Posted on 1/20/2019 by Dr Jonathan Ford
|Back in the day, people would brush their teeth by chewing on egg shells and finish off with powdered charcoal to neutralize odor. Black streaks over the teeth were seen as a sign of wealth, indicating that the bearer could afford the latest and best in dental technology.
Thankfully, times have changed and we have toothpaste that keeps your smile properly white. But what's in this paste, and how does it work to keep your teeth clean?
Borrowing from the past of chewing on shells, today's pastes use calcium carbonate and silica as abrasives. These are necessary to clean the surface of your teeth of detritus and food particles, while still being soft enough to not scratch and damage the enamel over time. Combined with a proper toothbrush, it can leave your teeth sparkling clean and polished.
Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which is also known as "nature's cavity fighter” by the American Dental Association. They also contain detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which causes the paste to bubble and foam, ensuring that the cleaning action gets into every nook and cranny of your teeth. For the same reason, humectants such as sorbitol are used in the paste to ensure an even, constant, ready-to-foam consistency with every pea-sized dollop of paste you squeeze out.
One of the biggest roadblocks in getting children and certain adults to properly maintain their dental hygiene is that the process isn't fun or tasty. This was especially a problem in the "charcoal and soap” days of brushing, which as you can imagine wasn't very pleasant to swish around inside your mouth.
Nowadays, most toothpastes are improved with sugar-free flavoring agents, such as mint or cinnamon extract, or fruit concentrates mixed with aspartame or other sweeteners. This encourages a healthy habit that doesn't leave you wanting to clean your mouth out after cleaning your mouth out.
There have been many advancements since the olden days of dental care, and many more to come. If you have any queries or concerns about your oral healthcare and the toothpastes you use, give us a call and we'll happily answer those for you.
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