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When you think about it, what’s a toothpaste commercial without a pristine toothbrush and a plump swish of sparkling toothpaste across the top of the bristles?

Well, get ready to have your mind blown because, believe it or not, the amount of toothpaste we actually should be using on our teeth is about a fraction of that.

How Much Toothpaste Should Adults Use?

You probably squeeze a whole ribbon of toothpaste along the length of your brush, right? In reality, any amount greater than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is less than ideal. Not only does it expose you to the risks of fluorosis over time, but it is also a huge waste of toothpaste.

A solid pea-sized amount of toothpaste will provide your mouth with all the fluoride and washing power it needs to expunge bacteria and plaque to leave your teeth squeaky clean.

How Much Toothpaste Should Kids Use?

Any child over the age of seven can safely use a pea-sized amount of standard toothpaste when they brush. For younger kids, a grain-size amount of toothpaste provides similar benefits, in addition to preventing your tiny tots from accidentally swallowing excessive amounts of toothpaste. 

Keep in mind that no toothpaste should be used until they are at least 18 months of age. Once your kiddo is one-and-a-half, parents can start using a grain-size smear of low-fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush.

What Happens When You Use Too Much Toothpaste?

The answer is different for children and adults.

Children's Teeth

Most traditional kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, which is a substance that helps prevent tooth decay and strengthens teeth. Although fluoride is generally considered safe, if children ingest too much while their adult teeth are still forming, they can develop dental fluorosis.

You see, fluoride in higher concentration tends to mix with the other minerals that are trying to develop in your child’s teeth. We have multiple minerals that make up our teeth, and too much fluoride will basically change the ratios as your teeth are still developing. This can cause them to become stained or discolored, and in severe cases, even affect the quality of their surface, making them not as smooth. Those with dental fluorosis are also more susceptible to decay and breakdown.

Adult Teeth

Adults, on the other hand, don’t really need to worry about using too much toothpaste and possibly developing dental fluorosis.

As adults, our teeth are not developing anymore, so they are not at the high risk that kids tend to have to the effects of fluoride in high concentrations. The other reason is that adults are typically not swallowing their toothpaste. We’re not at risk of getting it more systematically about the body -- all it really means is that we’re wasting toothpaste.

So, there is absolutely no harm when adults use too much toothpaste? Not exactly.

Did you know that most tubes of toothpaste contain an abrasive element to assist in scrubbing your teeth clean? When using too much toothpaste, there is an excess of abrasives in your mouth, which can lead to gum recession and tooth structure loss.

Many adults tend to brush especially hard and use a large amount of toothpaste in an effort to brighten and whiten their smile. This, unfortunately, has the opposite outcome because scrubbing away the enamel is actually bringing the dentine level of the tooth closer to the surface, resulting in a darker overall appearance.

Additionally, if you suffer from pesky canker sores, your overuse of toothpaste may be to blame. The foam-producing sulfate (sodium lauryl sulfate) used in many popular kinds of toothpaste has been linked to causing irritation, leading to canker sores, and even infection.

Stay away from sulfates and stick with a toothpaste that gets its super-foaming power from natural sources. Not only are the foamy ingredients in our toothpaste derived from plants, but Twice toothpaste is vegan, cruelty-free, and will give you peace of mind every time you brush knowing you didn’t just dump a whole bunch of chemicals into your mouth.

What Toothpaste Ingredients Should You Avoid?

By now, we know that sulfates are bad and should always be avoided -- unless you enjoy getting canker sores, of course! But what other ingredients should be avoided?

Polyethylene Glycol

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a type of synthetic polymer which is often used as a humectant in toothpaste. While the initial reason that PEG was introduced into toothpaste makes sense, the benefit really doesn’t come close to outweighing the risks. You see, PEG is used to stabilize the consistency of solutions, helping to retain moisture.

In the case of toothpaste, PEG works to keep it from running off your brush and into a messy sink puddle. While proving to be beneficial, the truth is that PEG has been linked to endocrine description, and believe it or not, it is the first ingredient found in antifreeze -- yuck! 


Ah, parabens! Parabens are relatively common and are used to preserve the shelf life of a wide range of cosmetics, including toothpaste. Operating as a preservative, they can disrupt hormone function by mimicking the hormone estrogen, and in some cases, parabens may even lead to cancer. Today, many beauty companies are proud to not incorporate any harmful parabens in their products, so hop on this very deserving bandwagon and say no to parabens -- especially in your toothpaste!


Have you ever read the ingredients on your tube of toothpaste and noticed alcohol? Alcohol in toothpaste is extremely drying, and while that might not sound like a great big deal, the truth is that a dry mouth is a susceptible mouth, left vulnerable to germs and bacteria that want nothing more than to stick around on your teeth and turn into plaque build-up.

To make sure that your mouth is able to produce the necessary amount of saliva it needs to naturally rinse these unwanted invaders from your teeth, an alcohol-free toothpaste is recommended.


The purpose of incorporating triclosan in toothpaste is to reduce the chance of bacterial contamination. At first glance, this seems like a great idea, right? 

Well, when you look a little deeper, you’ll quickly realize it’s not so great, especially when you take into consideration that triclosan has been linked to hormonal imbalance stemming from a decrease in thyroid production as well as a resistance to antibiotics -- ouch! 


From medicine to beauty products and everything in between, sugar is just about everywhere you look these days, including your toothpaste. While an oh-so-sweet toothpaste may lure people into a more frequent brushing habit, the truth is that sugar is your teeth’s number one enemy and should be avoided at all costs. Besides, there are other options on the market for flavoring toothpaste without the use of this dangerous ingredient.

Take a look at this sugar-free yet delicious toothpaste from Twice. Our ingredients are clean and dentist-approved, with a goal to provide a balanced, refreshing, and elevated flavor profile that will actually make you want to brush twice a day.  

A Final Word

So, how much toothpaste should you be using?

Despite what many people think, brushing your teeth with an excessive amount of toothpaste actually doesn’t benefit you in any way. In fact, it could be doing more harm than good -- especially for the little ones.

With that in mind, adults should use no more than an estimated pea-sized dab of toothpaste, while young children should use no more than a tiny grain of rice.

In addition to cutting back on the amount of toothpaste you dab onto your brush, it’s also wise to pick a toothpaste that avoids using harmful ingredients like sugar, parabens, and sulfates.

But where does one find such a superior toothpaste, you ask?

When it comes to toothpaste, Twice knows a thing or two about oral care. Backed by science, research, and the dental industry, give our Oral Wellness products a try today -- you’ll be glad you did!

This page was written or reviewed for accuracy by the Twice Team. Learn more about us.