Toothpaste Chemistry

Our day begins with Toothpaste. We have several toothpastes in the market and some toothpaste manufactures produce many types of toothpaste, each for a specific purpose. But only a few of us know which toothpaste suits us best !

A toothpaste is primarily used to clean our teeth and suppress bad smell (halitosis). Regular brushing  prevent plaque from turning into tartar and thus prevent tooth decay ( dental caries) and gum diseases ( gingivitis).

Ingredients :Normally a toothpaste contains mixtures of water, an abrasive, a detergent, a thickener, a humectant (moisturizer), and other ingredients such as flavoring agents, coloring, and sweeteners.

These are major part of a toothpaste. It consists of tiny insoluble particles which helps remove plaque and calculus from teeth.  Common abrasives are aluminnium hyderoxide (Al(OH)3), calcium carbonate  (CaCO3), various calcium hydrogen phosphates , silicas , zeolites and hydroxyapatite [Ca5(PO4)3OH].

Calcium Carbonate: It is the compound of which chalk is made, but the form used in toothpaste is not simply ground up chalk. The compound is chemically reformed into finer particles than those found in chalk.

Likewise, sand contains pure silica, but the form used in toothpaste is gentler than that in sand.

Harsher abrasives include : anhydrous dicalcium phosphate, zirconium silicate, crystalline silica, and pumice.

-Anhydrous dicalcium phosphate (CaHPO4): used as dietary supplement, dog treats, and enriched flour, and noodle product

-Zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4): A fine white mineral powder that is chemically inert and stable to very high temperatures. Insoluble in water, dilute acids and hot concentrate sulfuric acid

-Crystalline silica: basic component of soil, sand, granite and other minerals.

Those abrasives are commonly used by the dentist to remove tartar and stains.

Some European toothpastes even contain abrasives made of tiny granules of hard plastic.

Abrasives, like the dental polishing agents used in dentists’ offices, also cause a small amount of enamel erosion which is termed “polishing” action. Some brands contain powdered white mica, which acts as a mild abrasive, and also adds a cosmetically pleasing glittery shimmer to the paste. The polishing of teeth removes stains from tooth surfaces, but has not been shown to improve dental health over and above the effects of the removal of plaque and calculus.

The abrasive effect of toothpaste is indicated by its RDA value. Too high RDA values should be considered critical, and some dentists recommend toothpaste of an RDA value no higher than 50 for daily use.

What is Plaque? 

Plaque is a sticky substance that forms on teeth. It is made up primarily of common oral bacteria and their products. It also contains some saliva and components that dissolve from food onto the teeth

If plaque is not removed, the bacteria digest the sugar in foods and beverages to form a family of acids that slowly erode a tooth’s enamel (hard outer coating).

What is Tartar? 
Tartar, also called calculus, is a hard mineral substance that is chemically similar to tooth enamel.It forms along the gum line when calcium salts in saliva collect on the teeth along with dead bacteria in plaque Tartar above the gum line does not hurt the teeth, but because it quickly absorbs stains and turns brown, it is a cosmetic problem. Tartar below the gum line can cause gingivitis (inflamed gums), which may lead to periodontitis (loss of bone that supports teeth) and eventually loss of teeth.

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Other Components
Apart from the ingredients listed in my previous blog post, glycerol, sorbitol, xylitol, etc. are also added to a toothpaste. Variety of colors and flavors are used to attract the customers. However, unflavored toothpastes are also found. Hydroxyapatite nanocrystals and a variety of calcium phosphates are included for reformation of enamel.

It prevents toothpaste from drying out and helps maintain product consistency .In itself, glycerin is not toxic. The problem is that glycerin, when scrubbed onto the surface of teeth, leaves a residue that is hard to remove. You can rinse your mouth two to three dozen times to remove it.Calcium and phosphorus, minerals the teeth need which are normally present in our saliva, continually flow through of our teeth. Glycerin residue prevents this natural flow, the natural demineralization and remineralization process. This accelerates tooth decay and other dental problems.


It is used as a humectant and sweetener. A humectant traps water in the toothpaste so that when you squeeze the tube, you get a nice, smooth substance.Some brands of toothpaste are manufactured to become gel-like and have a more transparent colour. With sorbitol, toothpastes can be formed into gels that are transparent
glycol and glycerol .

*Glycol and glycerol also act as humectant.


Diethelyne glycol

Some use Diethelyne glycol as sweet-testing ingredient but it is now almost absent in toothpastes due to its toxic effect.

