Toothpastes employ the use of mildly abrasive ingredients that are able to scrub away food and plaque while not inflicting damage upon the enamel, fluoride to shield the enamel from future harm, and antibacterial substances to reduce buildup of plaque over time.The active ingredients, such as baking soda, fluoride, and hydrogen peroxide, work together with the non-active ingredients, including preservatives and flavors, to safely clean enamel, according to Wikipedia.
An abrasive agent within the toothpaste, often baking soda or hydrogen peroxide, polishes the teeth by getting into the enamel and scrubbing it clean, which eliminates food residue and helps decrease stains gradually. Used as directed, toothpastes are mild enough to not cause damage to the enamel, According to Colgate.
Fluoride strengthens teeth by preventing plaque from growing on the teeth. Plaque causes tooth decay, so fluoride is essential to maintaining clean enamel. Although it is found in other sources, including some locations' water supply and certain foods, the fluoride in toothpaste is essential because it directly targets plaque at the source and keeps the enamel strong, explains the Consumer Guide to Dentistry.
Other active ingredients assist with cleaning enamel by preventing tartar, a hardened form of plaque that causes severe tooth decay, and by killing bacteria that form plaque. Non-active ingredients work to keep the toothpaste free of micro-organisms, provide flavor, and preserve moisture in the toothpaste. Together, these ingredients allow toothpaste to clean the enamel and maintain its health daily.