Some components used to make toothpaste come from these minerals: fluorite (left), limestone (middle), and bauxite (right).
Did you know that whenever you’re using toothpaste, you’re effectively rubbing pieces of the earth on your teeth?
This is because toothpaste contains materials that were mined from the earth. Toothpaste typically contains aluminum oxides and limestone, which serve as gentle abrasives to scrub the surface of the teeth. And fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that helps prevent tooth decay, can be derived from the mineral fluorite.
These components have to be mined from the ground. Aluminum oxides come from reddish Aluminum-rich rocks called bauxite, which are mined through large excavations on the earth’s surface called open pits. Limestone is obtained through a similar method. And fluorite is mined either through open pits or by driving underground tunnels.
So the next time you brush your teeth, remember that your toothpaste have components that were once parts of rocks that were buried in the ground.
Fluorite photo by Rob Lavinsky
Limestone photo by H. Raab
Bauxite open pit photo by Palickap