Toothpaste: What Are We Really Putting In Our Mouths? 

Brushing our teeth is almost an unconscious activity that we fit in to our morning and evening routines every day; but what many of us likely don’t think about is the type of toothpaste we are using. 

According to the Australian Dental Association, one in three Australians over the age of 15-years-old have tooth decay which could be prevented, which is why the toothpaste we choose plays a very important part in our dental health.

Walking into the toothpaste aisle at the supermarket can be overwhelming, with several different brands to choose from which claim to provide all sorts of dental benefits. So, ow do we know which one to choose? 

Firstly, we should start by differentiating between medical and cosmetic grade toothpaste. Some toothpastes may claim to have whitening ingredients while others might claim to provide cavity protection. For some people whitening ingredients could contain bleach and may cause enamel damage. 

All toothpastes contain different ingredients which all, for the most part, do the same jobs. One of the most common ingredients is fluoride.

While fluoride has been detected in our drinking water, according to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian, most toothpastes contain around 1,000 times more fluoride than drinking water. 

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“In water were talking about one part per million, it varies place to place, in toothpaste were usually looking at between a thousand and 1,500 parts per million fluoride,” she said. 

The fluoride is often combined with sodium, which helps to prevent tooth decay by mineral exchange, a process which helps to build enamel on the teeth. 

Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian breaks down the science behind toothpaste, revealing what chemicals we are putting in our mouths on the daily and whether there is a purpose to the colour and flavour in our favourite toothpastes. 

Tune into the full episode of The Science Briefing below…

Introducing The Science Briefing: a podcast about the science of everything and your new go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine. Hear The Science Briefing on the LiSTNR app now.