Some people have the habit of buying more items than they need from the grocery, especially when they’re on sale. Like most consumable products, toothpaste is one of the items that go on sale when the store has a big stock to dispose. Consumers who are careful about stocking on consumable products may wonder if toothpaste expires.
Does Toothpaste Expire?
You may be surprised to find out that toothpaste, like food and medicine, does have a limited shelf life. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies toothpaste under the cosmetics category which is supposed to include a list of active ingredients in their packaging. Toothpastes also carry the American Dental Association’s official seal and are supposed to indicate their expiration date.
When Does Toothpaste Expire?
Toothpastes usually have a definite shelf life of two years from manufacture. Most toothpastes contain fluoride, the active ingredient that protects your teeth against cavities. The shelf life is the time when all the fluoride content is available to bind to your tooth enamel to strengthen it against acid-causing cavities.
If the toothpaste is not used within two years, the fluoride ions may not do their jobeffectively. Furthermore, the toothpaste itself may change in color, thickness and taste. You will not be getting the same benefits from using a fresh tube of toothpaste when you use one that is older than two years.
Is It Safe to Use Expired Toothpaste?
According to dentists and experts from the FDA, there is no serious risk in using expired toothpaste. However, you may benefit less from the fluoride content, meaning less protection from tooth decay.
After two years, the fluoride content and effectiveness in your toothpaste may not be guaranteed by the manufacturers, so your precious teeth may become vulnerable to plaque build-up and tooth decay. Therefore, it is always best to use a fresh tube of toothpaste when brushing your teeth to ensure oral and dental health.
What to Do with Expired Toothpaste
Sometimes you buy an extra tube of toothpaste and forget about it. By the time you see it at the back of your medicine cabinet, it has most likely expired. Do you use it or throw it away? Well, if you want good, healthy teeth, you better use a new tube of toothpaste. But you don’t have to throw away the old one. Here are some clever ways to make use of old toothpaste.
1. Clean the Sink
Toothpaste is a natural abrasive because it contains ingredients such as silica and baking soda, which can make your sink and faucet shine sparkling clean. Use a cleaning brush to scrub the sink with some expired toothpaste for a nice, shiny bathroom or kitchen finish.
2. Remove Unpleasant Odors
Most toothpastes contain ingredients that help freshen your breath. Use expired toothpaste the way you would use hand soap to remove unpleasant odor from your hands.
3. Eliminate Crayon Marks
If you have toddler at home, it is most likely that you have crayon marks on your walls. Use a brush or a microfiber cloth to scrub old, expired toothpaste on your walls to remove crayon marks.
4. Clean Clothes Iron
Sometimes a gummy residue builds up at the bottom of your iron. To remove this residue, scrub it away with expired toothpaste while the iron is cool. The abrasive ingredients of toothpaste can clean your iron and make it work better the next time you use it.
5. Renew Your Leather Shoes
If you think you can only clean leather shoes with shoe polish, think again. If you run out of your favorite shoe cleaner, dab a little toothpaste on the leather and rub away with soft cloth. Then use a damp cloth to remove the toothpaste. This will make your shoes look good as new.