How Does Toothpaste Really Clean Your Teeth?

Dr. Ash Sagar

It’s something each of us do every morning and night—brush our teeth.

But what is it that actually gets our teeth clean? Is toothpaste just a magical, minty gel that keeps us cavity free?

Well, kind of. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients in most toothpastes and what they actually do to keep our teeth clean.

1. Fluoride: Most toothpastes on the market today have some amount of fluoride in them. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay and makes our enamel more resistant to acids caused by bacteria.

2. Detergents: These ingredients help to create the ‘foam’ you may be familiar with as you brush your teeth. Foam helps to loosen up debris that may be lodged in your teeth, and also feels nice in your mouth. The most common detergent is sodium lauryl sulphate.

3. Abrasives: These ingredients exist to help scrub away stains as well as plaque, however, they should always be gentle enough to do so without damaging your teeth and gums. If you look at your toothpaste tube, you might find calcium carbonate and silica listed—these are abrasives.

4. Thickeners: Ever wonder why some toothpastes are so plump and stay on your toothbrush easily after squeezing? That’s because of thickeners. Thickeners like cellulose gum add texture to the paste.

Of course, using toothpaste isn’t the only thing you should do to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. What else is great for your teeth? Maintaining your regularly scheduled dental visits with us.

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