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Does Toothpaste Expire?

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Three different tubes of toothpaste laying on a white surface, all with different colour toothpaste coming out

Do you know how long your toothpaste lasts? Does it matter how long that tube has been kicking around in your bathroom? Old toothpaste is never a danger to your health. But it can lose its ability to protect your teeth over time.

During your dental exam and cleaning, your dentist will make sure that the products you’re using are working. Keeping your mouth clean and healthy takes a partnership between you and your dentist. So even if you are brushing twice a day, it’s important to schedule bi-annual appointments.

Let’s discuss just how long your toothpaste should last and how you should be using this product every day.

Can Toothpaste Go Bad?

Toothpaste is a personal hygiene product that suffers from the same problem as other healthcare creams and pastes: it’s hard to tell when it has gone bad. Toothpaste doesn’t smell, and you can’t see anything wrong with it. Unfortunately, toothpaste can go bad—or at least lose its effectiveness over time.

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months and follow the guidelines of your toothpaste expiration date. If you want to find the expiration date of your toothpaste, check the tail end of the tube and the date should be stamped there or on the box. Typically, it’s about two years after the toothpaste was manufactured. Yes, toothpaste expires, but using expired toothpaste may not be harmful to your health, it’s just not as beneficial to your teeth. This is because the active ingredients including fluoride in toothpaste can dry out and lose their effectiveness over time. Your expiry schedule should begin once you open a new tube of paste.

But ideally, with a proper brushing schedule, you’ll be using a tube of toothpaste up before it ever expires. Look for toothpaste with the CDA Seal. These products have been validated by the dental community and are considered top choices. 

How Long Does Toothpaste Last?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors: how often you use it, how big your tube is, and whether or not it’s opened. Generally speaking, if you’re using toothpaste twice a day and have a fairly large tube, it will last three months or less. 

If you’ve opened the tube, however, it will start to lose its freshness sooner. So if you want to make sure your oral hygiene is good, be sure to replace your toothpaste regularly!

A tube of toothpaste with the cap laying next to it, beside a green toothbrush that has just been covered in the toothpaste ready for brushing, all on a bathroom counter

Toothpaste & Oral Hygiene

Having a fresh tube of paste every morning won’t do any good unless you’re using it! So a consistent oral care routine is more important than the age of the toothpaste you’re using. And remember, regular dental exams and cleanings are the best way to make sure your teeth are being properly cared for.

Proper Oral Care Routine

It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day (morning and night), and the CDA recommends you floss or use an interdental cleaning device at least once a day. Follow these instructions for a healthy routine:

  • Brushing: Use short strokes, keeping the bristles angled against your gums. Clean all surfaces of each tooth by making several passes over them with back and forth movements. Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles start fraying.
  • Flossing: Grab 18 inches (45 cm) of floss between both hands. Wrap the floss around two fingers from each hand; this should leave about 12 inches (30 cm) of floss for use. Curve the floss around each tooth, and under the gum line, using a gentle up-and-down motion. Don’t forget to floss your molars – these are the teeth in the very back!
  • Mouthwash: an added step for oral care is using an oral rinse (mouthwash). Swish about 30ml of product around your mouth and gargle at the back of your throat. Spit out the mouthwash, do not swallow! After spitting excess product, avoid rinsing with water. 

The Importance of Exams & Cleanings

Keeping up with a healthy mouth requires a dental exam and professional cleaning twice a year. This important step keeps your teeth clean and your smile bright. But seeing the dentist also helps prevent tooth decay and the need for fillings or root canals.

Here’s what to expect during each process when you schedule a dental appointment:

  • Dental Exam: Our dentist will examine your teeth for signs of cavities or gum disease during this process. We may take x-rays of your mouth. 
  • Cleaning & Polishing: Our dental team will remove any plaque from between your teeth using special tools called scalers. After that, we’ll use a high-powered brush with gritty paste to polish all surfaces of each tooth. Fluoride treatment can be provided. 

Don’t Let Great Oral Care Expire

Your toothpaste will work its best within 3 months from the time you open the tube. Using toothpaste twice a day means you’ll probably get through the whole tube before it ever expires. But fresh toothpaste is only a part of great dental care.Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. If you’re looking for a dentist in Edmonton, give us a call at Southgate Dental Centre. We offer regular dental exams and cleanings, as well as a wide range of other services. We can’t wait to help your smile shine its brightest!

Written by Dr. Kevin Hamm

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