Ask a Dentist

August 18, 2023

Q: What Is In My Toothpaste?

Toothpaste squeezing out of the tube on a white background

Toothpaste is a fundamental component of our daily oral hygiene routine, but have you ever wondered what exactly is in it and how each ingredient contributes to your oral health? In this blog post, we’ll explore the key ingredients commonly found in your toothpaste. Understanding these ingredients can empower you to make informed decisions when selecting a toothpaste and enhance your oral care routine for a healthier smile.


Fluoride is perhaps the most essential ingredient in toothpaste. It helps strengthen the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria and sugary foods. Fluoride also promotes remineralization, which can reverse early signs of tooth decay and protect against cavities, making it an important ingredient for maintaining optimal oral health. It’s especially beneficial for children's developing teeth and adults prone to dental caries.


Abrasives are gritty substances present in toothpaste that aid in removing plaque and surface stains from teeth. Common abrasives include calcium carbonate, hydrated silica and alumina. These particles help polish the teeth, leaving them smooth and shiny. However, it's important to use toothpaste with the right level of abrasiveness to prevent enamel erosion. Always consult your dentist if you have concerns about using an abrasive toothpaste.


Toothpaste manufacturers add flavours and sweeteners to mask the natural taste of other ingredients. Common flavours include mint, spearmint and bubblegum, while sweeteners like saccharin are used to improve the overall taste. These ingredients encourage regular brushing habits and leave a refreshing aftertaste.


Humectants, such as glycerin and sorbitol, prevent the toothpaste from drying out and ensures it maintains its texture. These compounds also help retain moisture in the mouth after brushing, contributing to a refreshing feeling. Additionally, humectants aid in distributing toothpaste evenly across the teeth, ensuring a thorough cleaning.


Detergents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), create the foaming action we normally associate with toothpaste. Foaming helps distribute the toothpaste throughout the mouth, reaching areas that may be difficult to access. As well, the foaming action provides a psychological sense of having a thorough cleaning, making brushing a more satisfying experience for many individuals.

Next time you reach for your toothpaste, take a moment to appreciate the carefully selected ingredients that work together to promote optimal oral health. Remember, consulting with your dentist, such as our experts at Dental Image Therapy Centres, can further guide you in choosing the best toothpaste for you. With the right toothpaste and consistent oral hygiene practices, you can achieve a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Locate us at one of our two convenient Winnipeg locations at St. Vital Centre or Garden City Shopping Centre.

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