Toothpaste Abrasiveness - You May Be Surprised!


Toothpaste is used every day with little thought. Choices range from whitening, tartar control, sensitivity control, cavity protection, enamel rebuilding, and many more. The one thing they all have in common is a degree of abrasiveness.

Abrasives make up at least fifty percent of a typical toothpaste and are used to remove plaque and stain. They are insoluble particles and can be detrimental to the enamel, dentin, and cementum. Types of abrasives used in toothpaste include particles of aluminum hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, various calcium hydrogen phosphates, silicas and zeolites, and hydroxyapatite.

The size of the abrasive particle determines the abrasiveness. Toothpaste abrasiveness is measured by its Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA).

The RDA table

0-70 = Low Abrasive

70-100 = Medium Abrasive

100-150 = Highly Abrasive

150-250 = Harmful Limit

FDA Recommended Limit is 200

ADA Recommended Limit is 250


RDA of some common Toothpastes:

Straight Baking Soda 7

Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder 8

Arm & Hammer Dental Care 35

Oxyfresh 45

Tom’s of Maine Sensitive 49

Arm & Hammer Peroxicare 49

Rembrandt Original 53

Tom’s of Maine Children 57

Colgate Regular 68

Colgate Total 70

Sensodyne 79

Aim 80

Colgate Sensitive Max Strength 83

Aquafresh Sensitive 91

Tom’s of Maine Regular 93

Crest Regular 95

Sensodyne Extra Whitening 104

Colgate Platinum 106

Crest Sensitivity 107

Aquafresh Whitening 113

Arm & Hammer Tarter Control 117

Arm & Hammer Advanced White Gel 117

Close-Up with Baking Soda 120

Colgate Whitening 124

Ultra Brite 130

Crest MultiCare Whitening 144

Colgate Baking Soda Whitening 145

Pepsodent 150

Colgate Tarter Control 165


These numbers are definitely worth a second look as you recommend toothpaste. Depending on the patient's needs and current oral health, the abrasiveness should be a factor in determining which dentifrice would be beneficial and effective without causing long term undesirable effects.

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