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How long does toothpaste stay good, have you ever thought about that? Of course, it doesn’t benefit the contents if you don’t put the cap back on properly or not at all. Nobody is waiting for dried-out toothpaste that is actually supposed to be a gel. But provided you take good care of it, what is the shelf life of toothpaste? Because yes, like all cosmetic products, toothpaste also has an expiry date. And that means toothpaste can indeed spoil.
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It depends a bit on which brand you buy, but every tube either has an expiry date or a shelf life. It may also be that both are listed. For products that need to be used within 30 months (2.5 years) of manufacture without losing their potency to work, an expiry date is mandatory. This can often be recognised on personal care products by the symbol of an hourglass with the date behind it. If a product has an unopened shelf life of more than 2.5 years, it is compulsory to state the use-by date. This use-by period is indicated by a symbol resembling an opened jar. It contains a number and the letter M, indicating how many months the product will keep after opening. When a product is opened, air can get to it, as it can affect its action. In addition, you can touch the tube of toothpaste with your toothbrush, which can spread bacteria in your tube. If you don’t use up the tube quickly enough, this can cause nasty infections.
Of course, you can still use your toothpaste if it is past its expiry date. But whether the active ingredients such as fluoride still work as well then as they did when your tube came fresh off the factory conveyor belt… there’s no telling for sure. And those active ingredients are also a reason to brush your teeth. Indeed, those are often the components that make you choose a particular formula. Precisely what your teeth need is the most perishable. Fortunately, with normal use, a tube will be empty before that shelf life expires. You may have a travel tube in your toiletry bag. For weekends away and other sleepovers, so you definitely don’t forget. With these tubes, those months will go by faster than you think. You may not care so much about that reduced activity, but the bacteria that can slowly grow in them… iew!
If you use your toothpaste properly, it is not necessarily harmful after the expiry date. However, the active ingredients increasingly lose their effectiveness. As a result, your teeth are no longer optimally protected against cavities. As long as you do not rake the paste out of the tube with your toothbrush, brushing with it once in a while is no problem. But do buy a new one soon. It is much cheaper to throw away a half-full tube of toothpaste than to have a cavity filled by the dentist.
Did you know that toothpaste tablets have a longer shelf life than toothpaste in tubes? This is because there is a lot of liquid in tubes, which simply spoils faster than solid tablets. But whatever you choose, there is always a toothpaste that suits you and your teeth. So no reason to use your expired one anymore!
Frequently asked questions
Can toothpaste expire?
Toothpaste can spoil. This is why there is an expiry date (hourglass with date) or expiry period (jar with a number and an M) on the packaging. After this time, the action of the active ingredients decreases.
Can you still use toothpaste that is past its use-by date?
You can still use expired toothpaste. If you have handled it hygienically, it is not harmful. However, the active ingredients are less effective, so it remains to be seen whether it will keep your mouth clean, fresh and healthy.
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