How Does Toothpaste Work

You already know how important it is to brush your teeth. You also know that there is a right and a wrong way to brush your teeth. But do you know…

  • Why it is important to brush your teeth
  • What happens when you brush your teeth

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Why it is important to brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth keeps them clean. Brushing removes germs, tiny pieces of food, and leftover sugar and juices from foods we eat and drink.

It is important to keep your teeth clean so that the food and juices that stick to our teeth don’t ‘eat’ the enamel on our teeth. Enamel is the white coating or covering on our teeth that keep our teeth strong, healthy, and cavity-free.

Brushing away germs is also important. When we brush away germs we get rid of germs that cause bad breath and germs that can make us sick.

What happens when we brush our teeth

When we brush our teeth we use a toothbrush and toothpaste. The brush scrubs the food and germs off our teeth, but the toothpaste is what does most of the cleaning. Toothpaste does for our teeth what soap does for our hands.

How does toothpaste work

Toothpaste contains the following things:

  • Scrubbing agents—these are called abrasives. Most of the time this is baking soda to remove food and stains from your teeth
  • Most of the time the scrubbing agents in toothpaste are baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and silica
  • Flavor to make it taste good and makes your breath fresh
  • Fluoride to help make your teeth stronger
  • Water to keep it moist
  • Special ingredients to make the toothpaste foamy

The scrubbing agents in the toothpaste scrub the stains off your teeth and as the toothpaste foams, it holds onto the pieces of food your toothbrush grabs from between your teeth.

Toothpaste is very important, but you must be careful to use toothpaste and a toothbrush that doesn’t scrub your teeth too hard.

What happens if you scrub your teeth too hard

Using a toothpaste or toothbrush that scrubs your teeth too hard destroys the enamel on your teeth. This is not good, because the enamel is like a shield that protects your teeth from cavities. No one likes cavities, so be sure to use a toothpaste that gets your teeth clean without hurting the enamel.

How good of a job does your toothpaste do?

What kind of toothpaste do you use? How well does it protect and clean your teeth? Is your toothpaste the best? Let’s find out!

Here is what you need:

  • 3 different brands of toothpaste—yours and two others that claim to do the best job of keeping your teeth white and healthy
  • 9 small white stone tiles—you can get them at a home improvement store at very little cost
  • 3 glass bowls or Styrofoam cups large enough to hold 3 of the tiles
  • Coffee or tea
  • Orange juice
  • Grape juice
  • Toothbrush

Here is what you do:

  • Put 3 tiles in each container
  • Put 1 cup of coffee or tea in one of the cups or bowls
  • Put 1 cup of grape juice in one of the cups or bowls
  • Put 1 cup of orange juice in one of the cups or bowls
  • Let the tiles set in the liquids for 24 hours
  • Remove the tiles and observe how far the stains have penetrated (soaked into) the tiles
  • Put one tile from each cup in a group; making three group
  • Brush each group 1 with one brand of toothpaste, group 2 with another, and group 3 with the third brand of toothpaste and rinse as you would your teeth
  • Repeat this process once a day for three days
  • Which toothpaste worked best?
  • Which stain was easiest to remove?
  • Which stain was the most difficult to remove?