Diethylene Glycol

Propylene glycol

It is acts as a wetting agent and surfactant. But its not safe . It can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, with prolonged contact leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. Hence we must be very much alert about the composition of a toothpaste.

Propylene Glycol

DEA (diethanolamine)
DEA is found in many toothpastes. It helps to give foam like toothpaste. However, it has been found that it disrupts hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates. According to some experts repeated exposure of diethanolamine to skin may lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers. It can disrupt hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates.



Xylitol is a derivative of xylose – a crystalline aldose sugar that is not digestible.
It is widely used as a sugar substitute and in “sugar-free” chewing gums, mints, and other candies and  oral care products. The bacteria in the mouth that are causing cavities are unable to digest xylitol hence their growth is reduced. Since, Unlike sugar, xylitol is not converted into acids acid, the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall.Consequently, after taking xylitol, the bacteria do not stick well on the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases.

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Saliva that has xylitol is more alkaline than saliva stimulated by other sugar products. After taking xylitol products, the concentration of basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva and plaque may rise, and plaque pH rises as well. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start to move into those parts of enamel that are weak. Thus, soft, calcium-deficient enamel sites begin to harden again favour mineralization.


Strontium chloride or potassium nitrate

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Toothpastes meant for sensitivity add strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. These salts create blocking pathways through the teeth that attach to nerves inside the teeth. This is how they help to treat sensitivity.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an intensely white pigment toothpaste.It has a high refractive index and scatters light to create a very white product. It is widely used in toothpaste as whitening agent. . But it has also been recognised as a possible carcinogen.




Choosing a toothpaste is highly personal. Our toothpaste should contain ingredients which is needed for our good oral health. Flavour and other things are of secondary importance.
A toothpaste has variety of components, the most important being water ( 20-40%), abrasives, fluoride and detergents. Others are flavorants, remineralizers, whitening agents etc.

Abrasives are combination of aluminum oxide or aluminium hydroxide , calcium carbonate, various phosphates of calcium, or aluminum , silica, zeolite etc. particles . The most commonly used abrasives are : hydrated silica, calcium carbonate etc.

Abrasives form major part of a toothpaste.They remove plaque, food remnants, and stains and thus minimize the chance of cavity formation and periodontal disease.But, in addition to plaque removal, abrasives can also cause enamel erosion. This is why some brands use powdered white mica as mild abrasive.
Some manufacturers use modified silicone abrasive in whitening to help remove surface stains. Pyrophosphates and Zinc Citrate are often added in toothpaste to fight tarter.

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Polypropylene, poly-e-terephthalate, and polymethyl methacrylateis are tiny pieces of plastic that are also included in toothpaste as an abrasive. While these little plastic beads may help scrub plaque off your teeth, they also damage tooth enamel and become lodged in sensitive gum tissue. To make matters worse, they absorb both bacteria and industrial chemicals and are believed to be endocrine disrupters.

Antibacterial agents
Now the toothpastes are being designed to arrest gingivitis, or early gum disease. Antibacterial agents are used for this purpose. The common antibacterial used in toothpastes is triclosan. It attacks bacteria so that it can’t form plaque. . Though its efficacy is still questioned by some experts, but a toothpaste with this ingredient may be a good choice if you are suffering from gingivitis. Researches, however, have shown that Triclosan has carcinogenic effect. Doctors suggest that an average person doesn’t need triclosan containing product but it is recommended to patients with early signs of gum disease.


Zinc chloride is also known to prevent gingivitis and helps reduce tartar and bad breath.


Fluoride ( in the form of NaF, SnF2, Na2PO3F) is a common ingredient in most toothpastes It is used to help reduce tooth decay. It makes tooth enamel stronger and less likely to suffer damage from the acids released when bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars and starches left behind after you eat. Also, fluorides can reverse early stages of acid erosion by remineralizing areas of your teeth that have started to decay.

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Though the percentage of fluoride, in relation to the other ingredients, generally falls in the range of 0.1 to 0.6 percent, it’s toxic if swallowed in large amounts. That is why parents of young children are suggested to choose a paste with fluoride at the lower end of the scale. Most dentists recommend children under age six brush with a match-head-size amount of toothpaste. Kids older than six can use more because they tend not to swallow it.
Some suggest that a toothpaste containing sodium fluoride should be avoided because Sodium fluoride is a component used in rat poison.
Fluoride-Free Toothpaste
Some consumers are concerned about the buildup of fluoride in the body. Because drinking water in many areas is fluoridated, people now have more cavity protection than in the past. However, an excess amount of fluoride in the body can cause fluorosis, a demineralization of tooth enamel and bone. This is because fluoride accumulates in the body and does not biodegrade. Concerned about this, many people are turning to fluoride-free toothpaste, claiming that they receive enough fluoride in drinking water.

