What’s Actually In Your Dental Care Products?

We clean our teeth twice a day and are making use of more and more dental products in the process. But do you know what your different dental and oral care products actually contain? Half the time we look at the long and unfamiliar words on the packaging and just assume that they must do us good. But each ingredient should serve a particular purpose. Knowing what the different ingredients actually are can help you to choose which products you want to pick up from the shelves and spend your money on. This knowledge can also ensure that you know which products to purchase when you’re looking for a particular effect, such as whitening, relief from sensitivity, or fresh breath. So, let’s get started! Here are a few ingredients commonly found in dental and oral care products that you should be more aware of.




Let’s start with one of the most common dental care components: fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources. However, a process called water fluoridation has increased in popularity over the past few decades. Water fluoridation involves the purposeful addition of extra fluoride to public water drinking supplies. It is added two around two thirds of the USA’s public water supplies at an average concentration of one part per million or one milligram per litre of water. It’s pretty strong stuff so needs to be relatively diluted. So why do we do this? Well, it actively reduces the development of tooth decay! It has proven to reduce cavities in children and adults alike. What’s more? It helps to repair teeth that are experiencing the early stages of decay. It strengthens your teeth by being absorbed into the enamel of your teeth upon contact. It then replenishes lost calcium and phosphorous to keep your teeth hard and strong (this is known as remineralisation). So, it’s the perfect addition to the lifestyle of anyone over two years of age (it’s recommended that you don’t actively add fluoride to the diet or health care of children under the age of two). You can get an extra boost of fluoride as well as that added to your water through dental products aimed at strengthening your teeth. Specialist toothpastes, mouthwashes, and rinses contain extra fluoride. You can also contact your dentist for a professional fluoride treatment.




While most people will have heard of fluoride in some capacity or another, xylitol is a little more under the radar. So what actually is it? Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that looks and tastes just like regular refined sugar. It is used in a range of products that can be consumed as an alternative to sugar, giving the individual eating it the taste of sugar without the negative dental and oral effects. It can generally be extracted from any woody fibrous plant material. Commercially, companies tend to use corncobs as a source. It lacks the artificial aftertaste that so many artificial sweeteners have, so is an increasingly popular option for those trying to cut down on sugar in their diet for the sake of their teeth. Sounds pretty good, right? However, when something seems so ideal, many people will have doubts. So, is xylitol safe? Yes! Just don’t consume it in large amounts. Also bear in mind that xylitol can be toxic for dogs, so keep any products containing the substance away from your family pet.


Chlorhexidine Digluconate

Now for one of those substances with a name so long that you usually just scan over it: chlorhexidine digluconate. You may be surprised to know that you’ve probably used chlorhexidine digluconate relatively recently. It’s a germicidal mouthwash that reduces bacteria in your mouth. Used in an oral rinse, it can help to treat gingivitis (an uncomfortable gum disease that causes redness, swelling, and bleeding gums). It is generally prescribed by a dentist to individuals who are experiencing gum disease. However, you can usually get a hold of mouthwashes containing this active ingredient from your local pharmacist. As well as treating gum disease, it is also good for those who have wisdom teeth coming through. Why? Well, when your wisdom teeth break through the gum, you can often be left with a flap of skin that can harbour all sorts of bacteria and even debris or remnants of food. This could cause you to suffer tooth decay and infection before the tooth has even been able to properly establish itself. Swilling and rinsing with a chlorhexidine digluconate mouthwash can help to lift the unwanted leftover food particles and clean the mouth in general. For more direct care, you can also get specialist gels containing the ingredient. This can then be applied right onto the problem area.



Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the active bleaching agent used in tooth whitening. This procedure is becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people aim to achieve what’s come to be known as the “Hollywood smile”. You may see various over-the-counter products available that list hydrogen peroxide in the ingredients. However, we would generally recommend that you leave tooth whitening to the professionals. While commercially available tooth whitening kits may list hydrogen peroxide in their ingredients, you may not use it in the correct way, no matter how closely you follow the instructions. People who have tried this often complain later of tooth sensitivity and patchiness in the whiteness, as the product hasn’t been spread evenly over all of the teeth. The whitening solutions used by professional dentist also tend to have a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide, ranging from 25 to 40 percent. Your mouth is completely unique and they will be able to conduct a full examination in order to know which concentration is necessary for your desired results. Over the counter options, on the other hand, are distributed ready for anyone to buy, so you’re hedging your bets as to whether the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the product is best for your personal wants and needs.


These are just a few of the ingredients found in various dental products. Knowing what they are, how they work, and what effects you can expect them to have on your health and wellness will help you to choose which you want to actively incorporate into your lifestyle!


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