Toothpaste is a paste or gel dentifrice used with a toothbrush as an accessory to clean and maintain the aesthetics and health of teeth.
Many toothpastes make whitening claims. Some of these toothpastes contain peroxide, the same ingredient found in tooth bleaching gels. The abrasive in these toothpaste remove the stains, not the peroxide. Whitening toothpaste cannot alter the natural color of teeth or reverse discoloration by penetrating surface stains or decay. To remove surface stains, whitening toothpaste may include abrasives and additives such as sodium tripolyphosphate. When used twice a day, whitening toothpaste typically takes two to four weeks to make teeth appear more white. Whitening toothpaste is generally safe for daily use, but excessive use might damage tooth enamel. Teeth whitening gels represent an alternative.
Herbal and "natural" toothpastes
Herbal toothpastes are made from natural ingredients and some are even certified as organic. Many consumers have started to switch over to natural toothpastes in order to avoid synthetic and artificial flavors that are commonly found in regular toothpastes. Due to the increased demand of natural products, most of the toothpaste manufacturers now produce herbal toothpastes. This type of toothpaste does not contain dyes or artificial flavors.
Many herbal toothpastes do not contain fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate. The ingredients found in natural toothpastes vary widely but often include baking soda, aloe, eucalyptus oil, myrrh, plant extract (strawberry extract), and essential oils. In addition to the commercially available products, it is possible to make one's own toothpaste using similar ingredients. When using a toothpaste that has not been proven to be efficient in preventing periodontal diseases it is particularly important to have regular dental checkups with dental instruments.
Counterfeit tubes of Colgate brand toothpaste, possibly containing Diethylene Glycol, a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze, have been found in at least four states. The toothpaste was reportedly being sold from small dollar and discount dental equipment stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
These 5 oz. tubes of counterfeit toothpaste appear to be regular Colgate toothpaste, but a closer look at the label shows several misspellings along with the words, "Manufactured in South Africa." The Colgate Palmolive Company states that Diethylene Glycol is not used in any Colgate toothpaste in the United States or anywhere else in the world and Colgate does not import toothpaste from South Africa into America.
Last week the FDA issued a poisonous toothpaste alert for consumers not to buy any toothpaste made in China. This alert was issued after Diethylene Glycol was found in several Chinese made toothpastes.