Most common detergent used in toothpastes is Sodium lauryl sulfate. It creates sudsy feeling when we brush and helps remove stains.
Here we must know that sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used in laundry detergents and in other cleaning supplies. Also, it has some use as a pesticide. It’s a thickening agent. It may also cause soft tissue damage and contribute to a range of systemic health issues, including cancer. Studies show that sodium lauryl sulphate can damage eyes, irritate skin and lead to labored breathing if its composition is not closely monitored. However, these findings aren’t conclusive and more research is needed to prove this link. I would suggest you not to use a toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulphate, unless your dentist is comfortable with the percentage of SLS in your toothpaste. A safe option is to go for a toothpaste without SLS. Though it is costly, but it would be far more better.
The other issue with the toothpaste containing SLS is the alteration of taste. Usually you have an unpleasant taste if you take a juice ( ornge juiceand other juices have) after using toothpaste.It can break down phospholipids that inhibit taste receptors for sweetness, giving food a bitter taste. In contrast, apples are known to taste more pleasant after using toothpaste. Distinguishing between the hypotheses that the bitter taste of orange juice results from stannous fluoride or from sodium lauryl sulfate is still an unresolved issue and it is thought that the menthol added for flavor may also take part in the alteration of taste perception when binding to lingual cold receptors.

To be continued …….


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A smile is one of the best qualities we should possess and it’s beautiful and attractive with glistering teeth with healthy gums. Many a times an attractive smile helps winning over many things. Also, a healthy oral situation keeps away from several physical implications. We should, therefore, be very much concerned about our oral health. A big part of that is brushing at least twice daily with the right toothpaste, but what if we can’t tell which one is the best ! Should we use a gel? a powder? a paste? Would whitening or fluoride fair better for your oral hygiene? Is ADA approval that important anyway?
There are a number of factors we should consider when tiptoeing through the toothpaste isle at our local grocery or departmental store. We must not risk our oral health by spending money on products whose suitability for the user is not well matched and that which are chemically not compatible. Each of us must know ( with the help of our dentist ) what composition is suitable for us. Its dangerous to use a toothpaste which is not approved by a dental association.
Whatever is the ingredients in our toothpaste, we shouldn’t be using it if it hasn’t been approved by the ADA or other authorities. An approved toothpaste by the ADA is evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent review board of scientific experts and that’s important!

Una sonrisa es una de las mejores cualidades que debemos poseer y es hermoso y atractivo con los dientes que brillan con las gomas sanas. Muchas veces una sonrisa atractiva ayuda a ganar en muchas cosas. Además, una situación oral saludable se mantiene alejada de varias implicaciones físicas. Por lo tanto, debemos estar muy preocupados por nuestra salud bucal. Una gran parte de eso es cepillarse al menos dos veces al día con la pasta de dientes derecha, pero ¿qué pasa si no podemos decir cuál es el mejor! ¿Debemos usar un gel? Un polvo Una pasta ¿El blanqueamiento o fluoruro sería mejor para su higiene oral? ¿La aprobación de la ADA es importante de todos modos?
Hay una serie de factores que debemos considerar cuando la punta de pie a través de la isla de pasta de dientes en nuestra tienda local de comestibles o departamentales. No debemos arriesgar nuestra salud bucal gastando dinero en productos cuya idoneidad para el usuario no está bien adaptada y que son químicamente no compatibles. Cada uno de nosotros debe saber (con la ayuda de nuestro dentista) qué composición es adecuada para nosotros. Es peligroso usar una crema dental que no es aprobada por una asociación dental.
Cualesquiera que sean los ingredientes de nuestra pasta de dientes, no deberíamos usarla si no ha sido aprobada por la ADA u otras autoridades. Una crema dental aprobada por la ADA es evaluada por la seguridad y la eficacia por una junta de revisión independiente de expertos científicos y eso es importante!

