Oral Health: Good toothpaste

What characterizes a good toothpaste? All promise protection against decay and paradontosis and whiter teeth. But what about the promises? Here's what you need to look out for when buying toothpaste.

Do you know that? You stand in front of the long shelf in the cosmetics department and ask yourself: Which toothpaste I take, which is the best and where is the difference between one and the other?

Good toothpaste: what's in it?

A commercial toothpaste contains certain ingredients that should fulfill their respective effect. Cleaning agents, humectants, binders, foaming agents, sweeteners, preservatives, flavorings, dyes and aqua. In addition, they should contain special therapeutic agents to prevent tooth decay, prevent gingivitis, inhibit calculus formation and desensitize hypersensitive tooth necks.


Cleaning particles are contained in a high proportion in every toothpaste. The most common are silicates. It can also be alumina trihydrate, calcium carbonate, insoluble (insoluable), sodium hexametaphosphate (IMP), silica or sodium bicarbonate. It aids cleaning with the toothbrush. The cleaning effect depends on the choice of the abrasive particles and their abrasiveness (= RDA value).

One of many possible decision criteria for the choice of a toothpaste is the abrasion with the RDA value. This value indicates the grinding effect of the toothpaste. While tooth enamel is extremely abrasive for tooth enamel, it can be very sensitive to the cervical area, especially if the tooth necks are exposed.

Especially with wrong cleaning technique, the emery substances cause wedge-shaped defects on the external tooth surfaces. But also removable dentures, z. B. Full dentures to replace all teeth, can be damaged by highly abrasive toothpastes. Normal toothpastes have values ​​between 60 and 80, RDA values ​​above 100 are to be rated as significantly too high, values ​​below 60 as good, under 40 as very good.


Humectants give the toothpaste its suppleness and protect it from dehydration.

The most commonly used humectants are: glycerin, sorbitol, xylitol and propylene glycol.


Binders are used as thickening and stabilizing agents. They prevent the separation of the moisture from the solid components of the paste.
The most commonly used binders are: alginate, carrageenan, methylcellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose.

Foaming agents / surfactants

Surfactants are washing-active substances that wash away deposited foreign substances on the tooth surface. Sodium laryl sulfate is the most common here, as it is tasteless and foams well. However, it has been scientifically proven that surfactants found in toothpaste, especially NLS, damage the oral flora, irritate the oral mucosa and lead to the formation of aphthae.

Furthermore, it has been shown that NLS damages only the beneficial bacteria in the mouth while containing streptococci. For a while, there is also sodium sulphate-free toothpaste. Other additives that can be dispensed with are flavorings, colorants, preservatives and sweeteners, as well as perfumes.


Sweeteners serve to improve the taste.

The most commonly used sweeteners are: saccharin, aspartame.


Flavors give the toothpaste a fresh and invigorating taste. As flavorings are often used: peppermint oil, clove oil, aniseed oil, fennel oil, menthol.


Dyestuffs are usually added to the toothpastes only in small amounts.

The most commonly used dyes are: titanium dioxide / white pigment, patent blue V, chlorophyllin, quinoline yellow.


Preservatives ensure the shelf life of toothpaste.

Preservatives are: methylparaben, propylparaben.

Special therapy supporting agents

These should also contain the toothpastes:

  • Protection against tooth decay: Special additives give the toothpastes their therapeutic support. To protect against caries fluorides such. B: sodium monofluorophosphate, amine fluoride, sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride added to the pastes.
  • Strengthen the gums :To strengthen the gums, aluminum lactate, azulene, vitamin A, herbal extracts (arnica, myrrh, sage and others), sea salt are used
  • Protection against calculus formation: To protect against calculus formation, some toothpastes are added with soluble phosphates, zinc citrate trihydrate, diphosphonates.
  • Protection against sensitive tooth necks: To protect sensitive tooth necks, potassium nitrate, strontium chloride, potassium chloride, fluoride compounds are added to special toothpastes. Investigations showed a clear reduction of symptoms to total freedom from pain in at least 60% of the test participants.

Pediatric toothpastes with reduced fluoride content

Children will be offered special pediatric toothpastes with reduced fluoride content (maximum 500 milligrams per kilogram). These toothpastes should be used from the breakthrough of the first deciduous tooth. It should be cleaned once a day, then twice daily, until the second birthday.

To brush your teeth should always be used only a pea-sized portion. From the beginning of school it is possible to clean with a toothpaste with the usual fluoride content of 1000 to 1500 milligrams per kilogram.

Toothpastes for white teeth

What makes tooth whitening toothpaste so special? Whitening toothpastes usually contain larger abrasive particles that attack the tooth hard substance and remove discoloration on the tooth surface. In order not to damage the tooth substance, this type of toothpaste should be used only occasionally.

On some teeth whitening toothpastes, the abrasion rate is stated as RDA value by the manufacturer. Values ​​around 40-80 RDA are recommended for daily use. According to experience and reports of my patients, the toothpaste Pearl & Dents has proven very good. This toothpaste has fine globules that gently remove the discoloration with a low RDA value of 45.

Picture credits: Victor Moussa / stock.adobe.com

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