What exactly is in a Tooth Paste? Let’s Find Out!

Most of you might have already wondered many times what exactly is in a Tooth Paste that helps us fight off the bacteria and prevent us from having any kind of dental disease. The contents of the tooth paste are actually categorized into two types. They are

  • Active Ingredients
  • Inactive Ingredients

Active Ingredients are the crucial elements of the toothpaste as they are the soldiers that fight off the harmful bacteria and the gum diseases or infections thus keeping our teeth safe and healthy round the clock. Inactive ingredients, though do not take part in the above mentioned fight, will provide flavor and texture along with quite a few functions and without them, it would be very difficult for us to put the paste on our teeth. Let us see in detail what these ingredients are and what their individual functions are.


This is the most vital and active ingredient of any good tooth paste. This strengthens the layer that protects our tooth, the “Enamel”, and helps it fight off the cavities and bacteria that causes tooth decay. There are a few tooth pastes around that does not contain this ingredient but it is globally accepted that this is a standard element that makes any tooth paste effective.


These belong to the inactive ingredient category. Though these do not play any active part in fighting off the bacteria, they are still considered important elements of the tooth paste as they eliminate or remove the food debris and other particles stuck in between the teeth and gums as well as the stains caused by some dark colored liquids. While the most common and typical compounds used in the abrasives are calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels,and hydrated aluminum oxides, minor amounts of magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, and silicates are also used.


Did you ever wonder why even after days or months after purchasing, your tooth paste is smooth as ever? This is because of ingredients called “Humectants”. The major functioning of these Humectants is to preserve the water content in the tooth paste and retain the smoothness for very long. The humectants used in tooth pastes usually are glycerol, sorbitol, propylene, and glycol.


Also known as Thickening agents, these are used to stabilize the formula of the tooth paste and preserve its functionality. Mineral colloids, natural gums, seaweed colloids or synthetic cellulose are the majorly used binders in tooth paste.

Flavor Agent

The most important thing to note about flavor agents in tooth pastes is that even though they seem sweet when you apply to the teeth, they do not actually contain sugar. The major flavor agent used in almost any tooth paste is “Saccharin”. Though sweeteners are sometimes used in tooth pastes, especially in children’s teeth products, decay causing sugars are never used.


Detergents cause the foaming when you brush your teeth. The foaming here indicates that the tooth paste is effectively doing its job. The major detergent used in tooth paste is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate while some tooth pastes include Sodium N-Lauryl Sarcosinateas well.

Clarifying Color Coding in Tooth Pastes

Have you ever observed a small strip of color at the end of the tooth paste packaging? Have you wondered what that is all about? Well, if you think that this color has something to do with the individual contents or specific ingredients of the tooth paste, then you are wrong.

Most of you might have learned from someone or somewhere that the color ‘Green’ means that it is an all-natural tooth paste, blue means that the tooth paste contains natural and medicinal properties, red means that it contains a mix of natural and chemical ingredients, and finally black means that it is purely chemical. But this is a completely wrong notion. Let us see what they actually signify.

These colored strips are just indicators of the type of manufacturing process of a tooth paste. The packets while manufacturing can either be folded or cut as interlocking units stream through high speed machinery. These particular marks indicate whether the package is folded or cut type. Light beam sensors are used to detect what kind of making it is.

And the colors are not limited to the ones mentioned above. Different products use different colors to indicate the type of light sensor and different kind of packaging method used. They also simply indicate which side is which of the tooth paste while manufacturing and all the names and information appear on the desired side of the packaging.

Now that you know what a good tooth paste essentially consists of, try checking the ingredients of the tooth paste you buy which will be mentioned on the box. See for yourself if it consists of all these ingredients mentioned and you can identify them by just reading what’s mentioned on it and not by color code!

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