Things You Didn’t Know About Toothpaste

Things You Didn't Know About Toothpaste

Most people don’t think about their toothpaste beyond the basics: it cleans teeth, helps keep them from getting cavities, and leaves a minty fresh taste in your mouth. However, there is a lot more to toothpaste than that! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the things that you may not know about toothpaste. We’ll start by defining what toothpaste is and what its various components are. Then we’ll talk about dentin abrasivity (RDA) and how to choose a toothpaste that is right for you. Finally, we’ll give you some fun facts about toothpaste!

Toothpaste is a gel or paste that is used to clean teeth. It typically contains abrasives, humectants, flavoring agents, thickening agents, detergent, water, fluoride, whiteners, desensitizers, and tartar protection agents.


Abrasives are the particles in toothpaste that help to clean your teeth by scrubbing away plaque and food debris. The most common abrasives are calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, and sodium bicarbonate.

RDA stands for Relative Dentin Abrasivity. It is a measure of the abrasiveness of toothpastes on dentin, which is the hard tissue that makes up the majority of your tooth. The RDA scale ranges from 0 to 250. Toothpastes with an RDA of 70 or below are considered low abrasive, while those with an RDA of 80 or above are considered high abrasive.


Humectants are added to toothpaste to keep it from drying out. Glycerin and sorbitol are two of the most common humectants used in toothpaste.

Flavoring Agents

mint, powder, and toothbrush

Flavoring agents are added to toothpaste to give it a pleasant taste. Common flavoring agents include mint, menthol, and wintergreen.

Thickening Agents

Thickening agents are added to toothpaste to give it a desired consistency. Common thickening agents include xanthan gum and carbomer.


Detergent is added to toothpaste to create a foaming action that helps to clean your teeth. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the most common detergent used in toothpaste.


Water is added to toothpaste to create a desired consistency. In fact, a large majority of toothpaste is water.

fluorite rock


Fluoride is added to toothpaste to help prevent cavities. It works by keeping the enamel properly mineralized to prevent erosion. Not all toothpastes contain fluoride, however it is recommended by the American Dental Association to use a fluoridated toothpaste.


Whiteners are added to toothpaste to help remove stains from teeth. The most common whitener used in toothpaste is hydrogen peroxide.


Desensitizers are added to toothpaste to help reduce sensitivity. The most common desensitizer used in toothpaste is potassium nitrate.

Tartar Protection Agents

Tartar protection agents are added to toothpaste to help prevent tartar buildup on teeth. The most common tartar protection agent used in toothpaste is pyrophosphates.

blue toothpaste

Toothpaste Facts

  • Toothpaste was first invented by the Egyptians in around 5000 BC. It was a tooth powder made of ox hooves, myrrh, eggshells, and pumice that were all burned into ash.
  • The first toothpaste that was commercially available was made in jars by Colgate in 1873.
  • In 1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield invented the toothpaste tube.
  • In the 1890s, fluoride was first added to toothpaste. However, it did not become popular until the mid 1950s.
  • The average person uses about six tubes of toothpaste per year.

In Conclusion

In this blog post, we discussed some of the things that you may not know about toothpaste. We defined what toothpaste is and listed its various components. Finally, we gave you some fun facts about toothpaste! Hopefully this blog post has given you a greater appreciation of toothpaste. Thanks for reading!

Dr. Sisko

Dr. Gerald Sisko graduated from Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 1987. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, and the Akron Dental Society where he is currently holding a council position. He has had the honor and distinction of being awarded “TOP DENTIST” in Akron and Cleveland as well as Northeast Ohio for the last several consecutive years.


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