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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.
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.
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.
To keep your toothpaste fresh, try these preservation tips:
You don’t have to throw out toothpaste past its expiration date. You can use it in other ways, including:
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.
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