What Makes Toothpaste So Effective?
We know – squeezing that cleaning gel over the bristles on your toothbrush isn’t enough to convince you about the so-called “cleaning powers” of toothpaste. And it’s good to be inquisitive towards the stuff you normally use.
You’ll be surprised to know what makes up toothpaste and what makes it so effective that you’ll brush your teeth longer than ever after reading this article.
First and foremost, the obviously advertised active ingredient of toothpaste is fluoride – sodium fluoride to be exact. This effective ingredient makes up only.25 to.30% of the entire gel. Sodium fluoride is an inorganic, colorless compound enhances our teeth’s defense against tartar by increasing the production and formation of fluorapatite, which is also found on tooth enamel (the outmost layer of our teeth). The logic of this is that fluoride is more of prevention than it is a solution.
Fluorapatite reinforces the strength of our tooth against plaque and cavity, and also giving them the superior white luster. And since enamel is white in natural form, the thicker it gets, the whiter our teeth become. People who complain about yellow teeth, but work tirelessly on their oral hygiene usually have a thin layer of enamel, making it translucent to display the second layer of the teeth, which is a yellow calcareous material called “dentin”.
A questionable organic compound that’s purporting to be helpful in ridding our teeth of bacteria and more importantly, gingivitis – is triclosan. Apart from fluoride, triclosan is also heavily advertised as a key ingredient on a lot of toothpaste brands with the slogan, “Proven to kill 99.99% of germs.” However, Triclosan’s antibacterial properties are being questioned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Be warned though, that triclosan – when mixed with the chlorine contents of tap water – will produce chloroform inside your mouth. Another thing to discuss is that triclosan has no proven effects in its presence in other cleaning agents: antibacterial soap, deodorants, and dishwashing products – is something to think about, really. No matter how toothpaste chemists advise us not to worry about the “diminutive” effects of triclosan, we still don’t want a solvent/anesthetic in our mouths, do we?
Hydrated silica is the gelatinous substance that you should owe the spotlessness of your teeth to. This substance works by polishing and scrubbing our teeth to a point where every cluster of bacteria is disintegrated. Unlike triclosan, hydrated silica has no adverse effects on the body even if it’s mixed with other compounds. It’s also responsible for the white color and odorlessness of toothpaste.
But what good is fluoride and hydrated silica without sorbitol. Yes, sorbitol. This sugar alcohol is the one responsible for the:
1.) Enjoyable taste of toothpaste
2.) Integrity of the ingredients of toothpaste
3.) The transparency of some toothpastes
4.) And more importantly, the fixed moisture of toothpaste under almost any temperature and humidity.
So there you have it, the key ingredients of toothpaste at a glance. I know what you’re thinking: toothpaste isn’t so boring after all!