What ingredients are in toothpastes?
Toothpaste should contain fluoride to reduce tooth decay in children and adults. There are other ingredients that can be included. Tartar control toothpaste prevents tartar, above the gumline, from forming. The active ingredient of these toothpastes is based on the mechanism of action of a variety of pyrophosphates or zinc citrate. Desensitizing toothpaste can help block the pain of receding gums, which cause sensitivity to temperature extremes. The effective ingredient is potassium nitrate.
Toothpaste that contains Triclosan, an antimicrobial, is proven to reduce gingivitis. Baking soda can act as a mild abrasive in high enough concentrations. An advantage of baking soda as an ingredient is that if you like the taste or feel of these toothpastes, you're likely to brush more often and thoroughly. Abrasives help remove stains and plaque and polish the teeth. All ADA-accepted toothpastes contain a mild abrasive that, along with your toothbrush, helps to remove plaque (a sticky film of bacteria). Usually the abrasives are a type of silica.
Other ingredients commonly found in toothpastes help to make brushing a pleasant experience. Flavoring agents such as artificial sweeteners, peppermint, cinnamon or wintergreen improve the taste. Humectants prevent water loss. A binding agent or thickener gives the toothpaste body and keeps it from separating into solid and liquid. Foaming agents may be added to promote cleaning of the teeth.