WHAT’S IN OUR TOOTHPASTE?
The search for the Hollywood smile has been going on since 5000 B.C.
Rotten teeth and foul breath has never been attractive or fashionable. Exotic ingredients included dragon’s blood, myrrh, eggshells, crushed bones and oyster shells. The Chinese added ginseng, herbs and salt to help improve taste and cleaning properties. Bicarbonate of soda made its appearance in the 19th Century.
But, no matter what’s in it we’ve been using toothpaste to promote oral hygiene by dealing with dental plaque, removing food from our teeth, suppressing bad breath, and preventing tooth decay and gum disease for seven thousand years.
WHAT’S IN OUR TOOTHPASTE NOW AND WHY’S IT IMPORTANT?
Today, toothpastes typically contain both active and inactive ingredients. Active ingredients fight cavities and reduce the risk of gum disease. Inactive ingredients add taste and texture.
All the ingredients can be classified as abrasives, fluoride, flavours, humectants, detergents, and water.
Won’t abrasives damage my teeth?
It depends on the abrasive. So-called ‘whitening’ toothpaste contains harsh abrasives.
The right abrasives won’t damage your teeth. They are the ingredients that remove food debris and stains. Although being inactive – abrasives don’t reduce your risk of cavities or gum disease – without them your toothpaste wouldn’t have much of an effect.
WHATS’ SO SPECIAL ABOUT FLUORIDE?
Fluoride is the superhero of toothpaste. It’s nature’s cavity fighter because it’ an active ingredient. This mineral strengthens the enamel on your teeth. You want strong enamel or you will be more susceptible to cavities. Strong teeth are less likely to suffer from wear and tear they endure from acidic foods or drinks. Fluoride isn’t meant to be swallowed but in normal daily usage when you’re brushing your teeth correctly it’s fine.
AREN’T THE FLAVOURS IN MY TOOTHPASTE FULL OF SUGAR?
No, they aren’t. Sweetening agents, such as saccharin or sorbitol provide the flavours we enjoy every day, but they don’t contain sugar so won’t cause any tooth decay.
WHAT THE HECK IS A HUMECTANT AND WHY IS IT IN MY TOOTHPASTE?
Humectants are found in the sweeteners and traps water in the toothpaste making it a smooth, easy to use paste. Glycol and glycerol are also humectants.
WHY ARE THERE DETERGENTS IN MY TOOTHPASTE?
Psychologically, people seem to think that if a cleansing agent doesn’t foam it doesn’t work. It’s not true. But that’s why detergent is in your toothpaste. Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the most common detergents in toothpastes.
WHAT YOU DON’T WANT IN YOUR TOOTHPASTE
Pay attention when Medsafe or a toothpaste manufacturer recalls toothpaste. Not so long ago there was a scare with toothpaste containing diethylene glycol. It’s another name for formaldehyde.
Bleaching agents are often touted as great whitening solutions. They are based on hydrogen peroxide.
You don’t want either in your mouth.
YOU COULD OF COURSE MAKE YOUR OWN TOOTHPASTE.
Every recipe for home-made toothpaste has baking soda in it. Just like the good old days. Apart from some anti-bacterial properties, it’s very kind to teeth.
But have you tasted the stuff?
If you wash your teeth properly and use a good toothpaste you might only need to visit the dentist once a year for a checkup. If you need help with toothache, a root canal, a filling, extraction or any dental health issue contact Team Dental today.