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Does Toothpaste Really Expire?

Posted on 3/20/2017 by Jolie
A piece of expired toothpaste on a toothbrush.
When you buy food at the store, you usually check the expiration date. You know that if it is past the date it may not be safe to eat. People are sometimes surprised to learn that toothpaste also has an expiration date.

Most of the time the expiration date is on the box, but sometimes there is only a manufactured date. Then how do you know how long to use it?

And if you do use it past your expiration date, will it hurt you? Not to worry, we can answer all of those questions.

Expiration Date Versus Manufacture Date

The expiration date of your tube of toothpaste lets you know when you should replace the tube. Some manufacturers say their toothpaste is good for 12 - 18 months after the expiration date. Others say that their toothpaste is guaranteed to work as advertised for up to two years from the manufacture date.

All agree that you won't be harmed by using their toothpaste past the date. So, if you have some toothpaste whose date you can't determine it won't hurt to use it, but it may not work the way it used to.

What Happens After the Expiration Date?

After the expiration date the strength of the toothpaste may be reduced. Most toothpastes contain fluoride to help fight cavities. If you use it past the expiration date the fluoride starts to break down and may lose its ability to bind to your tooth enamel, which is how it protects against cavities.

Though you can't see evidence that your fluoride isn't working as well, as your toothpaste gets older you'll notice other changes.

The color of your toothpaste could change and the minty flavor will get less intense, changing the flavor. Other ingredients may separate or crystallize, making it nearly impossible not to see that it's time for a new tube.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your toothpaste!

B.J. Myers, D.D.S & Associates

Northwest Austin Location
8430 Spicewood Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78759
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