We are looking for something in our bathroom cabinet. It could be shaving cream, under-eye moisturizer, or even bandaids. What do we find? A brand new tube of toothpaste stuck all the way in the back. Wow, this is my favorite toothpaste. But wait, when did I buy this? Was it in my senior year of high school or when I got married? Best to look at the box and see if there is an expiration date. Depending upon the brand, toothpaste typically expires in 18-24 months.
What Actually Expires?
1. Active ingredients cannot be preserved forever
2. Fluoride is the most important of the active ingredients:
- It makes enamel harder and more resistant to decay.
- Fluoride decreases bad bacteria that form plaque which leads to decay and periodontal disease.
3. Abrasives which remove stains
4. Flavoring: The better it tastes, the more apt a person will use it.
5. Anti-sensitivity agents: Especially good in cases of gum recession.
6. Moisturizer which keeps the toothpaste moist so that it can spread easily.
5. Detergent used to remove stains
6. Peroxide that makes teeth appear whiter.
7. Antimicrobials used to prevent plaque build-up.
8. Thickening Agents
Why is Expired Toothpaste Bad?
1. If a toothpaste tube is not capped properly, bacteria can grow.
2. If a toothpaste tube is left open in the cabinet with other products, there could be a change in the flavor.
3. Ingredients can separate over time.
4. Extreme changes in temperature or excessively hot and cold temperatures can make the toothpaste go bad.
5. If water enters the tube it can decrease the effectiveness of the toothpaste.
6. Bacteria can spread from toothbrushes to toothpaste.
7. If a toothpaste tube is punctured, do not use it.
How To Keep Toothpaste Fresh
1. Keep in the box until ready to use
2. Store in a cool dark place
3. Observe the expiration date on the box
4. Cap when finished
5. Don’t touch opening with fingers
6. Do not touch toothbrush to opening
7. Store in a cabinet so the tube isn’t exposed to the air of the bathroom
8. Replace toothbrushes (small soft heads) every 3-4 months
9. Buy plastic container rather than tube
10. Store tube so that there is air only on one side of the tube
11. Use tube flattener so paste isn’t spread out
12. If you experience OCD. make a note on your phone as to when you opened toothpaste.
What To Do If Your Toothpaste Expires
1. In general, expired toothpaste will not hurt you (except for rare instances of bacteria or fungi).
2. What happens when active ingredients lose their effectiveness?
- Fluoride ions are diminished
- Flavor can taste nasty
- Consistency can dry out make it harder to spread across teeth
3. OTHER USES another than in the mouth:
- Polish metal
- Use to clean bathroom sink
- Remove crayon from walls
- Remove gummy residue i.e.iron
- Buff fingernails
Remember when in doubt, throw it out. Toothpaste is an inexpensive item to purchase.
Tips For Oral Hygiene
1. Brush 2x daily for two minutes each time.
2. Use a small-headed, soft bristle brush.
3. Floss 1x daily, preferably before bedtime.
4 Decrease amount of sugar (refined carbohydrates in diet).
5. Don’t smoke.
6. Decrease your alcohol consumption.
7. Use alcohol-free fluoride rinse.
8. Use the least abrasive, long shelf-life fluoride toothpaste (i.e.Sensodyne)
172 NYC Dental
A pillar of the 172 NYC Dental philosophy is preventive dental care. That’s why we want you to come in for your twice-a-year cleanings and checkups. At these sessions, we stress proper homecare including brushing, flossing, and diet. We discuss the effectiveness of different dental products. Everything we do is based on science and giving optimum care to our patients. Please come in and make an appointment.