As a dentistry student I should definitely know what the ingredients are in toothpaste. I'll tell you all about it, what the ingredients are and what they do.
I'll give you the basis composition of toothpaste:
20-40% Abrasives; a fine 'powder' to remove plaque
2-3% Preservatives and colorants
1-2% Detergents; this will make it foam in your mouth
1-2% Active ingredients (fluoride)
Like most cosmetic products, the first ingredient on the list is water. Look at your shampoos, foundations, body lotions, etc. And you'll see the first ingredient is water/aqua.
The abrasives help remove the plaque when you brush your teeth. For example CIF cream is an abrasive cleaners. It has tiny particles in it to polish the surface.
The fillers are added to create a nice consistancy. It doesn't function as an abrasive to remove plaque, but it's also a powder. They add the filler to make the tooth paste not as runny, but to give it that nice paste consistency.
Maybe it seems weird to add detergents to toothpaste, but the foaming makes the tooth brushing experience a lot better. SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) is the detergent that they usually use. You can find SLS in almost every shampoo. That's why you're shampoo foams, because of SLS. This is safe to use in the mouth, it's only a little amount and you spit it out.
The active ingredients are kindof hard to explain. I think some knowledge of chemistry is needed, but I'll try my best to explain.
There are multiple 'active ingredients' that can be added in toothpaste. Active ingredient means that it actively functions as something beneficial to your teeth. Fluoride is the most important active ingredient. (In your toothpaste you'll find it as a compound, for example; NaF -> sodium fluoride.)
Fluoride is a good caries protector, studies have shown that it succesfully prevents cavities.
I think I've written a good basic explanation about toothpaste. Hope you found it useful!
I found a helpful website, it answers the question; 'Does toothpaste expire?' And it gives a handy list of other things you can do with toothpaste.
- Do you brush your teeth twice a day? (I won't judge if you don't!, I don't always do that either :O...)
- Which toothpaste do you use?
- If you have any questions about this or the different kinds of toothpastes, ask them!