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Toothpaste is used to remove plaque and food debris from teeth. It typically includes three components: surfactants, abrasives and fluoride. Surfactants act as a detergent, allowing the toothpaste to foam and boost its cleaning ability. Abrasives in toothpaste physically scrub the teeth to remove foreign particles. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Some toothpaste varieties also include flavoring, peroxide or other components. Most toothpaste comes in paste or gel form, but powder toothpaste is also available.
While the general purpose of toothpaste is to clean the teeth, some brands or varieties are aimed at consumers with specific dental hygiene needs. These include toothpaste that whitens teeth, toothpaste designed for children, and toothpaste for individuals with sensitive teeth. The American Dental Association has created an official seal for toothpaste that has been judged safe and effective by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
Companies that make toothpaste include Colgate, Crest, Aquafresh, Sensodyne, and Aim. Smaller specialty companies also make toothpaste, often as part of a larger personal healthcare product line. Toothpaste is sold in a wide variety of venues, including at supermarkets, small grocery stores, drugstores, beauty supply stores, and convenience stores.
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