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Does Toothpaste Expire?

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A woman smiling and applying a toothpaste on a toothbrush.

Most tooth care regimens include toothpaste, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist to ensure your daily tooth cleaning regimen is effective. 

Toothpaste is a paste or gel used with a toothbrush to maintain or improve oral health. You may have never thought about it before, but toothpaste does expire. And, like most perishable items, it’s important to check it for an expiry date before using it. 

An expiry date tells consumers the last day a product is safe to use. A best-before date indicates the last day for the best flavour and quality. It is important to not confuse the two as some products may be harmful when expired. And although toothpaste does expire, it’s not dangerous to use it after the expiration date. It simply isn’t beneficial because the active ingredients lose effectiveness over time.

Is It Okay to Use Expired Toothpaste?

The expiration date of toothpaste is mainly determined by its active ingredient, fluoride. Fluoride can break down and become less effective at preventing cavities. It helps protect healthy tooth enamel—the durable white outer layer. Enamel serves as the tooth’s first line of defense against decay. 

Expired toothpaste is less efficient at preventing enamel loss, and once it’s gone, enamel can never grow back.

How Can You Tell if Toothpaste Is Expired?

The most obvious sign that your toothpaste has expired is when it’s past the date printed on the tube. But, you may find that your toothpaste has a foul flavour if it’s expired. Any paste that loses its viscosity or potential to foam up should not be used, regardless of the active components.

What Does Toothpaste Do? 

Toothpaste helps strengthen enamel and protects it from the acids and sugars in our food and drinks with fluoride. Toothpaste also cleans and polishes the plaque (a sticky material made up of saliva and residual food particles) off your teeth better than brushing alone while also fighting stains and freshening your breath. This magical paste is the perfect brushing companion. 

A man  standing in front of a mirror brushing his teeth with a toothbrush.

How to Choose a Good Toothpaste

Determining what is the best toothpaste for you to use is a personal decision. However, there are some important factors to consider when choosing:

  • Abrasive substances, like calcium carbonate and silicate, aid in the removal of food, bacteria, and some stains from your teeth. Many whitening toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients. You might want a less abrasive toothpaste if your teeth are super sensitive or thin from enamel wear. 
  • Saccharin and other artificial sweeteners are frequently added to toothpaste to improve flavour. Toothpaste comes in a wide range of flavours, including cinnamon, lemon-lime, and even bubblegum (for children or children at heart).
  • Gums and sticky molecules present in some seaweeds are among the ingredients that thicken toothpaste and aid in achieving and maintaining the right texture.
  • Toothpaste made for sensitive teeth contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. These chemical compounds reduce tooth sensitivity by obstructing the channels through the teeth that connect to nerves inside the teeth.

Steps for Brushing Your Teeth Properly

Did you know there’s a proper way to brush each tooth? Depending on which tooth you are brushing, you might be surprised at the different ways to hold your toothbrush for the best clean possible.

  • Beginning with the outside and inner surfaces, brush against the gum line in short, half-tooth-wide strokes at a 45-degree angle. Don’t forget to brush your back teeth, too.
  • Continue to the chewing surfaces. Brush these areas back and forth while keeping the brush flat.
  • When you reach the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use the brush’s tip to gently scrub up and down the surfaces.
  • Brush lightly along the gum line.
  • To freshen your breath, brush your tongue in a sweeping motion from back to front to eliminate food particles and germs that cause bad breath.

Maintaining Your Oral Health

Healthy teeth and gums depend on being attentive to your dental hygiene regimen, including ensuring your toothpaste hasn’t expired, brushing correctly, and flossing regularly. However, dental trips are necessary to keep your smile healthy and shouldn’t be neglected. Reach out to Marks Dentistry to book an appointment today! 

Written by Dr. Jonah Marks

Dr. Jonah Marks received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Schulich School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. During his time at Schulich, Dr. Marks volunteered at Schulich’s Dental Outreach Community Services, providing pro bono dental treatment to underprivileged patients in London, Ontario. He currently provides pro bono work for LAMP Community Health Care Centre and the Alpha Omega Dental Volunteer Program. In addition, Dr. Marks travelled to Nicaragua where he provided dental care in underserved communities.

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