When we think about toothpaste, most of the time we think about that minty fresh feeling. But in recent years, there has been a flavor explosion in the toothpaste market. Flavors like berry, chocolate-mint, watermelon, and even pickle. So, what is the purpose of these flavors? Let’s dive in to see why toothpaste flavors have changed over the years and the possible benefits.
There has been a flavor explosion in the toothpaste market in recent years.
More than 50% of adults report flavor as the top factor affecting their choice in toothpaste.
Mint toothpaste became popular in the 1900s.
Mint toothpaste is still the most common flavor in the world.
Toothpaste flavors can encourage compliance with a good oral hygiene routine.
Toothpaste has been around since ancient Egyptian times. The first recorded formula was a mixture of salt, pepper, flowers, and mint. Other ingredients have been added along the way to help make the toothpaste more effective. Today, toothpaste is a staple in oral care. And though the exact formula has changed over the years, one thing remains constant: toothpaste must taste good.
Factors determining toothpaste choice
Several factors help influence what toothpaste a person chooses. Major companies put a lot of research into things like packaging and branding in hopes of helping their products beat the competition. Companies also use advertisements to try to make more sales. But the most important factor remains flavor. In a study from 2017, more than 50% of adults reported flavor as the top factor affecting their choice of toothpaste. Other factors included:
- Fluoride content
- Previous experience with specific toothpaste
- Recommendations from dental professionals
According to the same study, things like packaging, advertisements, and herbal content had little influence at all. Less than one-third of the people surveyed were swayed by these factors.
Why is toothpaste flavor important?
It is not surprising that flavor influenced more than half of toothpaste purchases. None of us want to use a product that tastes terrible 2–3 times a day. Therefore, one may think flavoring is the key ingredient. Toothpaste formulas today contain several ingredients that can taste bad. Some of these can taste bitter, metallic, or soapy. So, adding flavors to mask these ingredients is a must.
There are many more flavors today. Just look in the toothpaste aisle at your favorite store. While mint remains the most common flavor in the world, here are some of the other flavors you are likely to find:
- Berry or fruit flavors
- Coconut cream
Why is mint toothpaste so popular?
Minty toothpaste really became popular in the 1900s with Pepsodent toothpaste. Pepsodent toothpaste contained citric acid, mint oil, and other chemicals to help keep the paste from clumping. It was not long before the inventors realized people liked the tingling sensation from the mint oil. People equated this with a “clean” feeling.
However, using a toothbrush daily was just beginning to gain popularity. When people skipped brushing, they realized their teeth did not feel as clean and missed that minty fresh feeling. Other toothpaste companies soon caught on to the “tingle means it’s working” theory and thus, the minty toothpaste explosion happened.
How does mint affect your mouth?
It’s true that mint is one of the most refreshing flavors of all. And when it comes to our mouth, that fresh feeling is essential. Mint oils contain a key active ingredient called menthol. Menthol triggers sensory receptors located in the mouth and on the skin. These receptors usually respond to temperature changes. Menthol tricks these receptors into a false cool sensation without actually changing the temperature. This results in that cold fresh feeling, as well as a slight numbing effect. It has become something many of us love about brushing our teeth. Other products have joined the game. Mouth rinses, breath mints, and even chewing gum now capitalize on the menthol effect.
What’s the big deal with toothpaste flavors?
When it comes to toothpaste flavors, it really is about preference. Choose the right flavor and your tooth brushing experience is like a mini spa for your mouth. But pick the wrong flavor, and you may not want to brush your teeth for weeks. So really, the biggest benefit toothpaste flavoring provides is to encourage compliance with a good oral hygiene routine.
Toothpaste flavors have also been proven to help increase brushing times. When toothpaste tastes good, both children and adults tend to brush longer. This increases the benefits of plaque and bacteria removal. Less plaque and bacteria mean a healthier mouth.
Key steps to good oral health
Proper oral care is essential for a healthy mouth. And it starts with a good oral hygiene routine. Here are a few steps to ensure you give your mouth the care it needs:
- Brushing 2–3 times a day. Brushing your teeth helps remove leftover food particles, plaque, and harmful bacteria from the surface of your teeth. This not only helps prevent cavities, but also freshens your breath too.
- Floss once a day. Whether you choose traditional floss, a floss pick, or a water flosser, cleaning between your teeth is vital. You could be missing up to 40% of your teeth surfaces if you skip this step.
- Don’t forget the tongue. Our tongues are covered in bacteria. The same bacteria that cause cavities, periodontal diseases, and bad breath love to hide on our tongues. We don’t want to leave these bacteria on our teeth, so why would we leave them on our tongues? You can use a tongue scraper or your toothbrush to clean your tongue.
- Use mouthwash. Mouthwash can help support a healthy mouth. There are mouth rinses for practically every oral condition, so consider adding one to your daily routine.
- See your dentist. Routine dental checkups can help prevent and treat oral conditions that may develop throughout your life. Our oral health is important not only for our teeth, but for our whole body. Don’t skip seeing your dentist. It may just save more than your teeth.
Tips for choosing the right toothpaste
With so many toothpaste brands to choose from, how do you get the right one for you? Here are some recommendations to consider, so you get the most from your toothpaste.
- Fluoride matters. Since 2021, fluoridated toothpaste was listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization (WHO). Fluoride helps strengthen and protect the teeth from developing cavities. Studies prove that using toothpaste with fluoride significantly reduces the risk of developing cavities. Dental cavities are one of the most common preventable diseases worldwide.
- ADA seal. The American Dental Association (ADA) certifies the toxicity, effectiveness, quality, and safety of products with the ADA seal. These products are scientifically proven to do what they claim. Products without the seal may be just as effective, but this seal gives the buyer some assurance the toothpaste they are buying is safe and effective.
- Active ingredients. Teeth can have a wide variety of conditions like sensitivity, weakened enamel, erosion, and discolorations. Toothpaste can specifically target these problems and offer some relief. So be sure you know what ingredients you are looking for when considering a toothpaste.
Choosing the right toothpaste can make a huge difference. Your dental team can also make recommendations based on your needs as well. So don't be afraid to ask for their suggestions. Together, you can find a product that makes a huge difference in your oral health.
Toothpaste is an important tool in the fight against harmful bacteria and plaque in our mouths. And the taste may be the most compelling reason we choose the toothpaste we do. Having so many options for toothpaste flavors helps ensure there is toothpaste for each one of us. So, if you are not enjoying your toothpaste to the fullest, try a new flavor. It just may be what you need to take your oral hygiene routine to the next level.
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