Get familiar with the ingredients in your toothpaste and know what they do!
- Fluoride is the most important ingredient. This mineral that occurs naturally in water sources reduces cavities and helps prevent tooth decay.
- Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical salt that is used as a surfactant to scrub away stains and plaque build-up.
- Sodium laurel sulfate is an agent that produces lather to increase the effectiveness of a product.
- Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient used for tooth whitening, so it is found in whitening toothpastes.
- Glycerol is an ingredient that keeps toothpaste from drying out, gives it a consistent texture, and helps it glide smoothly from the tube.
- Sorbitol helps hold the toothpaste together and acts as a sweetener.
- Calcium carbonate is a common abrasive that helps remove plaque, debris, and surface stains. Other abrasives that may be used n toothpaste include dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts and silicates. These abrasives are rough enough to get the plaque off, but gentle enough to avoid damage to your enamel.
A controversial antibacterial ingredient, triclosan, has not been banned from toothpastes; however, the last toothpaste to use it, Colgate Total, has a new reformulated version called Colgate Total SF, in which stannous fluoride is the active ingredient. To learn more, read Triclosan in Toothpaste.