What is in a tooth paste?

What is in a tooth paste?

I have yet to find a toothpaste with fluoride AND the rest being derived from organic production. I have seen some ”natural” tooth pastes but they invariably skip the fluor. And I want that it in my tooth paste especially since my dentist told to eat fluoride pills. But then I prefer to have the fluoride in the mouth and teeth and not circulating around my body. So, tooth paste with fluor it is...

I just bought Aquafresh Flúor Branqueadora that contains in the order of the list:

Used as solvent

Hydrated silica
Is used as a thickening agent.
Present as microparticles? If yes, will polish the enamel.

Is sugar first found in birch trees. It is used an emulsifier, ie enhances foaming. Also helps to give consistency of the tooth paste and it is generally believed to have a bacteriostatic effect.

Pentasodium triphosphate
Used to adjust viscosity ie consistency and also can make complexes (with what?).
CAS: 7758-29-4
Class I water pollutant (weakly water polluting).
Will normally be hydrolysed into orthophosphates and act as source of phosphates to water sewage which can lead to eutrophication of lakes and water ways since it is normally not collected in sewage plants.

Thickener, hygroscopic

Poly-Ethylene glycol with 6 repeating units.
Used as emulsifier, is easily dissolved in water.

Sodium lauryl sulfate
Detergent, helps clean the teeth. Some believe that it can cause increased sensitivity and permeability of the mucus membranes in the mouth.
IUPAC: sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS).
CAS: 151-21-3

Can be anything ...

Titanium dioxide
Is an opacifier that gives white colour.
Probably in microparticle form so will help to polish the enamel of teeth.
CI 77891.
CAS: 13463-67-7

Xanthan gum
Used as thickener.
Biodegradable biopolymer, factory produced by bacterial fermentation.

Sodium hydroxide
Alkaline, ie helps to increase the pH of the mouth that in turn can help to prevent enamel decay.

Sodium saccharin
Artificial sweetener.

Sodium Fluoride
Source of fluorine ions.
Which is generally believed to be good to maintaining enamel integrity.

Is a terpene that gives orange flavour.
CAS 5989-27-5
Limonene is listed in annex 1 of the directive 67/548/EEC under index number 601-029-00-7 [2]. The pure substance is classified as irritant (Xi) and dangerous for the environment (N).

CI 73360
Probably colour agent.
Red 30
CAS: 2379-74-0
IUPAC: 6-Chlor-2-(6-chlor-4-methyl-3-oxobenzo[b]thien-2(3H)-yliden)-4-methylbenzo[b]thiophen-3(2H)-on

CI 74160
Probably colour agent
IUPAC: Tetrabenzo-5,10,15,20-diazaporphyrinphthalocyanin
CAS: 147-14-8

CI 74260
Probably colour agent
Polychloro copper phthalocyanine.
CAS: 1328-53-6

Consistency regulators:
Hydrated silica
Pentasodium phosphate
Xantham gum

CI 73360
CI 74160
CI 74260

Polishing agents:
Titanium dioxide ?
Hydrate silica ?

Sodum saccharin (sweetener)
+ unknown ingredients

Surface active and detergents:
Sodium lauryl sulfate
Pentasodium phosphate (by complexation?)

My suggestions:
- Use fewer consistency agents and skip the phosphates!
- Skip the Limonene and sodium saccharine.
- There probably are better options for colouring agents (ie the replace the CI).
- I am not sure what gives the polishing effect, but one ingredient should be enough.

Which leaves us with:
Thickener – one should be enough
Sodium fluoride (or other source of fluorine)
Detergent – one should be enough
Flavour – use Mentha × piperita from organic production!

Sorbitol, thickener, detergent and flavour can all be derived from organic production. With maximum of ca 1400 ppm of fluorine it should be very possible to make a tooth paste that can be eco-labelled (at least according to the hopefully upcoming EU regulations).
Still, such a beauty could probably be approved by the Swedish Bra Miljöval (Good Environmental Choice) ecolabel, under its general classification of “chemicals” under its rules of biodegradability and non-toxicity.

This is where I found most of the info:


At August 05, 2006, Blogger Siel said...

What about Tom's of Maine stuff? I haven't looked at all the details, but might be worth a look --

At August 06, 2006, Blogger Johan said...

Hi Siel,
yep, i have heard read about Toms of Maine but not seen their stuff for sale in neither Portugal nor Sweden.

The UK based Kingfisher have the same kind of tooth paste, ie all organic ingredients are plant derived and all inorganic all from ore. I have seen Kingfisher in Sweden were I bought a batch of toothpaste but my private stash just ran out.

But neither Toms of Maine nor Kingfisher claim that they use ingredients derived from organic production, although I think both claim to use non-GMO ingredients.


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