• Julia


In the new issue is Colgate toothpaste, which is familiar to everyone in one or another variation from childhood.


"Total 12 Professional cleaning»


Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, PVM/MA Copolymer, Aroma, Carrageenan, Sodium Hydroxide, Propylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Fluoride, Triclosan, Sodium Saccharin, Limonene, CI 77891, Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride 0.32% w/w (1450 ppm F-)

Colgate is probably the most popular toothpaste brand. We all remember from advertising that this brand is recommended by "9 out of 10 dentists". Today, we analyse the composition of one of the most purchased Colgate pastes and find out whether it fulfills the promises from the packaging.


The first place of the composition without any surprises, in toothpaste as in caring cosmetics, takes water. Next to it are glycerine and propylene glycol which are solvents for gelling agents and dry components included in the paste recipe. The same function is performed by sorbitol, however, it also makes the paste taste sweet. It is followed by Sodium Saccharin — also a sweetener.

In some online stores, the paste is positioned as a fragrance-free product, but still it contains limonene, a standard flavor for cosmetics and household chemicals. Hydrated Silica is an abrasive for toothpastes, a component that is responsible for the mechanical tooth enamel cleaning and the plaque removal. Previously, tooth powder with chalk was used for this purpose. Now paste with chalk is also found, but silica is considered to be more modern abrasive.

Then in the base composition, we see a complex of thickeners that stabilize the formula (PVM/MA Copolymer, Carrageenan, Cellulose Gum). Colgate paste owes its abundant foam to the component Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is often criticized for its cheapness and ability to irritate the mucous membranes. This is a really cheap and widely used component but there is nothing monstrous about it. The experiments that revealed the ability of SLS to cause irritation on the oral mucosa are not exactly similar to how we use toothpastes in real life. For example, in one study,  SLS paste was applied to the oral mucosa and left there for fifteen minutes. We can hardly brush our teeth for so long in the morning and evening. However, choosing a paste with or without SLS is a personal matter. There is no particular difference in their effectiveness.

The basic part of the composition is completed by Sodium Hydroxide which is a pH regulator, which together with PVM/MA copolymers forms a gel and stabilizes the system. As the dye-stuff CI 77891is used, this tricky code hides the usual titanium dioxide.

Active components

In contrast to caring cosmetics, the active part of the toothpaste composition rarely consists of more than two components. As the main paste aim is to clean and protect teeth from caries.

Fluoride is present in most toothpastes to protect against caries, fill in microcracks and strengthen enamel. In this Colgate paste, fluorine is added in a concentration of 1450 ppm (parts per million). The optimal concentration is considered to be 1500 ppm (if we are not talking about special products, where this number can be 2250 ppm), so that the amount of fluorine in this paste is close to the desired one. These pastes are considered to be effective, but not suitable for children. In children's pastes, the concentration of fluoride is reduced and, as a rule, does not exceed 1000 ppm.

But the second active component in Colgate paste is antibacterial triclosan, and you may have questions to it. It is found in soaps, shower gels, toothpastes, and other hygiene products. In 2017, the FDA banned the triclosan use in a number of antiseptic products — for example, in soap or hand sanitizers. But it is still used in toothpaste, because Colgate company managed to convince the FDA that the triclosan positive effects outweigh any risks.

The technologist opinion

 It is probably a very cheap toothpaste, because triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate have not been "in fashion" among cosmetic chemists for a long time. It is surprising that products with these components are released on the Russian and European markets. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a disgraced component, and triclosan has a dubious reputation. Some studies show that triclosan makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Although among the advantages of triclosan in toothpaste is its proven effectiveness in preventing gingivitis and plaque.

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