Commercial Toothpaste Basics
Commercial toothpaste is an essential part of your oral care routine. Paired with a toothbrush, it removes plaque and debris from your teeth and along your gumline. Some toothpaste may have more purposes, like whitening or reducing sensitivity. While the ingredients in commercial toothpaste vary, you'll find a few common ones in each brand:
Fluoride, a mineral naturally occurring in dirt, rocks, and public drinking systems, helps strengthen tooth enamel. Did you know that fluoride, beyond its usual job of preventing cavities and keeping enamel strong, even fights early signs of tooth decay? The American Dental Association (ADA) notes this important fluoride fact and calls it "nature's cavity fighter."
Have you ever wondered what's in commercial toothpaste that makes your teeth feel smooth after a brushing? Gentle abrasives are in charge of removing stains and food debris from your teeth. There are several examples, including calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gel, and hydrated aluminum oxides. They're designed to remove buildup without scratching your teeth.
Detergents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, are also common in toothpaste. You may not immediately associate the word "detergent" with oral care. Doing a load of laundry comes to mind. But the purpose of detergents in your toothpaste is actually to give it a foamy texture as you begin to brush, allowing you to reach all the teeth' surfaces.
Commercial toothpaste also contains ingredients called humectants like glycol and glycerol. As noted by the ADA, humectants are used to prevent water loss in toothpaste. They keep your toothpaste from drying out and make it an effortless substance to brush with.
And one component of commercial toothpaste we can't forget is flavoring! Ingredients like sorbitol and other sweetening agents give toothpaste its pleasant taste. With a wide array of flavors these days, you can choose the one that best suits your personal palate.