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Is Toothpaste Safe to Use Past Its Expiration?

Posted on 1/20/2019 by Dr. Elizabeth Vivona
Is Toothpaste Safe to Use Past Its Expiration?Many people see expiration dates as a suggestion, not a deadline. While that can be fine for some things such as canned foods, it's obviously not a good idea to stretch the expiration date on items such as milk. But what about toothpaste? Should you use toothpaste past its expiration date?

Does Toothpaste Expire?

Before asking about how safe it is to use after it has expired, you might first want to know if toothpaste can expire. After all, it's not really a food. When toothpaste was first sold, it didn't expire. However, today, the American Dental Association does require all toothpastes that contain fluoride to be marked with an expiration date. Generally, that date is two years after the toothpaste is made.

Is it Safe to Use?
Why does the ADA require toothpaste with fluoride to have an expiration date? The fluoride is the entire reason. After a few years, fluoride starts to become less effective. It won't bind with the enamel of your teeth as well, which means it's not as useful in getting rid of bacteria and protecting the teeth from cavities.

After several years of sitting in a tube, the ingredients in toothpaste start to separate. Instead of one solid stripe of toothpaste, you might squeeze out a blob made up of flavoring, paste, and fluoride. That's assuming you can squeeze out anything at all—after a few years, toothpaste can dry up and become impossible to use!

Don't Toss it!
But before you throw your old toothpaste away, consider using it for something else. Did you know that expired toothpaste can be used as a cleaner? You can use it to polish silver, clean your sink, get rid of crayon marks, and clean your clothes iron. Might as well get something out of it, right?

If your toothpaste has expired, be sure to replace it with a new tube and keep on brushing! Also consider calling us to make an appointment for a cleaning if you haven't had one within the past six months.
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