Toothpaste is a paste or gel dentifrice used with a toothbrush to clean and maintain the aesthetics and health of teeth. Toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene: it is an abrasive that aids in removing dental plaque and food from the teeth, assists in suppressing halitosis, and delivers active ingredients (most commonly fluoride) to help prevent tooth decay (dental caries) and gum disease (gingivitis).
Owing to differences in composition and fluoride content, not all toothpastes are equally effective in maintaining oral health. The decline of tooth decay during the 20th century has been attributed to the introduction and regular use of fluoride-containing toothpastes worldwide. Large amounts of swallowed toothpaste can be toxic. Common colors for toothpaste include white (sometimes with colored stripes or green tint) and blue.
Toothpaste is derived from a variety of components, learn about on these varieties with PK Halder. The three main ones are abrasives, fluoride, and detergent.
Abrasives constitute 8-20% of a typical toothpaste. These insoluble particles are designed to help remove plaque from the teeth. The removal of plaque inhibits the accumulation of tartar (calculus) helping to minimize the risk of gum disease. Representative abrasives include particles of aluminum hydroxide (Al(OH)3), calcium carbonate (CaCO3), magnesium carbonate(MgCo3), sodium bicarbonate, various calcium hydrogen phosphates, various silicas, and zeolites, and hydroxyapatite (Ca5(PO4)3OH).
Fluoride in various forms is the most popular and effective active ingredient in toothpaste to prevent cavities. Fluoride is present in small amounts in plants, animals, and some natural water sources. The additional fluoride in toothpaste has beneficial effects on the formation of dental enamel and bones. Sodium fluoride (NaF) is the most common source of fluoride, but stannous fluoride (SnF2), and sodium monofluorophosphate (Na2PO3F) are also used.
At similar fluoride concentrations, toothpastes containing stannous fluoride have been shown to be more effective than toothpastes containing sodium fluoride for reducing the incidence of dental caries and dental erosion, as well as reducing gingivitis.
Many, although not all, toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or related surfactants (detergents). SLS is found in many other personal care products as well, such as shampoo, and is mainly a foaming agent, which enables uniform distribution of toothpaste, improving its cleansing power.
Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, is a common toothpaste ingredient in the United Kingdom. Triclosan or zinc chloride prevent gingivitis and, according to the American Dental Association, helps reduce tartar and bad breath. A 2006 review of clinical research concluded there was evidence for the effectiveness of 0.30% triclosan in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Another Cochrane review in 2013 has found that triclosan achieved a 22% reduction in plaque, and in gingivitis, a 48% reduction in bleeding gums.
Toothpaste comes in a variety of colors and flavors, intended to encourage use of the product. The three most common flavorants are peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen. Toothpaste flavored with peppermint-anise oil is popular in the Mediterranean region. These flavors are provided by the respective oils, e.g., peppermint oil. More exotic flavors include Anethole anise, apricot, bubblegum, cinnamon, fennel, lavender, neem, ginger, vanilla, lemon, orange, and pine. Alternatively, unflavored toothpastes exist.
Herbal and natural toothpastes
Companies such as Tom’s of Maine, among others, manufacture natural and herbal toothpastes and market them to consumers who wish to avoid the artificial ingredients commonly found in regular toothpastes. Many herbal toothpastes do not contain fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate.
The ingredients found in natural toothpastes vary widely but often include baking soda, aloe, eucalyptus oil, myrrh, chamomile, calendula, neem, toothbrush tree, plant extract (strawberry extract), and essential oils. A systemic review in 2014 found insufficient evidence to determine whether the aloe vera herbal dentifrice can reduce plaque or improve gingival health, as the randomized studies were found to be flawed with high risk of bias.
According to a study by the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, many of the herbal toothpastes being sold in India were adulterated with nicotine.
Charcoal has also been incorporated in toothpaste formulas; however, there is no evidence to determine its safety and effectiveness. A 2020 systematic metareview of 24 comparative Randomised controlled trials, involving 1,597 adults aged 18 to 65, showed herbal toothpaste was superior over non-herbal toothpaste, but not to fluoride toothpaste.