The human mouth is home to millions of microorganism.
Although most are harmless, some can cause oral infections such
as tooth decay or gum disease. These microorganisms feed on left
over food particles and product acid and volatile sulfur
molecules. Acid damages the tooth enamel which can lead to the
formation of cavities while volatile sulfur molecules cause
breath. The purpose of toothpaste, along with a
to clean teeth and fight plaque while delivering active
ingredients to promote healthy teeth and gums.
There are many different toothpaste currently being offered
on the market. While each brand has slight variations in their
formula, most contain the same basic ingredients: abrasives,
coloring agents, detergents, flavoring, fluoride, humectants,
thickeners, preservatives, sweeteners, and whiteners.
Abrasives: used to remove plaque and tartar, abrasives give
toothpaste their cleaning power. Abrasives also polish teeth and
remove stains. Common abrasives include alumina, hydrated
silica, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, and sodium
bicarbonate (baking soda).
It is important to note that toothpastes which are too
abrasive can damage tooth enamel. This can result in tooth
sensitivity and yellowing of the teeth.
Coloring Agents: coloring adds visual appeal to toothpaste.
Examples of coloring agents are red, green (D&C #5), and blue.
Titanium dioxide is used to make toothpaste white.
Detergents: are also referred to as soaps, foaming agents, or
surfactants. Detergents are used to remove compounds that have
varied properties such as oil and water. The foaming action from
the detergents also prevents toothpaste from dripping out of the
mouth while brushing. The presence of detergent requires
flavoring to mask their flavor. Common detergents include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl sacrosinate.
Unfortunately, these ingredients have been reported to cause
canker sores or mouth ulcers in some users. For those who suffer
from canker sores, we recommend the use of a
Humectants: are used to maintain a consistent paste-like
texture and retain water in the toothpaste. Retaining water
prevents the separation of liquid and solid. Examples of
humectants include sorbitol, glycerin, water, and pentatol.
Xylitol is an uncommon, but superior humectant.
Flavoring: is included to improve the taste of toothpaste. It
also masks the flavor of detergent components especially SLS.
Commonly used flavorings are peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon,
wintergreen, and menthol.
Fluoride: also known as sodium monofluorophosphate, fluoride
works to prevent decay by incorporating itself into the tooth
enamel. This makes teeth more resistant to acids product by
Preservatives: are included to prevent the growth of
microorganisms in the toothpaste. Commonly used preservatives
are sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, and ethyl paraben.
Sweeteners: are only intended to improve taste. Examples of
sweeteners are xylitol, calcium or sodium saccharin and
Whiteners: are added to toothpaste, but cannot actually
whiten teeth. Instead, whiteners work to reduce stains on teeth.
Examples include peroxide, citroxain, and certain abrasives.
A new group of toothpastes has recently become available.
These remineralization toothpastes are not only approved by the
FDA to treat tooth sensitivity but research indicates that these
Calcium Phosphate complexed toothpastes has also been shown to
remineralizes the enamel i.e. reverse small cavities (incipient