How Does Toothpaste Work?


We all know toothpaste is essential to clean teeth, but do you know how toothpaste works for your pearly whites? Take a look at the the best traits of toothpaste that make it an effective cleanser of our teeth.

No Matter the Type

A boy and girl brushing their teeth

Toothpastes come in many varieties from pastes to gels, from fruity to minty flavors, with some variation for those with especially sensitive teeth. Despite all the differences between toothpastes, they are all striving for one goal: to give you healthy teeth. Take a look at some common toothpaste traits, and how they work for your teeth.


This is the most important active ingredient found in toothpaste. Fluoride does a number of things to prevent tooth decay from happening. It directly affects tooth decay causing bacteria, preventing them from doing damage. In addition to this, fluoride is used to strengthen the teeth, particularly the dentin and enamel. If it wasn’t for fluoride, in terms of cavity prevention there would be little benefit to brushing your teeth.


Our toothpaste is made of a thicker substance than water. Binders are used to thicken it to a paste or gel consistency, keeping the form stable for our use. This texture allows us to spread the toothpaste onto our toothbrush, and keeps it manageable during brushing. There are different types of thickeners used, including seaweed colloids, xanthum gums, and more.

Mild Abrasives

a boy brushing his teeth

While it may seem counterintuitive for some, toothpaste contains mild abrasives to get the job done. These work to tackle food stains and debris that may have been left behind on the teeth. These abrasives must be mild, too light and they won’t get the job done yet too rough will do damage to the enamel of your teeth. Baking soda is one of the more common abrasives used in toothpaste.


Flavor is added not only to make brushing a more pleasant experience, but to help freshen our breath as well. Many mint flavors are used for adults to help freshen breath while fruity flavors are more often used in children’s toothpastes to make the prospect of brushing more appealing.


There are some ingredients in toothpaste specially used for whitening purposes. These ingredients are there to remove surface stains from the teeth, giving you a brighter and whiter smile. While there are some toothpastes that have similar ingredients to whitening treatments in the dentist’s office, they don’t work in the same way.

Toothpaste is crucial to your daily health routine. Make sure your toothpaste contains all the best traits, helping to keep your teeth clean.

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