What is inside your normal toothpaste?
According to the picture above, the ingredients in the toothpaste are :
· Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate
· Dicalcium Phosphate
· Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
· Sodium Monofluorophosphate
· Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate
· Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate
· Sodium Saccharin
Dicalcium phosphate is also known as calcium monohydrogen phosphate. It is usually found in dehydrate form with the chemical formula CaHPO4.2H2O. This toothpaste contains both dicalcum phosphate in dehydrate form and in anhydrous form. Anhydrous form is the chemical formula without water. It is practically insoluble in water in its anyhydrous form. The usage of dicalcium phosphate is to eliminate the odor inside the mouth. Although there are some research conducted that says that dicalcium phosphate would cause cancer in long term usage, however, there are no concrete evidence.
Sodium monoflourophosphate is an inorganic compound with the formula Na2FPO3.
Sodium monoflourophosphate is odourless, colourless and water-soluble. The abbreviation used for sodium monoflourophosphate is MFP. MFP is claimed to protect tooth enamel from bacterial attack that causes cavities.
Sodium lauryl sulfate(SLS) or the formula C12H25SO4Na is an anionic surfactant in many cleaning and hygienic-related products. The molecule has a tail of 12 carbon atoms and having a sulfate group being attached to it. This gives the molecule the amphiphilic properties. Amphiphilic can also mean amphipathic which means having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic region or lipophilic ( fat –loving molecule).
SLS in toothpaste may cause aphthous ulcers or also known as canker sores. Using SLS free toothpaste can reduce the sores. However, research shown that SLS can represent a potential effective microbide, inhibiting infected by viruses such as Herpes and HIV.
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol. It is white odorless and a sweet-tasting powder. It has two thirds the calories of sugar and it is poorly absorbed by the body. Therefore, it does not raise the insulin level as much as normal sugar and it also does not promote tooth decay.
Sorbitol used in toothpaste is to give the sweet flavor as the taste. Sorbitol is said to be very stable and chemically unreactive. It functions well in toothpaste as it combines well with certain ingredients.
Why do I say that sorbitol is poorly absorbed by the body? This is because sorbitol is resistant to metabolisms by oral bacteria which break down sugars and starch that releases acids that could lead to cavities or tooth decay.
Tetrasodium pyrophosphate can also be known as sodium pyrophosphate, is a slightly toxic and mildly irritating transparent chemical compound with formula Na4P2O7. It contains the pyrophosphate ion where toxicity is approximately twice of table salt. The usage of tetrasodium pyrophosphate in toothpaste is to actually eliminate tartar. It serves to remove calcium and magnesium from the saliva and preventing them from being deposited on the teeth.
Carrageenan comes from algae or seaweed. Carrageenan is a highly versatile ingredient suitable for use in food and nonfood products. The function of carrageenan in toothpaste is to provide structure without masking the flavours, and it is resistant to enzyme breakdown.
Glycerin is a thick and colourless liquid that has a sweet taste and is use widely in many cosmetic products. Glycerin in toothpaste makes the paste creamy and sweetens the toothpaste at the same time. Due to its sticky characteristic, when one brushes their teeth, the glycerin would coat itself over the teeth. There are proclaims that glycerin is bad for the teeth as it coats the teeth, it prevents nutrients from being absorbed by the teeth.
Flavor gives the toothpaste the slight taste and there is also presence of water in the toothpaste. Many do not realize but you can even brush your teeth before wetting your toothbrush, because of the water content in your toothpaste.
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is an ionic surfactant derived from sarcosin, used as a cleansing agent in toothpaste, cleaning off all the bacteria that is lingering around the gum or teeth.
Sodium Saccharin is an artificial sweetener. The substance contains benzoic sulfimide and is sweeter that sucrose but, it has an unpleasant bitter or metallic after taste. Now this is why when you taste your toothpaste, it would be a bit tangy sweet but in turn taste bitter. Even so, saccharin is unstable when heated but it doesn’t react chemically with other food ingredients.
Now you know what is in your toothpaste, remember to check your labels next time to double confirm in what you’re using in your daily life! Next time, try and avoid toothpaste that contains SLS.
Have a great day =)
Piret J, Désormeaux A, Bergeron MG. (2002). "Sodium lauryl sulfate, a microbicide effective against enveloped and nonenveloped viruses.". Curr Drug Targets 3 (1): 17–
Calorie Control Council, 2010, Sorbitol, Adapted from : http://www.caloriecontrol.org/sweeteners-and-lite/polyols/sorbitol, Accessed on 21 March 2010
Tetrasodium pyrophosphate,2010, Adapted from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrasodium_pyrophosphate, Accessed on 22March 2010
Sodium Saccharin, Adapted From: http://sci-toys.com/ingredients/sodium_saccharin.html
Accessed on 22 March 2010
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, 2010, Adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_lauroyl_sarcosinate, Accessed on 22 March 2010
Carrageenan, 2010, Adapted from http://www.micchem.com/products/Carrageenan.htm, accessed on 22 march 2010
Beauty routine that works, 2008, glycerin in toothpaste, adapted from http://beautyroutinethatworks.blogspot.com/2008/03/glycerin-in-toothpaste.html , accessed on 22 march 2010
Sodium monofluorophosphate, 2010, Adapted from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_monofluorophosphate, accessed on 22 march 2010
Christensen, 2010, What is Carrageenan? Adapted from : http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-carrageenan.htm, accessed on 22 March 2010
Toothpaste, 2010, Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toothpaste#Ingredients_and_flavors, Accessed 22 March 2010