No, glycerin is not inherently bad for teeth.
Widely found in personal care products, glycerin is anti-microbial and included in toothpaste as a safe and affordable preservative.
At the same time, glycerin functions like an occlusive and may leave a film on your teeth. This film can prevent the remineralizing agents in the toothpaste from getting into your enamel. Over time, this process could potentially exacerbate tooth decay and cavities.
That being said, there is no conclusive evidence that glycerin is bad for your oral health or contributes to conditions like gum disease, bad breath, or dry mouths.
This article will explain everything you need to know about glycerin, its impact on your teeth, and the benefits of glycerin free toothpaste.
What is glycerin?
Also known as glycerol, glycerin is naturally occurring sugar alcohol.
Vegetable glycerin is an odorless liquid that is commonly used in the food industry thanks its sweet taste and anti-caking effects.
Further, it is found in oral care, skincare, and other personal care products thanks to its ability to prevent the growth of bad bacteria and water-binding properties.
Glycerin is generally well-tolerated through both topical and oral consumption and has been approved by the United States FDA for both.
What is glycerin used for?
Also known as glycerol, glycerin is a popular ingredient in industries like:
Food production: as an anti-caking agent, thickener, and sweeter
Oral care: as a preservative and antimicrobial agent
Skincare: as a humectant to improve skin hydration
Glycerin is generally safe for consumption, although certain people may be more sensitive to it.
For these individuals, side effects can include discomfort and gastrointestinal distress.
As glycerin is safe to consume, it is a common agent used in food production as a sugar substitute and to thicken drinks.
Additionally, thanks to its moisture attracting properties, glycerin is added to food to reduce caking and to prevent food from drying out.
Glycerin is often added to toothpaste because it:
Fights dry mouth
Reduces bacteria buildup
Keeps toothpaste from drying out
In the leagues of ingredients like hyaluronic acid and panthenol, glycerin is an effective humectant used to improve your skin's natural moisture barrier.
Glycerin works by attracting and binding to environmental water molecules. This has a number of cosmetic and health benefits such as:
Speeds up would healing
Improves skin barrier function
Reduces rates of transepidermal water loss
Provides a temporary plumping effect on skin
Why does glycerin toothpaste exist?
Glycerin is a preservative and commonly included in toothpaste to keep it from drying out.
Further, glycerin inhibits bad bacteria growth in toothpaste and can protect you from oral disease due to bacteria buildup.
Is glycerin in toothpaste bad?
While not inherently harmful, if glycerin leaves a film over your tooth enamel which prevents your teeth from absorbing the active ingredients in your toothpaste.
That being said, glycerin is sometimes essential to the viscosity and formulation of toothpaste and cannot be removed.
Why is glycerin bad for your teeth?
Active ingredients like nano hydroxyapatite and fluoride are included in toothpaste to stimulate the remineralization process.
If glycerin creates an occlusive coating over your teeth, this might inhibit remineralization from occurring.
Overall, glycerin is not inherently bad for your teeth, but it might be harmful to individuals in need of remineralization, such as those dealing with:
Individuals that need especially need remineralizing benefits from toothpaste should consider switching to a glycerin free, non toxic toothpaste.
The Best Glycerin Free Toothpaste
NOBS is a fluoride free, nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste without glycerin.
Because NOBS are dehydrated, natural toothpaste tablets, they don't require water or many preservatives to prevent bad bacteria growth. Therefore, NOBS do not include glycerin in the formula to function correctly.
While glycerin has not been proven to disrupt your oral microbiome, it could prevent nano hydroxyapatite from remineralizing enamel.
Thus, individuals at greater risk for hypersensitivity and cavities should consider switching over.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does glycerine do for teeth?
Glycerin in toothpaste prevents the growth of bad bacteria from spreading around your mouth from your toothpaste. At the same time, glycerin toothpastes have the potential to leave a coating on your teeth that may not come off when you brush. This glycerin coating can prevent the active ingredients in your toothpaste from getting to your enamel and lead to oral disease.
Is glycerin in toothpaste bad for your teeth?
While not inherently harmful, if glycerin leaves a film over your tooth enamel which prevents your teeth from absorbing the active ingredients in your toothpaste. Over time, this can be harmful to individuals in need of remineralization, such as those dealing with cavities and hypersensitivity.