Would expired toothpaste lose its functionality?

  • Thread starter kenny1999
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I have bought some toothpastes at discounts but forgot to check the expired date it is usually three years from the date of manufacture, now it has been two years, I think I won't be able to use them up within the next year because I hate brushing teeth. My question is

1. Would it lose its functionality? e.g. not removing plaque, bacteria or other expected purposes

2. What is the possible change will it occur to a toothpaste so that we consider
that it could be expired?
 

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  • #2
DaveE
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I'd use it. Unless things are growing in it.

Most of the value of brushing your teeth is the brushing, not the toothpaste.
I suppose it depends on what it's made out of, but it's hard to imagine microbial stuff growing in it or bad chemistry. But, I seriously doubt that anyone will be able to tell you exactly.

The big problem is this: "I hate brushing teeth". OK, but in my world we have to do stuff we don't like, like vacuuming the house for example. I would guess you also hate going to the dentist for treatment that:
a) can only partially fix problems,
b) could have been avoided, and
c) is really expensive.

Ask someone over 60 years old if you should brush your teeth.

addendum: Literally the first google search result for "can i use expired toothpaste":
https://crest.com/en-us/oral-health/why-crest/faq/can-you-use-expired-toothpaste
BTW, Crest wants you to buy more toothpaste. Their conflict of interest is to make it sound bad, yet they don't, really.

Personally, I find search engines to be really useful, maybe the best part of the internet.
 
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  • #3
.Scott
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It's good to know what the functionality is before asking if it can be lost. Here's what one dentist chain (Altima) has to say about it:

  • Toothpaste comes in many flavors and helps to leave your mouth and breath feeling fresh after brushing. It can also masks any scents from strong-flavored foods like garlic or onions.
  • Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which many dental professionals agree that using fluoride can help prevent against cavities and keep tooth enamel strong by resisting early signs of tooth decay.
  • Toothpaste has properties that help other dental problems like tooth sensitivity, teeth whitening, tooth decay, and gum disease.


Most of the objectives for brushing your teeth are accomplished just by brushing - even with only water.
And if your water already has fluoride, you can check that off as well.

Other ingredients (from that same web page cited above) include:
  • Abrasives, like calcium carbonite, gently polish your teeth and clean bacterial film from your teeth and gums. They’re also responsible for dissolving stains from your teeth.
  • Flavoring in toothpaste them taste and smell appealing. Flavors like mint and cinnamon are common, but some other flavors you can find are lemon and bubblegum.
  • Thickening agents such as cellulose gum stabilize the toothpaste formula and and retain moisture so it stays on your toothbrush.
  • Detergents are responsible for creating the foamy texture we associate with toothpaste. This foam helps dislodge food remains and plaque.
  • Treatment Additives may be added to help prevent specific dental issues like cavity protection, tartar control, teeth whitening, and sensitive teeth.

Edit: The above quote includes these two additional items that are not being displayed (??):
  • Detergents are responsible for creating the foamy texture we associate with toothpaste. This foam helps dislodge food remains and plaque.
  • Treatment Additives may be added to help prevent specific dental issues like cavity protection, tartar control, teeth whitening, and sensitive teeth.

Nothing is going to happen to calcium carbonate in your life time, so you can check off "abrasives".
The flavorings are organic compounds (esters, for example) - and those molecules can eventually fall apart over time. Harmless, except for the loss of flavor.
Thickening agents and detergents are pretty robust.
You wont loose the fluorides, but some of those other "treatment additives" may not hold up.

Here what the US NIH has to say about whitening ingredients:
The chemical ingredients in whitening toothpaste cause undesired harmful effects not only on the enamel but also on the soft tissues, resulting in mucosal irritation, ulceration and circumoral dermatitis. It has been noted that recently, the general population is leaning more toward herbal products as they propagate to be chemical free; hence, free of harmful side effects and their efficacy is due to their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antidiabetic, antifungal, analgesics and antiseptic properties.[9] This has resulted in a steep increase in various herbal products in the market including whitening toothpaste. Whitening ingredient in toothpaste containing ingredients of herbal origin is papaya (papain enzyme), menthol, meswak, clove, salt, citrus fruits etc. Thus, the study focused to investigate the effect of commercially available chemical teeth whitening toothpaste and teeth whitening toothpaste containing ingredients of herbal origin on the shade of human enamel as well as its surface morphology.
Most of those whitening agents are susceptible to time.
 
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symbolipoint
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kenny1999

  • You wonder about if "past expiration date" toothpaste is still good
  • You do not like to brush your teeth

I have used a tube of toothpaste more than a couple or three years past the stated expiration date. Seem to be no problem. You could try to ask the manufacturer about changes to quality, but manufacturer will probably give you some words which mean nothing. There is some reason to wonder about how some other materials hold-up long term in the formula, like fluoride compounds, or fluoride ions(?) or stannous compounds; or whatever could be present to help treat dental sensitivity.
(In case the physical form has changed or you find unappealing phase separation, or any undesirable odor, then judge the item as spoiled or truly expired. Do not use it.)

As for your other point: Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you. (Soupy Sales, ~1960's).
If brushing and floss detail finishing do not make your teeth and gums feel dramatically better upon finishing the whole process, then something is missing in the communication between mind and body.
 
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  • #5
Vanadium 50
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Somehow I knew who the OP would be just from the title. My advice:
  1. Spend two bucks on a new tube and stop worrying.
  2. Brush your teeth about 10x more often than you do.
  3. Stop worrying about it.
 
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  • #6
berkeman
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I have bought some toothpastes at discounts but forgot to check the expired date it is usually three years from the date of manufacture, now it has been two years, I think I won't be able to use them up within the next year because I hate brushing teeth.
This is ridiculous, and borders on trolling. You hate brushing your teeth (so presumably hardly ever brush them), but are concerned about the quality of your toothpaste if you let it age too much?

Thread closed. Please stop posting things like this.
 
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