Calories in Toothpaste: Should You Be Worried?

Calories in Toothpaste: Should You Be Worried?

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There’s an obsession with calorie counting in American culture, and this even extends to toothpaste. There are a lot of questions on forums like Quora and Reddit about whether there are calories in toothpaste so we want to answer this question with a more useful response than “it depends.”

But are people actually getting empty calories from toothpaste while brushing their teeth? Does traditional toothpaste contain more calories than "natural" toothpaste? Can toothpaste selection really impact weight loss?

Most of the confusion stems from the fact that toothpaste brands aren’t required to publish a Supplement Facts or Nutrition Facts label with calories included, like consumers are used to seeing on many other products, because toothpaste isn’t categorized as a consumable product.

In this article we’ll explain whether there are significant calories in toothpaste. We'll also discuss whether commercial or "natural" toothpaste contains more calories, and whether or not it matters in relation to weight loss.

Calories in Commercial Toothpaste

Crest Cavity Protection ingredients

The ingredients in Crest Cavity Protection are shown above.

Most commercial brands of toothpaste like Crest are manufactured by large consumer products companies like Procter & Gamble, and are less likely to contain calories because they tend to include more synthetic ingredients and fewer whole food ingredients.

Sodium fluoride is the active ingredient and has zero calories.

Sorbitol and sodium saccharin are the only two ingredients with a small amount of calories in this product.

Sorbitol is a sweetener which only contains around 3 calories per gram, and there’s likely less than one gram of sorbitol in a toothpaste serving. Additionally, since toothpaste is mostly not ingested, most of these calories aren't even consumed.

Sodium saccharin is another sweetener that contains around 4 calories per gram. There is likely less than one gram of this ingredient in a serving of toothpaste.

Overall, we'd estimate that this toothpaste provides around 3 calories per serving, given that much of it is not ingested.

But how does that compare to natural toothpaste? We'll discuss in the next section of this article.

Calories in Natural Toothpaste

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Toothpaste ingredients

The above ingredient list is from Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Toothpaste.

Many natural health products use foods or food derivatives as ingredients. This goes for both personal care products like soap and for dental care products like toothpaste. These formulations are generally created with the idea that consumers shouldn’t expose themselves to chemical compounds that wouldn’t be safe enough to consume.

Glycerin is the first-listed ingredient and contains around 4 calories per gram.

Aloe juice, coconut flour and coconut oil also contain calories, but there's likely a small amount of these ingredients in each serving.

The other ingredients contain zero calories.

We would estimate the calorie content to be slightly higher (around 5-8 calories per serving) for this natural toothpaste than the Crest toothpaste.

We Tested it Ourselves

UGC of Sensodyne toothpaste bottle

As one of the authors of this article (Calloway), I wanted to share my personal experience with whether or not the calories in toothpaste affect body weight.

I've tracked my weight weekly over the course of years because I'm working out and eating at a caloric surplus to gain muscle. Even when my calorie intake has been constant, the type of toothpaste I used had no effect on my body weight.

I've used both "traditional" and "natural" toothpastes.

I currently use Sensodyne Gentle Whitening, which has a small amount of calories.

Does Toothpaste Choice Affect Weight?

In our opinion, the calories consumed from toothpaste are likely to be negligible and not worth even considering in the context of weight changes.

There are a small amount of calories per serving (no more than 10 maximum), and the majority of the serving doesn't even get ingested.

Whether someone consumes 5 calories or 0.5 calories while brushing their teeth will not make a significant weight loss difference. The calorie difference between "high calorie" (natural) toothpaste and "low calorie" (commercial) toothpaste is likely a few calories or less.

Individuals are also likely to burn more calories brushing their teeth than they consume through accidental ingestion.

We suggest that people use whatever toothpaste is recommended by their dentist and pay no mind to any potential calories.

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There are calories in toothpaste, and there are slight differences in the amount of calories between different categories of toothpaste, but the differences are negligible.

Naturally-derived toothpastes like those sold by Dr Bronner's tend to have slightly more calories than commercial toothpaste brands like Crest because they use whole food ingredients.

There are much more important factors to weight loss than calorie intake from toothpaste, such as fiber intake (as we discussed at length in our Plenity review), and we believe that individuals are likely to burn more calories brushing teeth than they consume.