Otara Dental
15 Carleton Dr #102 St. Albert AB T8N 7K9 (780) 460-0000

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St. Albert, AB

(780) 460-0000

Does Toothpaste Expire?

Close-up of a green toothbrush on a bathroom counter with toothpaste on it and an open tube of toothpaste next to it.

Here’s a question you may not think about much: how long have you had that tube of toothpaste? We all know that feeling of searching through the medicine cabinet only to find an old tube of toothpaste hidden in the back. You’re left wondering if it’s still good to use or if it’s time to toss it.

The good news is that toothpaste does last a long time, but there are some factors to consider. Toothpaste does expire, and though using expired toothpaste isn’t typically harmful, it’s less effective at protecting you from tooth decay. If you’re taking the time to protect your family’s oral health, you should use the most effective tools at hand. That includes fresh toothpaste.

When Does Toothpaste Expire?

Most toothpaste brands have a shelf life of 2 years from the date of manufacturing. This date is typically printed on the packaging, although it may be difficult to find. However, this expiration date is not a guarantee that the toothpaste will go bad after 2 years. It’s merely a recommendation for optimal freshness and efficacy.

Another important thing to consider is how the toothpaste is stored. You should store toothpaste with the cap on in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If toothpaste is exposed to high temperatures or humidity, it can dry out or become contaminated with bacteria.

Once the toothpaste is opened, bacteria from your mouth can transfer to the tube, especially if you’re less careful about how you put toothpaste on the bristle. Make sure to use a clean toothbrush and avoid sharing toothpaste tubes with others to prevent contamination.

You can tell if toothpaste has expired by examining the texture and consistency. If the toothpaste has dried out, separated, or become hard, then it’s likely less effective. You may also notice a change in taste, colour, or smell. If you have any doubt, it’s best to err on the side of caution and replace the toothpaste.

Is Expired Toothpaste Safe to Use?

While expired toothpaste won’t harm you, its effectiveness may diminish over time. Toothpaste typically contains fluoride, which helps to prevent tooth decay. Over time, however, the fluoride in toothpaste can break down and become less effective.

If you want to help keep your family’s toothbrushing sessions effective, make sure to replace your toothpaste every 2 years or sooner if you notice any changes in texture or consistency.

Close-up of a young woman's white smile as she holds up a toothbrush with blue toothpaste on it, about to brush.

The Importance of Brushing with Toothpaste

Toothpaste has been around in one form or another for millennia, and with good reason. Toothpaste helps remove food particles and plaque that may accumulate on your teeth. It also contains fluoride, which helps to strengthen the enamel (the outer layer of teeth), making it less vulnerable to decay.

There are different types of toothpaste available that cater to different needs. For people with sensitivity issues, toothpaste containing potassium nitrate or arginine can help reduce the sensitivity. Fluoride toothpaste is useful for strengthening your teeth’s enamel and preventing cavities. Whitening toothpaste has chemicals that can remove surface stains, making your teeth look whiter. Whitening toothpaste is also more abrasive so it is not the best option for patients with recession or erosion of their enamel.

Oral Hygiene Tips

Good oral hygiene is essential for maintaining a healthy smile, and fresh toothpaste is only part of it. If you want to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath, here are some tips to follow:

  • Brush twice a day: Toothpaste won’t do you any good sitting in the tube. Make sure you brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well to avoid bacteria buildup!
  • Flossing daily: Flossing can remove food particles between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Use a gentle flossing technique to avoid cutting your gums.
  • Eat healthily: Eating a balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, veggies, and calcium-rich foods is essential to maintaining oral and overall health. Avoid sugary and acidic food and drinks that cause tooth decay and enamel erosion.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices: Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable disease in Canada and can affect the health of your mouth and gums. You can also limit alcohol consumption and avoid vaping.
  • Visit your dentist regularly: Visiting your dentist every 6 months is crucial to maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can examine your gums, clean your teeth, and detect signs of early dental problems to prevent them from worsening.

A Fresh Mouth & Healthy Smile in St. Albert

You might be looking at your toothpaste a bit differently now. While using expired toothpaste shouldn’t hurt, it likely won’t be as effective at protecting your oral health. Old toothpaste can get tossed, or better yet, live a second life. Expired toothpaste can:

  • Polish metal
  • Clean bathroom sinks
  • Remove crayon marks from the wall
  • Remove gummy residue off the bottom of an iron
  • Buff your fingernails

Talk about comprehensive care! While Otara Dental can’t help you get crayon off your walls, we provide quality dental care for the whole family. A healthy and bright smile is more than just appearance—it’s a sign of good health. Continue practicing good oral hygiene and book your next exam and cleaning today.

Written by Dr. Jessica Dick

Jessica graduated from the University of Alberta in 2013 with a degree in Biological Sciences with a Business minor. She then completed her dental education at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV) in May of 2017. During her four years in Nevada, Jessica had the opportunity to provide care to a diverse range of patients at student-run clinics. These volunteer clinics served homeless patients, military veterans, and children in need. Treating and getting to know patients of all ages is Jessica’s greatest passion.

Location / Hours

Located Northeast of Servus Credit Union Place in Campbell Business Park

Otara Dental

15 Carleton Dr #102
St. Albert AB, T8N 7K9

Contact Information

  • Monday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Your Dental Education

  • Are charcoal based toothpastes and products safe?
  • Learn More
  • Are You Making These 10 Teeth Brushing Mistakes?
  • Learn More
  • Dentists May Be the First to Spot Health Conditions
  • Learn More
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