How Does Toothpaste Work?

How Does Toothpaste Work?

The non-living objects that the new generation is using up to this day are things that their ancestors have passed down to them. Even though the scientific and technological industries continue to demonstrate great innovations at present, it does not erase the fact that their predecessors have created the foundations that they can gain inspiration from.

One of the essential items ever invented is the toothpaste, a dental cleaning tool which typically is in clear or colored gel form that foams up when the person begins brushing it on his or her teeth. Toothpaste commercials on the television often emphasize that children and adults alike need to brush their teeth two to three times a day in order to keep their gorgeous smiles and get rid of dental plaques. However, the real question is, how does toothpaste work?

So as to understand how this oral hygiene promoter can act against the tooth-decaying bacteria that stays in the mouth, one has to know all the important ingredients that can be found within the substance.


Every tube or box of toothpaste indicates that the product contains a compound that is composed usually of water-soluble sodium and fluoride. The former is an element that a lot of people are aware of, yet only a few know that the latter is the main active ingredient that makes this salt effective. In truth, this is a mineral that can be located in a natural manner from diverse fruits, vegetables, tea leaves, and fish. It is only half a century ago, however, when scientists have found a way to synthesize it and incorporate to a teeth-cleaning material.

Fluoride holds the ability to strengthen the enamel, or the outer layer of the tooth, so that the parts of it that have been weakened by the plaque can be rebuilt. People need to be directly applied to the surface as well because fluoride attaches itself to the teeth and constructs the scraped minerals once more. As this coats each tooth well, any bacteria or acid will no longer be able to affect it.

Abrading Agent(s)

The fluoride mineral cannot work on its own, can it? The substances that work hand in hand with this is the abrasive ingredients that are strong enough to take away the plaque and food or beverage stains which cover the teeth’s surface. The abrasives that manufacturers often utilize in toothpastes are the type that cannot abrade the enamel when it is being polished.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This is the same ingredient that creates foam in other cleaning agents like shampoo, soap, and detergent. The reason why it is included in the toothpaste is because foaming agents make it easier for the bits of food which are wedged into the gaps between teeth to slip out.


The most common humectant is called glycerin, and its ultimate role is to maintain the moisture and the texture of the toothpaste even when it is sealed off in a special container. This functions differently from desiccants which keep the components dry.

Thickening Agent

Thickeners are vital components of toothpaste, for the reason that without them the product can run off of the toothbrush and be wasted. Carboxymethylcellulose sodium, or cellulose gum, is a typical thickening agent that toothpaste creators use.


The preservatives found in the substance work similar to the preservatives that individual put in food since they both prevent bacteria from spoiling the items. Toothpaste, in particular, is prone to attracting microorganisms as the cap covering can always be open, thus exposing it to airborne substances. Yet, the fact that this already contains preservatives helps shield the toothpaste from bacteria.

Flavors and Colors

Eucalyptus and peppermint are the basic flavorings that manufacturers utilize for the cleaning agent because aside from tasting good, they freshen the breath as well. The coloring, on the other hand, adds to the overall appeal of the toothpaste.

The Brushing Technique

The question “How does toothpaste work?” can also be answered by the way that an individual brushes it onto the teeth. Dentists advice their clients to do it in up, down and circular movements for no longer than a minute in order for the abrasives, the fluoride, and the rest of the ingredients to clean the teeth.