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 much of 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”.

People trying to lose weight are often especially interested about whether they're adding empty calories when brushing their teeth.

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, and review a few different types of toothpaste to see if the calorie content differs between types.

Commercial Toothpaste Calorie Review

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 pharmaceutical ingredients and fewer whole foods ingredients.

Crest toothpaste Drug Facts label

As an example, the above Drug Facts label from a popular Crest toothpaste only has two ingredients with a minute amount of calories: sorbitol and sodium saccharin.

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.

All of the other ingredients are emulsifiers, flavoring agents or other filler ingredients with no calories at all, including the active ingredient sodium fluoride.

Natural Toothpaste Calorie Review

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.

Dr. Bronner's toothpaste ingredients

The above ingredients label is from a Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste. It contains several caloric ingredients. 

The first ingredient, glycerin, contains around 4 calories per gram which is a very low amount. 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 for this natural toothpaste than the Crest toothpaste.

Does it Really Matter?

In our opinion the calories consumed from toothpaste are likely to be negligible and not worth even considering. There is 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 single calorie 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 den​​tist 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.

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.

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