Toothpaste Abrasiveness

Posted by on Apr 4, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off

The toothpaste you are using may be wearing away the enamel and dentin on your teeth, especially at the gumline! The use of “grit” in toothpaste is not unlike the use of grit on sandpaper. The more grit there is, the more effective it is at removing stain and plaque. Unfortunately, a significant downside is the destruction of tooth structure.

There is an abrasive index for toothpastes called the RDA Index. The higher the value, the more abrasive it is. At or below 45 may be acceptable balance between benefit and risk if you must use toothpaste. Over 45 is a matter of how quickly the loss of tooth structure can occur based on the RDA, frequency of use, type of toothbrush and brushing technique. If you don’t know the RDA of your toothpaste, you can find out by using the consumer contact information on the package or container. The following list gives the RDA index of just some of the many toothpastes that exist today.

Abrasivity of common toothpastes:

RDA – Dentifrice brand and variety
04 ADA reference toothbrush and plain water
07 plain baking soda
08 Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder
30 Elmex Sensitive Plus
35 Arm & Hammer Dental Care
42 Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda Peroxide
44 Squigle Enamel Saver
48 Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sensitive
49 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Tartar Control
49 Tom’s of Maine Sensitive (given as 40’s)
52 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Regular
53 Rembrandt Original (“RDA”)
54 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Bold Mint
57 Tom’s of Maine Children’s, Wintermint (given as mid-50’s)
62 Supersmile
63 Rembrandt Mint (“Hefferren RDA”)
68 Colgate Regular
70 Colgate Total
70 Arm & Hammer Advance White Sensitive
70 Colgate 2-in-1 Fresh Mint (given as 50-70)
79 Sensodyne
80 AIM
80 Close-Up
83 Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength
91 Aquafresh Sensitive
93 Tom’s of Maine Regular (given as high 80’s low 90’s)
94 Rembrandt Plus
94 Plus White
95 Crest Regular (possibly 99)
101 Natural White
103 Mentadent
103 Arm & Hammer Sensation
104 Sensodyne Extra Whitening
106 Colgate Platinum
106 Arm & Hammer Advance White Paste
107 Crest Sensitivity Protection
110 Colgate Herbal
110 Amway Glister (given as upper bound)
113 Aquafresh Whitening
117 Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel
117 Arm & Hammer Sensation Tartar Control
120 Close-Up with Baking Soda (canadian)
124 Colgate Whitening
130 Crest Extra Whitening
133 Ultra brite
144 Crest MultiCare Whitening
145 Ultra brite Advanced Whitening Formula
150 Pepsodent (given as upper bound)
165 Colgate Tartar Control (given as 155-165)
168 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Fresh Mint
175 Colgate Luminous (given as 150-200)
200 Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/Whitening or Icy Blast/Whitening (given as 190-200)
200 FDA recommended limit
250 ADA recommended limit


Powered toothbrush users should avoid toothpastes from near the bottom of the list. Long term use of such toothpastes might wear down your enamel.

Pay attention to pressure. If the bristles look mashed down, you are brushing way too hard. The bristles on your old toothbrush should look just as parallel as on your new toothbrush. Don’t brush so hard and your teeth will thank you for it.