How Does Toothpaste Work?

Common Toothpaste Ingredients

Our ancestors used crushed charcoal, chalk, bricks, and salt as toothpowders. Some cultures relied on chewing sticks and twigs from certain trees. Today we use acrylic-bristled toothbrushes and ADA-approved toothpastes. Oral hygiene products have made much advancement  from the dark days of misguided dental care. The contemporary toothpaste aisle touts many claims of dental health ranging from decreased tooth sensitivity to a whiter smile. In this blog Pella family dentist, Dr. Allen explains how common ingredients in toothpaste improve your oral health.

Fluoride Builds Enamel

Fluoride is a mineral that can be found in plants, animals, and natural water supplies. Fluoride is predominantly believed to be safe unless consumed in large doses over extended periods of time. Many toothpastes use this substance to help restore tooth enamel. This outer layer of your tooth is harder than platinum; however, teeth grinding, acid erosion, and excessive wear can weaken enamel. With less enamel, your smile is susceptible to tooth decay and bacteria. The body cannot reproduce tooth enamel because it is not connected to any living tissue. Fluoride steps in by strengthening the mineral composition of your tooth’s defenses.

Abrasives Remove Food Particles

Making up 50 percent of the ingredients in toothpaste, abrasives are important for removing debris in tight spaces. Whitening toothpastes often include increased amounts of abrasives for removing some surface stains on your teeth. While mild abrasives are not harmful to your smile, excessive use of whitening toothpastes can cause enamel erosion. In addition to weakened defenses, your teeth can also suffer from sensitivity to cold and hot foods. Reduce these effects by using fluoridated toothpastes in addition to whitening pastes. For more noticeable tooth whitening results, Dr. Allen offers teeth whitening treatments in Pella.

Surfactants Disperse Toothpaste

Have you ever wondered what causes your toothpaste to make your mouth foam like a rabid dog? Surfactants are the ingredient that combines with water or saliva to create foam. This is also the material found in shampoo, hand soap, and face washes. In toothpastes, surfactants help the fluoride and abrasives reach between teeth and throughout the mouth more evenly.

An Invitation for Your Family

Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella. IA. Please see the map for directions.