What is Toothpaste? : Guide to Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a gel or paste type of substance which is applied to a toothbrush to clean the teeth. This mainly white substance removes particles of food and plaque from your teeth and prevents bad breath (halitosis) as well.

Toothpaste contains a range of ingredients, for example fluoride which helps to protect the teeth against tooth decay and gum disease.

Toothpaste is an important part of a daily dental care routine and dentists recommend that people use it twice a day. Ideally, you would brush your teeth after every meal but failing that, twice a day will do.

If you visiting this guide with the intention of finding out which is the best toothpaste to buy then you will find it helpful to start by looking at what toothpaste is made from.

What is in your toothpaste?

You will find that a great many toothpastes contain the same ingredients but some will have an added emphasis on a particular ingredient. One example is a particular flavouring such as mint.

Toothpaste is comprised of several ingredients which include:

  • A ‘binder’ (holds the ingredients together) such as sodium alginate.
  • Chalk or baking soda
  • A foam based compound which helps to remove food debris from the teeth, e.g. sodium lauryl sulphate.
  • An ingredient called a ‘humectant’ which ensures that the toothpaste is moist.
  • A flavouring such as mint
  • Fluoride
  • Water
  • Anti-bacterial agent (prevent gum disease)

  These ingredients are weighed, mixed together in a large vat and passed through a filling machine and into tubes.

You may be interested to learn that toothpaste has a long history; one that goes back 4,000 years to be exact! People then used a wide variety of substances to clean their teeth which include sand, ground up fish bones and salt!

It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that toothpaste first appeared in tubes and the mid twentieth century when fluoride was added to toothpaste for the first time.

Toothpaste has certainly moved on since then and is available as a gel, paste, with ‘stripes’ etc.

Nowadays there is a brand of toothpaste to cater for everyone’s needs.

And, there are even toothpastes for dogs, for example liver flavoured canine toothpaste!

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