make toothpastes what they are.

  1. Although technically considered an inactive ingredient because abrasives don’t exactly reduce your risk for gum disease or cavities, abrasives are an important ingredient in toothpastes. In fact, without abrasives, your toothpaste won’t be able to clean your teeth as much. In fact, abrasives are the key reason why your toothpaste can effectively remove food particles and stains from your teeth. At the same time, abrasives help keep your teeth bright and shiny – all without damaging your tooth’s enamel.
  1. Detergents in toothpaste are the reason why foaming occurs whenever you brush your teeth. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the most common detergent used in the majority of toothpastes today. While generally safe, the chemical has been proven to cause or irritate existing allergies, as well as cause bad breath and canker sores. If you’re interested, there are SLS free alternative toothpastes. These toothpastes use ingredients such as glycrryhizin or sodium cocoylglutamate and lauryl glucoside as an alternative to sodium lauryl sulfate.
  1. Flavoring ingredients, such as saccharin or sorbitol, are used in toothpaste so that you end up tasting something delicious whenever you brush your teeth. Take note, using these ingredients does not add sugar to the toothpaste and will not cause tooth decay.
  1. Humectants trap water in the toothpaste so that whenever you squeeze out a bit of toothpaste from the tube, you get a nice, smooth substance. Examples of humectants used in toothpaste are sorbitol, glycol and glycerol.
  1. While some toothpastes can actually protect teeth even without fluoride, it still is the key ingredient when it comes to fighting cavities. This is because fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth. This helps make them more resistant to cavities and at the same time, minimizes the effects of acidic food and drinks.

There you have it, the five key ingredients that make toothpastes so effective and in a way, the ingredients that you should look for when shopping for a new tube.

The next time you’re in the toothpaste aisle, try taking the time to flip the box over and look at what’s listed on its packaging instead of choosing the usual.

Who knows, you may find out that whatever toothpaste it is you’re using isn’t as effective as you once thought. If that’s the case, then you definitely should make the switch to something that provides your teeth with extra protection against conditions like gingivitis.

Be sure to keep your mouth healthy by keeping up without proper oral hygiene, contact Dr. Graham Farless, DDS at 336-282-2868 to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning today. Or visit for additional information.