Some people tend to think that because toothpaste is not exactly food that it is more like medicine and thus immune to expiration. Some of these people quickly get a change of thought upon going to spread some of that stuff across their brush, or even their finger, and something comes across as “off” about the taste, the texture or the smell.
The person checks the tube for any sort of stamped date and after finding one, that happens to confirm that he did indeed just use expired toothpaste, rushes over to some medical website or hotline to find out if he is going to be in any sort of medical trouble or distress for having used expired toothpaste.
So, Can Toothpaste Expire?
Yes, toothpaste can expire just like almost anything else that you can buy in a grocery store. Just because you do not technically eat toothpaste but simply use it to clean your teeth, and tongue, that does not mean that it is immune to the ravages of time. What’s more is that, within the United States of America, all toothpastes are required to display an expiration date on both the box and the tube itself.
“What Exactly Happens When My Toothpaste Expires?”
Expired toothpaste lacks any remaining fluoride and fluoride is the active ingredient that allows toothpaste to clean your teeth. When toothpaste expires, several different chemical reactions can occur.
- The cavity-fighting fluoride content degrades.
- It can desiccate, drying out.
- The various ingredients may denature and separate.
- Conditions may change to foster the development of bacteria and/or fungi.
“How About Organic Toothpastes? Can They Expire as Well?”
As veganism and other restrictive diets have risen in popularity, some people have looked beyond traditional forms of toothpaste for something that contains less, or zero, chemicals. While the ingredient list for any given brand of organic toothpaste is bound to differ from another, the point remains that these sorts of products appeal to people that want to avoid sulfates or fluoride. When looking into buying an organic brand of toothpaste, do your research into its ingredients list and make sure that research include the reason why those ingredients were chosen.
While organic brands of toothpaste may not contain sulfates or fluoride, the fact that they use organic ingredients may mean that they will actually expire sooner than the usual brands like “Crest” and “Colgate.” Yes, even organic toothpastes can expire. Answering the question of how a given organic toothpaste will react once it has expired will depend entirely on what went into making it in the first place.
Is Expired Toothpaste a Health Hazard?
Using expired toothpaste on your teeth will not do your smile any harm; it also will not do it any good. The entire premise behind toothpaste is that it is an efficient way of applying cavity-preventing fluoride to your smile. A toothpaste with inert or degraded fluoride is about as effective as cleaning your teeth as rinsing with just fresh water.
Can I Still Use Toothpaste That Has Expired?
While there is no benefit to using expired toothpaste on your mouth, there are several other cleaning applications that this abrasive paste is well suited for.
- Keep your chrome nice and shiny by using your toothpaste as metal polish.
- You can use it to polish metals and linoleum floor tiles to a shine.
- You can clean up around the bathroom sink, the natural abrasion of toothpaste is great at scrubbing away nasty bits.
- Toothpaste is a non-toxic solution to budding artists who fancy drawing on walls with their crayons.
- If you regularly iron clothes, toothpaste is great for dissolving the gummy residue that can develops along the bottom over time.
- Use it as a buffer for your fingernails.
- Bring the sparkle back to your diamonds with a little brushing of paste.
- Have some of your favorite discs become scratched? Use some toothpaste to smooth those scratches out.
- Leave some toothpaste sitting over a carpet stain for a few minutes and it ought to do a good job at reducing or removing.
- Want a fog-proof bathroom mirror? Evenly smear some toothpaste over your mirror and then give it a thorough wipe to dryness before you pop into the shower.
- Use it as a replacement for hand soap and de-stink your hands from chopping onions or garlic.
- Smear some non-gel toothpaste over an ink stain and run the stained garment through the wash to either diminish or remove the stain and preserve your wardrobe.
- A thick layer of toothpaste can serve as an improvised way of mitigating a burn.
- Take the sting out off bug bites, but not bee stings, by dabbing a little toothpaste over the injury.
- Fight acne by using non-gel, non-whitening toothpaste to dry out oily skin.
Just like most other consumable things that go in or near your mouth, toothpaste can expire. While no one is going to be put into any direct harm from brushing with toothpaste that is a day or a week past the expiration date, chances are high that their smile will not be as clean or fresh as it could be by using a fresh tube, regardless of whether it was a major brand or an organic variety. Even if you discover that your toothpaste is expired by glimpsing at the date printed on the tube, you can still get some use out of it as an multipurpose cleaner around the house.