Does Toothpaste Expire? Yes
Believe it or not, but toothpaste does actually expire, and that alone is why
you must always remember to check the expiration date on the very back
of each label before using. And remember that it is never wise to buy in
bulk --- unless, of course, you have a large family or are buying for your
business. Nonetheless, however, toothpaste --- just like cereal, gum, pasta,
bread, or any other valuable grocery store product out on today’s market ---
does, in fact, expire, regardless of the brand. And what’s more is this fact:
Toothpaste containing fluoride in it, even if trace amounts, is now legally
required to carry an official expiration date on its label, as mandated by the
FDA. Is that interesting or what?
If you think so, then the next part will shock you even further: the FDA and
the ADA, those behind the mandate, now require that a two-year period,
following the original date of manufacture, accompany this rule. Interested
indeed, and furthermore, most toothpastes containing fluoride have a
typical shelf life of 12 to 18 months after official expiration. This, of course,
ensures that you can never be too careful, in either sense. Moreover,
please note that this applies to toothpaste and not necessarily to toothgel, a
similar product with a similar offering, yet one not quite the same --- and
another hot button topic that deserves a closer look another time, perhaps.
Is it dangerous to use toothpaste that has expired? No
Here’s a bit of simple logic behind the matter: Since toothpaste itself is not
a food product, it is thus not as highly perishable as one is either --- given
the fact that, of course, you are not one of the 1/10,000 U.S. toothpaste
consumers who eat their own toothpaste as a hobby --- very real, very
scary, but moving on. If you were to physically ingest the expired
toothpaste, in the form of downright eating it, then, that would be an entirely
different matter; either way, this is why you should keep toothpaste out of
the reach of infants and small children. Anywho, some have even argued --
- quite remarkable, one might add --- that using expired toothpaste to brush
one’s teeth is actually slightly healthier than using it in its freshest form, but
don’t take this statistic to the extreme as anything out of moderation is
never a good thing.
Does it still work after it has expired? Yes
What I imply is the following: Expired toothpaste is known to carry lesser
amounts of fluoride, as proven by both the FDA and the ADA, which means
that some would argue it’s a bit healthier overall. For a number of reasons,
fluoride itself is one of the most unhealthy, dangerous corruptors of modern
toothpaste; the ingredient alone is enough to cause early Alzheimer’s
disease, severe tooth decay, gingivitis and much more --- it is no laughing
matter. And so, since we’re not eating it but merely putting the expired
toothpaste on our teeth as we brush for the day ahead, it would naturally
follow that having a little less fluoride in it would be a good thing ----
considering that we’re not way past the expiration date. Remember:
Anything to the extreme, past the point of decent moderation, is a bad
thing. On another note, however, the expired toothpaste may still be slightly
less effective, based on its original ingredients (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate,
Fluoride, etc.). Each product and brand will effectively vary so there is no
“one size fits all” approach, but common sense --- once again --- has
always held the key to everything in life, and this time around, it’s no
How long does it last after expiration?
Once again, it depends on the specific product: Fluoride toothpastes tend
to last a year to a year and a half after their expiration, thus two years after
their manufacture, whereas organic, fluoride-free brands are known to go
for about half that time, if that. It all depends. Smell it; feel it --- if it doesn’t
give a good sign, then it’s time to use it for something else!
Tip: Don't throw it away, if it is expired, but don't buy it off the shelf, either, if it is expired.
Consider an alternate use for it, such as cleaning your sink or hands with it.
Remember to “waste not, want not” as they say. And did you know that old
toothpaste can even make a great shoe polish for those old, rusty shoes
you’ve got lying around? We’re not joking. In fact, try it for yourself!
Here’s a couple more uses for it: How about cleaning your iron with it, or
cleaning crayon stains from off the walls with it as well? All this and more
can easily be done. For more on these specific pointers, please see the
source link here. It’s a great read for whenever you have the time.
Are the expiration dates just a marketing scheme?
Several have argued “yes” while others have argued “no” on this question,
and it is truly an unsettling, yet unsettled one as opinions will continue to
range on it. Though the question itself is an interesting one, one likely
based on the fact that nearly everything in today’s society is, at one point or
another, a marketing scheme. The sad truth is that many only care about
money these days.
But consider this. Governments have to regulate expiration dates for the
public good. At the same time, businesses need to sell more of their
product in order to survive. Simultaneously, the consumer needs to stay
informed and not simply be “marketed to like he or she is just another
number”. It is an interesting multi-faceted dilemma indeed, and perhaps the
answer is not to be found in this lifetime.
So let the matter be known in all its clarity, good friends. Toothpaste does,
in fact, expire. Check yours. More importantly, know what is in it. Does it
contain fluoride and expire later?