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Hydrated Silica in Toothpaste

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

If you're on the hunt for a new toothpaste or just feel like you need an added ingredient that will clean your teeth more efficiently, you may come across the term "hydrated silica." While cultures like the ancient Egyptians and Romans used eggs and oyster shells as teeth cleaners, we've luckily come a long way with abrasives for our teeth! Hydrated silica is a much gentler abrasive that, for the most part, is very safe to use on your smile. Let's go over what it is, its benefits, potential drawbacks, and why you should consider adding it to your oral care routine.

What Is Hydrated Silica?

Hydrated silica comes from a hydrated form of silicon. Did you know that silica is a substance that makes up a large part of the Earth's crust? The most common form of silica you may be familiar with is sand! But the hydrated version of silica is a substance used in many everyday items, like a coating to paper and textiles. You're also very likely to find this ingredient in your bathroom's medicine cabinet in some of your everyday products. Hydrated silica is a common ingredient found in many personal care products, including cosmetics and toothpaste. It's an abrasive, an absorbent, and a bulking agent in personal care product formulas and is perfectly safe to use in toothpaste.

Benefits of Hydrated Silica

The primary benefit of hydrated silica in toothpaste is its abrasiveness. Stains often settle on our enamel, the outermost layer of our teeth. Some kinds of toothpaste will whiten teeth with bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, which changes your enamel color. But whitening toothpaste with abrasive ingredients, such as hydrated silica, scrub the stains from the surface of your teeth.

The other useful quality of hydrated silica's abrasiveness is its cleaning ability. Our mouths are full of bacteria, which, when mixed with the foods and drink we ingest, can lead to dental plaque (biofilm). If you brush your teeth twice daily with a clinically proven toothpaste, you should be able to keep plaque at bay. However, when dental plaque isn't scrubbed away and begins to build up on your teeth, it can become a harder substance, known as tartar. You can't clean away tartar on your own, and because of its porousness, it will become an easy substance for even more plaque to adhere to. Only a dental professional can get rid of your tartar! Plaque and tartar contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, which is why it's vital to stop their buildup as soon as you can. Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day with floss, an interdental brush, or another interdental cleaning device.

If you opt for a toothpaste with hydrated silica or other abrasive ingredients, confirm that the tube has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA only awards toothpaste with this seal if it has a relative dentin abrasivity score of 250 or less. That means that with regular daily use and a proper brushing technique, the toothpaste won't cause any wear on your teeth. By finding this seal on your preferred toothpaste, you're confirming it's both effective and safe!

The Drawback of Hydrated Silica

One drawback of abrasives in toothpaste is that they can lead to tooth sensitivity, especially if you brush very hard and do not brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush. The dentin and the pulp that lie beneath your tooth's enamel are sensitive. If your enamel becomes worn down, you could feel discomfort when brushing with a toothpaste that contains abrasives. It's just another reason to keep your mouth healthy and your enamel strong.

If you experience sensitivity, consult your dental professional. They can recommend which toothpaste and toothbrushes you should consider. They will also examine your mouth to root out the cause of your sensitivity. But hydrated silica toothpaste is, in almost all cases, a very safe and efficient toothpaste to use. Who doesn't love the feeling of smooth teeth in a white smile? If you don't experience any sensitivity, this toothpaste type can be your smile's best friend!

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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