Is Toothpaste Flammable?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Toothpaste comes in various textures and flavors, and it combines a wide range of ingredients to achieve its teeth-cleaning, mouth-freshening abilities. But with so many mysterious things in toothpaste, you might be wondering if it’s flammable.

Toothpaste isn’t flammable. On rare occasions, it might produce a small amount of flame when you set fire to it, but this doesn’t mean it should be considered a major safety concern. Unlike many other household materials, toothpaste melts down when exposed to fire.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ingredients that toothpaste is made of and whether any of them are hazardous. We’ll cap things off by learning how to choose a good toothpaste.

Is Toothpaste Flammable?


Toothpaste isn’t flammable. When you expose it to fire, it just melts and doesn’t catch fire. However, in some rare instances, toothpaste could go up in flames and pose a danger to people. Studies show some toothpastes have elements that could ignite.

Despite the possibility of toothpaste catching fire being rare, you should still ensure that it doesn’t contain substances that could make it flammable.

Is Toothpaste Hazardous? 

Toothpaste is somewhat hazardous since it’s made up of chemicals like fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and diethanolamine.

Even so, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are no negative effects of using toothpaste, and it doesn’t pose any significant threat to humans and the environment. 

Toothpaste Ingredients 

There are several toothpaste ingredients, with each one serving a crucial purpose. They include the following:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a type of bleach and a proven teeth whitener. Apart from being in toothpastes, it’s in over-the-counter bleaching kits and whitening kits prescribed by dentists to bleach teeth.

Keep in mind that the American Dental Association (ADA) advises you to bleach your teeth only after consultation and approval of your dentist or under their supervision.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate is basically baking soda. Although its role in toothpaste is debatable, some dentists claim it helps eliminate coffee and food stains from teeth. Being a mild abrasive, it scrubs your teeth and helps remove plaque, leaving them feeling clean and smooth. 

Other abrasives in toothpaste are calcium carbonate, kaolin, dicalcium phosphate, silica, and bentonite.

Sodium Pyrophosphate

If you use tartar-control toothpaste, you might have noticed this ingredient labeled on the tube. Tests on teeth with sodium pyrophosphate have revealed that it prevents the formation and accumulation of plaque when you use it consistently. 

Propylene Glycol

Most toothpaste manufacturers use propylene glycol to keep the toothpaste in gel form and prevent the solid and liquid components from splitting up. Sorbitol, glycerol, and pentatol can also perform this task.

Sodium Saccharin

Sodium saccharin is a synthetic sweetener most toothpaste manufacturers use since it’s inexpensive. It’s extremely sweet — 600 times sweeter than table sugar — so only a little is used in toothpaste. 

Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate

This is the ingredient that causes the foaming action in your mouth. In some toothpastes, it’s substituted by sodium stearyl fumarate and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). People with sensitive gums opt for SLS-free toothpastes, however, as the ingredient can induce canker sores.

Desensitizing Ingredients

ADA-approved desensitizing ingredients like strontium chloride and potassium nitrate are used in toothpaste specially made for sensitive teeth.

They reduce discomfort in your teeth by obstructing the transmission of pain to the nerves in your teeth.


The FDA recently approved the use of this antibacterial agent in toothpastes. Triclosan can fight gingivitis in adults by preventing the growth of bacteria that give rise to plaque. The only toothpaste that contains triclosan is Colgate Total.

How to Choose a Good Toothpaste 

Toothpaste is applied to the toothbrush

Going down to the supermarket to buy toothpaste can be pretty daunting as the toothpaste aisle is full of various options, making it tough to choose a certain type. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though.

Here are some tips for choosing a good toothpaste that suits you and your family:

  • Pick a toothpaste that matches your teeth sensitivity.
  • If you want to whiten your teeth, choose one with whitening ingredients.
  • If you need tartar protection, choose toothpaste with such properties.
  • Choose a toothpaste that can help fight gingivitis and gum disease.
  • Look for a toothpaste that’s safe but also tasty for the kids.

Once you’ve found the toothpaste that suits all your needs, you also need to:

  • Ensure the toothpaste contains fluoride
  • Confirm if it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance
  • Check for any abrasive ingredients

If that still sounds like a lot to process, we’re happy to recommend a couple favorites. You can’t go wrong with Colgate Cavity Protection (on Amazon) for the adults in the family, and Tom’s Silly Strawberry Fluoride Toothpaste (also on Amazon) for the kids.

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