What Is The Abrasive In Toothpaste?

Today, we are going to tell you about abrasive in toothpaste. Throughout history, people have cleaned their teeth using materials such as ground oyster shells or charcoal powder, both of which have an abrasive quality that helps remove sticky buildup of plaque from teeth.

Modern toothpastes also contain abrasive chemical compounds for the same purpose of cleansing the teeth and gums with mild abrasion.

But what are the chemical compounds used as the abrasive in toothpaste and and how safe are they for your teeth? We are going to answer this question here at Beautisdom.

What’s in Your Toothpaste?

According to Colgate, a major manufacturer of oral care products, modern formulations of toothpaste generally contain some mixture of five main components.

  1. Fluoride, a chemical element and naturally occurring mineral which helps to strengthen enamel, the outer layer of your teeth, helps to prevent tooth decay and enamel erosion.
  2. Flavoring and non-sugar sweeteners are used to make toothpaste taste palatable.
  3. Humectants are used to keep the toothpaste moist and in a gel-state; without them, your toothpaste might harden and be impossible to squeeze from the tube.
  4. Detergents are added to produce a foaming sensation when you brush.
  5. Abrasives are the key ingredient in toothpaste.

Like their name suggests, these inert chemicals are naturally rough and work hand in hand with the bristles of your toothbrush to scrub the surfaces of your teeth and gums, removing food particles and plaque. We also recommend reading about The Top Dental Floss Alternative if you use dental floss.

What Ingredients Are Abrasive in Toothpaste?

The gentle abrasives found in toothpaste are inert chemical compounds meaning they do not react with anything in your mouth or body.

Their purpose is to be rough, scrubbing agents on the surface of the teeth. The three most common abrasives found in toothpaste are hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, and calcium carbonate.

It’s important to note that not all toothpastes use the same mix of abrasives nor the same concentration of abrasives and that some toothpastes are rated with a higher RDA – Relative Dentin Abrasivity – meaning they are higher in abrasive effect. This chart offers an excellent comparison of common toothpastes and their RDA rating.

What About Whitening Toothpaste?

Whitening toothpaste contains the same abrasive ingredients as regular toothpaste as well as the same active ingredients.

The difference between whitening toothpaste and regular toothpaste is the addition of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide – a compound that breaks down into hydrogen peroxide.

Both of these chemical compounds have a whitening effect upon the teeth.

There is also a growing trend of whitening teeth by using activated charcoal to whiten teeth; however, the American Dental Association, as reported in this article, is recommending against this home procedure as activated charcoal is highly abrasive and will wear away tooth enamel.

Related: 4 Best Natural Organic Toothpastes: Which Are Our Pick?


Taking the time to learn about the toothpaste products you use every day to keep your teeth healthy and your smile white is a smart move toward gaining more knowledge about your health and beauty care products.

With your newly found wisdom, you can make smart choices for your oral care routine to keep your smile both healthy and beautiful for a lifetime. We hope you enjoyed learning about abrasive in toothpaste and feel free to share this article with your friends.