Everyday our teeth are attacked by the food we consume. Be it coffee, fruit, candy, or even bread, the foods we eat have a large effect on our overall oral health. Food produces acidic byproducts that eventually attack the outer layer of our teeth. Thankfully, this process can be reversed by simply brushing your teeth.  So, let’s take a closer look at what ingredients play a major role in our toothpaste and how we can reverse the effects of the foods we eat.

Some of the main components found in most toothpastes are—Abrasives, Textures, Foam, Preservatives, Tasting Agents, and Fluoride.

Abrasives are an important composition of toothpastes, as they not only remove surface stains that appear from beverages like coffee, tea and wine but also break down plaque left on our teeth from breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The abrasives in toothpaste must be tough enough to breakdown plaque, but gentle enough to prevent damage of our enamel.

Textures, or thickeners, are also important, as this is what retains the moisture while we brush.  Many toothpastes use cellulose gum as a thickener to prevent the toothpaste from drying out. This allows the paste to stay on our teeth throughout the two-minute brush.

Foam, another crucial component, allows the paste to dislodge the plaque and debris from our teeth. Some toothpastes contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) as their chemical foaming agent, which can irritate existing allergies, or canker sores. Although SLS is a safe and effective ingredient, if you suffer from frequent canker sores, there are alternative foaming agents used in other toothpastes.

Preservatives are added to increase the shelf life of the toothpaste. Any brand with an ADA seal of approval contains safe and effective preservatives.

Tasting Agents are the favorite ingredient of all patients. As you would guess, the tasting agent is what brands offers to provide a more appealing taste.

Fluoride is not only a dentist’s best friend, but quite possibly the most important ingredient.  Toothpastes are known as the reversal agents in tooth decay.  The ingredient that effectively plays a role in this reversing effect is fluoride. Fluoride not only makes our teeth stronger, but replaces the major minerals lost by the acidic byproducts of our food.  By replenishing the minerals, such as calcium and phosphate, our teeth become re-mineralized and more resistant to future decay.

To learn more about how cavities are formed, read our previous Daily Diary entry.