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Updated on August 15, 2022

Can You Use Expired Toothpaste?

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Does Toothpaste Expire?

Yes, toothpaste expires. Expired toothpaste won’t hurt you, but it might not help you either. 

Fluoride-based toothpaste loses its efficacy over time. Using expired toothpaste may not have the same effectiveness in preventing cavities and strengthening enamel.

To receive the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, a toothpaste must contain fluoride. Fluoride is an essential mineral for fighting tooth decay, which goes untreated in 1 in 4 American adults.1 Research shows that toothpaste must contain a minimum of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of soluble fluoride to be effective.2 

The higher the amount of fluoride in a toothpaste, the more protection it offers against cavities.3 However, fluoride breaks down over time and decreases in potency.

tricolor toothpaste spilling on the black marble table scaled

When Does Toothpaste Expire?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and ADA Seal of Acceptance require all toothpastes to have an expiration date. Along with the regulation of medications,  the FDA regulates oral hygiene aids containing fluoride. 

Toothpaste usually has a shelf life of about 2 years from the manufacturing date. This may vary slightly depending on the active ingredients, so check the date on the tube for the exact expiration date.

You may notice changes in the toothpaste’s taste or color around its expiration date. The ingredients may separate or even dry out. 

Can You Use Expired Toothpaste? 

Technically, you can use expired toothpaste. It’s not dangerous to do so. But, it won’t provide all the benefits unexpired toothpaste does.

Not only does old toothpaste lose its effectiveness, but it may also contain bacteria or fungi that hurt teeth in the long run. Dentists advise swapping out old toothpaste once it’s past its expiration date.

Tips for Preserving Toothpaste 

To keep your toothpaste fresh, try these preservation tips:

  • Seal it carefully — After use, seal the tube cap tightly. Keep the area around the cap clean to prevent germ and bacteria growth.
  • Store it properly — Keep your toothpaste and toothbrush in a closed cabinet. Leaving them out in the open, especially near a toilet, may introduce bacteria.
  • Keep it cool — Store toothpaste in a cool environment. Hot temperatures can separate ingredients.
  • Replace it regularly — Replace the toothpaste with a fresh tube once it’s past its expiration date.

Other Ways to Use Expired Toothpaste

You don’t have to throw out toothpaste past its expiration date. You can use it in other ways, including:

  • As a cleaning product — You can use expired toothpaste to polish metals, erase scuff marks from your shoes, remove crayon marks from walls, and clean metal items such as irons.
  • To soothe burns and insect bites — Apply toothpaste topically to burns and itchy insect bites. One of the primary ingredients in toothpaste is eucalyptus oil, which can have a calming effect and has anti-microbial properties.4 
  • For cosmetic purposes Try buffing your nails or removing makeup smudges with toothpaste. You can also eliminate strong odors from your hands by simply washing your hands with toothpaste (for example, after cutting garlic or onion).

Summary

Fluoride-based toothpaste has an expiration date of around 2 years, which is when it also starts to lose its effectiveness. Fluoride is a mineral that prevents cavities and protects tooth enamel.

It’s not harmful to brush your teeth with expired toothpaste. However, you won’t receive the full benefits of fluoride after the toothpaste is past its expiration date.

Swap your old tube for a fresh one and use expired toothpaste as a cleaning product, for certain cosmetic purposes, or as a topical balm.

To keep teeth healthy, abide by the expiration dates on your toothpaste and follow your dentist’s healthcare recommendations.

4 Sources Cited
Last updated on August 15, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Adult Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 Dec. 2020
  2. Cury, J.A., et al. “Necessity to review the Brazilian regulation about fluoride toothpastes.” Revista de Saúde Pública, SciELO, 2015
  3. Walsh, T., et al. “Fluoride toothpastes of different concentrations for preventing dental caries.” Cochrane Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 04 Mar. 2019
  4. Sadlon, A. and Lamson, D. “Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices.” Alternative Medicine Review, National Library of Medicine, 15 Apr. 2010
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