Ever wondered if there are calories in toothpaste? The short and simple answer is yes, most toothpastes contain calories. In fact, a typical toothpaste from your local supermarket contains about 1 calorie per 100 grams. From a dietary perspective this is a negligible quantity, especially if you don’t swallow when you brush.
So don’t worry, even if you eat a whole tube every day (please do not eat toothpaste!) you will not add anything to your daily calorie count.
Which Toothpaste Ingredient has Calories?
Even so, it is interesting to think about calories in toothpaste. Why would there be calories in toothpaste? Are there carbs in toothpaste? Sugar? Fat? Let’s take a look the ingredients list of a common big brand toothpaste like Colgate:
- Sodium Monofluorophosphate (0.14% w/v Fluoride Ion) (0.76 %)
- Hydrated Silica
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Cellulose Gum
- Sodium Saccharin
- Yellow 10
- Blue 1
If you’ve read our post on emulsifiers, you will recognise the carrageenan and cellulose gum right away. We know that many of these types of food additives are manufactured from seaweed, so perhaps they’re the source of the calories? Nope. They do contain food energy, but they’re in such tiny concentrations in toothpaste as to make their calorie contribution undetectable.
Carbohydrates in Toothpaste
To the untrained eye, none of the other ingredients look like calorie containing compounds. However, any first year chemistry student will immediately understand that the glycerin is the most likely source. Glycerin, or Glycerine, or more properly Glycerol, is classed as a carbohydrate. It has a calorie count similar to that of common household sugar (sucrose).
Glycerol belongs to the Polyol, or sugar alcohol, chemical group. It complements the saccharin to make toothpaste taste sweet. Unlike sugar it does not feed the mouth bacteria which cause tooth decay. It also acts as a humectant and solvent in the toothpaste.
Glycerol, then is the main source of calories in toothpaste. If your toothpaste does not contain glycerol, it is likely substituted with some other sugar alcohol like xylitol or sorbitol. All of these polyols have sugar-like calorie counts.