Dentifrices contain ingredients that help reduce caries, plaque, gingivitis, hypersensitivity, dental erosion, calculus, stain, and halitosis. Some ingredients provide a therapeutic benefit, while other ingredients or additives contribute to the cosmetic benefits or physical properties of the dentifrice.
The first dentifrice ingredient clinically proven to provide a health benefit was fluoride, which can be delivered from one of several different fluoride-based compounds (three are allowed for use in the US under the US monograph system). Over time, dentifrices evolved to provide multiple therapeutic and cosmetic benefits. This section of the course describes the most common dentifrice ingredients used for therapeutic benefits (caries, plaque/gingivitis, and hypersensitivity) as well as cosmetic ones (calculus, whitening, and bad breath), and it provides perspective on how the market evolved to deliver multiple benefits in dentifrice formulations.