main ingredients in toothpaste that are actually good for the mouth, the rest are there to make it taste, smell and feel nice, act as preservatives, or bind everything together.
Sodium Fluoride: This helps maintain the strength of tooth enamel and, despite controversies, is perfectly safe at the amounts found in toothpaste.
Hydrated Silica: Mild abrasive used to rub away stains and debris. Alternatives include: calcium carbonate (chalk), magnesium carbonate or aluminium oxides.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate: It helps remove fat, but mostly included to make a nice foam (people expect bubbles in cleaning product!). Appears in other products such as shampoos, washing powder and liquids.
Triclosan: This anti-bacterial agent appears in many toothpastes. It helps prevent gum disease but is also a cause of concern after you spit. Triclosan is difficult to remove from sewage and when it enters the water systems it is toxic to some aquatic organisms.