National Geographic has a new web series called Ingredients, in which chemist George Zaidan walks us through the ingredients in typical household materials. First up is a video about toothpaste. Zaidan checks the ingredients list and explains what everything does, discusses the history of toothpaste, and even gets into how you can make toothpaste at home.
What's impressive about this video is that Zaidan actually explains the chemistry of these ingredients and what they do. It would be easy to make a few wisecracks and move on, but this video is genuinely educational. Learn up!
From the YouTube description, here's an important update:
UPDATE: Since we filmed this video, the FDA has banned triclosan and 18 other ingredients from “consumer antiseptic wash products” (aka soap). You can read the details below, but the FDA is basically saying that none of these ingredients clean your hands any better than plain old soap and water. The FDA did not ban triclosan from toothpaste, but you can easily check whether your toothpaste has it by checking the ingredients label. Triclosan would be listed under “Active Ingredients” in the “Drug Facts” box on the back of the package. Most toothpastes don’t have triclosan, so you can choose to brush without it if you’d like.