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What is Toothpaste?

What is in Toothpaste?

  1. Abrasives
  2. Detergent (1-2%)
  3. Binding agents (1%)
  4. Humectants (10-30%)
  5. Flavouring, sweetening and coloring agents (1-5%)
  6. Preservatives (0.05-0.50%)
  7. Fluoride and other therapeutic agents
  8. Water

What is Toothpaste

Types of toothpaste

  • General decay
  • Plaque and tartar control
  • For sensitive teeth
  • For smokers
  • Special children's formulations
  • Tooth whitening pastes.

Ingredients of toothpaste

Ingredients of toothpaste are usually mentioned on its pack as "w/w" - that means weight by weight.
Toothpaste ingredients are usually shown on packs as grams per 100 grams.
In addition to water, toothpaste usually contains the following basic ingredients.


Abrasives are the cleaning and polishing agents present in the toothpaste. It accounts for about a third of the toothpaste by weight. Most abrasive agents are chalk or silica-based.
E.g. Dicalcium phosphate, sodium metaphosphate, calcium carbonate, silica, zirconium silicate or calcium pyrophosphate, etc.

Detergent (1-2%)

Detergents foam and loosen plaque and other debris from the tooth surface. Principal examples are sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium N-lauroyl sarcosinate.

Binding agents (1%)

These agents help to prevent the separation of solid and liquid ingredients during storage. They are usually derived from cellulose, sodium carboxy-methylcellulose being the most commonly used. Carrageenans (seaweed derived), xanthan gums, and alginates are also used.

Humectants (10-30%)

Humectants act to retain moisture and helps in the prevention of toothpaste from hardening on exposure to air.
E.g. Glycerol, sorbitol, and propylene glycol are commonly used.
Glycerol and sorbitol also sweeten the toothpaste, though this is not their main function.

Flavouring, sweetening and coloring agents (1-5%)

E.g. Peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, wintergreen, and menthol are among the many different flavorings used. While rare, mucosal irritations from toothpaste (i.e., ulceration, gingivitis, angular cheilitis, perioral dermatitis) are usually linked to flavorings or preservatives they contain.

Preservatives (0.05-0.5%)

E.g. Alcohols, benzoates, formaldehyde, and dichlorinated phenols are added to prevent bacterial growth on the organic binders and humectants.

Fluoride and other therapeutic agents

The majority of toothpaste combines the caries protection of fluoride with other therapeutic agents to control plaque, tartar, and gum disease. The inclusion of antibacterial agents can help individuals improve their plaque control. Many kinds of toothpaste include triclosan, which has been shown to offer a clinically useful improvement in gum health.
Other pastes specifically target "hardened plaque" (tartar) and use phyrosphosphate to inhibit the mineralization of dental plaque and hence the buildup of tartar (calculus).

Toothpaste with desensitizing agents is also available for sensitive teeth.