Toothpaste is the paste or gel used in conjunction with a toothbrush to clean the teeth. Teeth cleaning is an important part of oral hygiene and helps to remove dental plaque and trapped food, as well as promoting fresh breath. The active ingredients of toothpaste are used to help prevent teeth and gum disease, such as tooth cavities and gingivitis. Let’s take a look at how this important hygiene product is made.
The first ingredient of toothpaste is usually the binder, commonly sodium alginate or magnesium aluminum silicate, which holds the other ingredients together. The largest percentage of toothpaste is made up of abrasives. These are small particles such as baking soda, chalk, aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, silica or zeolite. They help to remove plaque and calculus from the teeth. The next ingredient is the detergent, or foaming agent, and this makes the toothpaste create a foam when it is used. The most common foaming agent is sodium lauryl sulfate. Fluoride is also commonly used as the active ingredient because it can help prevent cavities. However, other products such as the natural sugar xylitol are sometimes used. The last step is to add the flavors and sweeteners. Essential oils are commonly used to flavor toothpaste and artificial sweeteners are used to provide the sweet taste. Toothpaste also contains about 20-40% water.
How is toothpaste made?
The first step in the manufacturing process is to combine all the ingredients together in the correct portions. This is done in a special vat that is then transported to another area of the factory for “cooking.” Once the mixture is combined together the color, flavor and sweetener is added to the mixture and it is mixed again. The plastic tubes enter the assembly line with the capped end pointed down and the other end open for filling. They are then inspected by a machine and filled by a large pump. The open end is then crimped shut and the toothpaste is packaged into boxes for shipping.
The following video shows toothpaste being made in a large factory