Expired Toothpaste

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 different.

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.

Final thoughts

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?