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Улыбка – одно из лучших качеств, которыми мы должны обладать, и это красиво и привлекательно с блестящими зубами со здоровыми деснами. Много раз привлекательная улыбка помогает завоевать многие вещи. Кроме того, здоровая оральная ситуация не учитывает некоторые физические последствия. Поэтому мы должны очень беспокоиться о нашем здоровье полости рта. Большая часть этого чистят по крайней мере два раза в день правильной зубной пастой, но что, если мы не можем сказать, какой из них лучший! Должны ли мы использовать гель? Порошок? Паста? Будет ли отбеливание или фторид лучше для вашей гигиены полости рта? Является ли утверждение АДА важным в любом случае?
Есть ряд факторов, которые мы должны учитывать, когда на цыпочках через остров зубной пасты в нашем местном продуктовом или департаменте. Мы не должны рисковать своим устным здоровьем, тратя деньги на продукты, чья пригодность для пользователя недостаточно согласована и химически несовместима. Каждый из нас должен знать (с помощью нашего дантиста), какая композиция подходит для нас. Его опасно использовать зубную пасту, которая не одобрена стоматологической ассоциацией.
Каковы бы ни были ингредиенты нашей зубной пасты, мы не должны использовать его, если он не был одобрен ADA или другими органами. Утвержденная зубная паста от ADA оценивается на предмет безопасности и эффективности независимым экспертным советом научных экспертов, и это важно!
Продолжение …….



Our day begins with washing our mouth and brushing our teeth. Some brush their teeth more than once, depending upon the requirement. In olden days people used natural means like table salt and mustard oil mixture, powdered charcoal mixed with table salt, brush made of neem twigs or some other medicinal plant* to clean their teeth. With the development of our knowledge people developed toothpaste. Now the use of a toothpaste is not limited to cleaning our teeth only but it has got cosmetic and therapeutic importance also. As a result the toothpaste industry has grown leaps and bounds. Now there are varieties of toothpastes in the market in a dizzying range of colours, flavors, and formulations. Just a few decades ago we had no choice but now it has become rather difficult to chose from the available list of toothpastes. Only a very few of us know what toothpaste to choose. Indeed it’s a daunting task to find a suitable toothpaste.
Its our general belief  that a toothpaste cleans our teeth and gums. But a toothpaste does more than what we know. In addition to cleaning our teeth and gums a toothpaste helps in suppressing halitosis ( bad smell ) and prevents dental caries and gingivitis ( gum disease ).
Though we have many benefits of use of a toothpaste, it is advised that a toothpaste should not be swallowed. It has been found that fluoride containing toothpaste is not harmful if swallowed in smaller amount. But one must seek doctor’s advice after swallowing abnormally larger amount. To be continued …..!

* Ayurveda suggests use of several kinds of pastes and brushes made of twigs of several medicinal plants , each for a specific purpose.


Nuestro día comienza con lavarse la boca y cepillarse los dientes. Algunos se cepillan los dientes más de una vez, dependiendo del requisito. En la antigüedad la gente usaba medios naturales como la sal de mesa y la mezcla de aceite de mostaza, carbón en polvo mezclado con sal de mesa, cepillo hecho de ramas de neem o alguna otra planta medicinal * para limpiar sus dientes. Con el desarrollo de nuestro conocimiento las personas desarrollaron pasta de dientes. Ahora el uso de una pasta de dientes no se limita a la limpieza de nuestros dientes solamente, pero tiene importancia cosmética y terapéutica también. Como resultado de la industria de pasta de dientes ha crecido a pasos agigantados. Ahora hay variedades de pastas dentales en el mercado en una gama vertiginosa de colores, sabores y formulaciones. Hace sólo unas décadas no teníamos otra opción, pero ahora se ha convertido en algo difícil de escoger de la lista disponible de pastas dentífricas. Sólo unos pocos de nosotros sabemos qué pasta de dientes elegir. De hecho, es una tarea desalentadora encontrar una pasta de dientes adecuada.
Es nuestra creencia general de que una pasta de dientes limpia nuestros dientes y encías. Pero una pasta de dientes hace más de lo que sabemos. Además de limpiar nuestros dientes y encías una pasta de dientes ayuda a suprimir halitosis (mal olor) y previene la caries dental y la gingivitis (enfermedad de las encías).
Aunque tenemos muchos beneficios del uso de una pasta de dientes, se aconseja que no se trague una pasta de dientes. Se ha encontrado que la pasta de dientes que contiene fluoruro no es dañina si se ingiere en menor cantidad. Pero uno debe buscar el consejo del doctor después de tragar una cantidad anormalmente más grande. Continuará …..!

* Ayurveda sugiere el uso de varios tipos de pastas y cepillos hechos de ramitas de varias plantas medicinales, cada uno con un propósito específico.


Almost everywhere in the world there comes an occasion ( once, twice, thrice…..) in a year when people celebrate the occasion with spectacular fireworks. 4th july is such an occasion in USA . Everyone, especially youth and children, enjoy the fantastic explosion and brilliant light displays of fireworks on this day in USA. Most of […] […]

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