Toothpaste needs to clean teeth. A substance called plaque builds up on our teeth over time and needs to be removed. Plaque is a cream coloured, hard solid. It can cause our teeth to rot if it isn’t removed. Toothpaste also removes harmful bacteria from our mouths.
WHAT IS IN TOOTHPASTE?
Toothpaste bought in a shop has lots of active ingredients.
Abrasives are tiny solid particles that help to get the plaque off your teeth. They remove plaque but do not damage your teeth. Abrasives also polish your teeth to make them look shiny and clean.
Flavourings (taste) in toothpaste make your breath smell nice. The most common taste used is mint. This makes breath smell fresh.
Fluoride is a compound in toothpaste that protects our teeth from more plaque. This helps to prevent toothache and problems with our teeth.
A detergent (like soap) in toothpaste is the ingredient that “cleans” teeth. It will also kill harmful bacteria. Like soap a detergent will allow oily substances to be removed from your teeth that water cannot get. The detergent is also a base. Acids from food can damage our teeth. A base will neutralise the acid and stop it from damaging out teeth.
WHEN SHOULD YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH?
For the best results you should brush your teeth 2 or 3 times a day. It is good to brush your teeth about half an hour after you have eaten.
Brushing your teeth before bed is good. It means you go to sleep with clean teeth and helps stop plaque from forming on your teeth overnight.
Toothpaste cleans our teeth. It does this because it has lots of useful ingredients. Abrasives and fluoride help stop plaque. A detergent gets rid of acid. Flavourings make our breath fresh.