Thank you for rejoining us this week as we continue on the topic of toothpaste. Our goal is to provide parents with facts and information on the ingredients commonly found in toothpaste products. Last week, you were provided details on three main products found in today’s toothpastes – fluoride, abrasives, and thickening ingredients.

childs teeth

This week, we will talk about the ingredients and basic facts of these dental health products. By knowing what is in your child’s toothpaste, you will be better able to choose the best products to ensure optimal oral health.

Flavoring Agents

If toothpaste only contained fluoride, abrasives, and thickening ingredients, they would not be very flavorful. This is why nearly all toothpastes contain flavoring agents. These agents are typically created from sweetening products, such as sorbitol and/or saccharin. There are several kids’ toothpastes that are actually created with fruit flavors so that sugar is eliminated from the product. If a product contains a type of sugar that is known to result in the development of tooth decay, the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association will not be on the product. These types of toothpastes should never be provided to children for use.

Water Loss Prevention Ingredients

There are products in toothpastes that act similar to thickening agents in that they aid in the prevention of water loss in the product. These are professionally referred to as “humectants”. These ingredients engage in the process of trapping the water that is present within the toothpaste so that the product has a smooth surface and is easily manipulated. The most common types of water loss prevention ingredients include glycerol, glycol, and sorbitol.

Anti-Foaming Agents

Toothpastes that are sold on the market today all contain anti-foaming agents. These are most often identified as “detergents”. These ingredients help to prevent the development and spread of foam during toothbrushing activities, or to slow the development of the foam that does develop. The most commonly used substance is sodium lauryl sulfate. This ingredient helps to drastically lower the tension during toothbrushing activities, helps to penetrate and loosen deposits that are found on the surface of the teeth, and help to completely eliminate the debris from the teeth. These agents do not irritate the oral tissues of the mouth. In most instances, the detergent used in toothpaste is pulled from coconut oil and/or the oil from palm kernel. The only instance when it may not be ideal to use a product containing sodium lauryl sulfate is when canker sores are present in the mouth.


Toothbrushing is considered both a hygienic necessity and a social necessity. Bacterial biofilm – also referred to as “plaque” – accumulates on the teeth every 12 to 24 hours. Brushing the teeth aids in eliminating this biofilm and also helps to prevent cavities, decay, bad breath, and the development of oral health diseases. When choosing a toothpaste for your child, you must simply look for the Seal of Acceptance offered by the American Dental Association. If you see this, you will know that it contains the safest of ingredients and will perform optimally to improve your child’s oral health.

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