What Is in Toothpaste?


Toothpaste is an essential ingredient to comprehensive oral care. Since you use it at least twice a day in your normal dental care routine, you deserve to know what’s in it and how it is designed to improve the health of your teeth.

Types of Toothpaste

The many toothpaste product options vary. You may select a toothpaste that promises to decrease sensitivity, or a brand designed to care for smokers’ teeth. Some toothpastes claim to whiten teeth over time and some offer colorful, flavored options for children. Regardless of which type of toothpaste you select at the drugstore counter, you can count on it containing ingredients from each of the following categories.


Without a textured coarseness in the toothpaste, scrubbing would not have the stain-eliminating effect the product is meant to produce. Sometimes called polishing agents, abrasives are added to toothpaste to increase brushing effectivity. An example of an abrasive in toothpaste is hydrated silica or calcium carbonate. These materials make up a large percentage of the substance, normally accounting for one-third of the tube’s weight.


Detergents, sometimes referred to as surfactants, are known for cutting through the liquid surface layer and breaking down scum or film. Detergent is needed in order to clear away any oral build-up that can’t be cleaned with water alone. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the main detergent used in toothpaste and has been effective for decades.


It’s a part of daily life – teeth are exposed to acid when you eat and drink throughout the day. Acid can eat away at the enamel of a tooth, making it vulnerable to decay and gum disease. Fluoride is a proven natural material that restores teeth’s enamel and then strengthens it against future acid attacks. Fluoride has been successful at lowering rates of tooth decay since 1960, when it was approved for use by the American Dental Association.


Without a desirable, fresh taste, you would despise using toothpaste. While toothpaste does not contain sugar, many contain saccharine to make it palatable.

Humectants and Binding Agents

It is vital to keep toothpaste moist and all material evenly distributed throughout. Humectants such as glycerol prevent toothpastes from drying out, and binding agents like xanthan gum keep naturally solid and liquid materials from separating.

In addition to all of the above mentioned substances, toothpaste also contains a very small amount of preservatives such as alcohol to prevent bacterial growth in the toothpaste itself. If you have more questions about what makes up toothpaste and how these materials work at caring for your oral health, contact Oak Hills Dental and a professional team will give you the facts.