Before you can understand how toothpaste works, it’s a good idea to take a look inside your mouth. Toothpaste is designed to combat problems caused by bacteria. The mouth is full of bacteria at all times, but the amount of bacteria in the mouth increases when you eat. If you eat starchy or sugary foods the bacteria start to produce plaque acids, which are harmful for the teeth as they attack the enamel surfaces and increase the risk of erosion and decay. Volatile sulphur molecules are responsible for bad breath, also known as halitosis, and one of the major roles of toothpaste is to prevent this.
Toothpaste does a lot more than simply giving our pearly whites a shiny glow. It also:
- Removes plaque
- Strengthens the teeth
- Prevents plaque growth
The ingredients in toothpaste have the following functions:
Detergents are responsible for the foaming action when you brush your teeth. They remove food debris and plaque from the mouth and also give the mouth a fresh, clean feeling.
Abrasives are responsible for polishing the teeth and removing stains and plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. It is important that abrasives are strong enough to remove plaque but not so powerful that they damage the enamel covering of the teeth. Examples of abrasives include silica and calcium carbonate.
Preservatives are designed to prevent bacteria and plaque growth.
Flavourings and colourings are used to give toothpaste flavour and colour to make it more appealing. The most popular flavour is mint, but there are many others available, especially for young children.
Humectants are important for keeping toothpaste moist.
Organic ingredients are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people try to live a greener lifestyle. Natural ingredients such as peppermint, clover oil, aloe vera and fennel are often used.
Visit your dentist today to learn more about what oral healthcare products are best suited to your individual requirements.