Does Toothpaste Expire?

Blue collapsible tube of toothpaste with a white cap against a white background

If you’re following Dr. Chung’s recommended oral healthcare regimen, you hopefully think of toothpaste as one of the pillars of your preventive routine. After all, brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time will help reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and a whole host of other dental issues. With all of this in mind, it’s important that you’re using the right tools to care for your teeth, including choosing the right toothpaste. The ingredients, flavor, and cost of your toothpaste are all important considerations–but what about the expiration date?

How Does Toothpaste Work?

We all know that toothpaste helps keep our teeth clean. It uses mildly abrasive (but completely safe) ingredients to gently scrub away stains and a sticky biofilm created by bacteria called plaque. Toothpastes containing fluoride help strengthen your enamel through a process called remineralization. Fluoride toothpaste deposits calcium and phosphate that rebuild and reinforce your enamel. Strong enamel protects you from cavities, tooth sensitivity, and tooth discoloration.

What Happens When Toothpaste Expires?

When toothpaste expires, it won’t become rotten or harmful to use per se. Instead, the ingredients may start to crystallize, the flavors may fade, or the fluoride will lose stability. This makes the toothpaste less effective and could keep you from getting the full benefits of brushing your teeth. Generally, toothpaste expires two years after being manufactured.

Can I Still Use Expired Toothpaste?

To be on the safe side and to make sure that your toothpaste ingredients retain their full power, our Seattle dental team does not recommend using toothpaste that has expired. However, you will probably use all your toothpaste well before the expiration date anyway if you’re using about a pea-sized amount to brush twice daily as recommended. You should go through a tube of toothpaste every six months or so. If you share with family members, you’ll finish a tube even more quickly.

We Want to Hear From You!

To ask our expert team at Reen Chung, DDS additional questions about toothpaste or your oral hygiene routine, or to schedule your biannual cleaning and checkup, contact our office.

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Reen Chung, DDS

Reen Chung, DDS