Cosmetic dentistry

Toothpaste Selection: Decoding Abrasiveness and RDA Index

Teeth care plays a crucial role in maintaining good oral health. Making wise decisions when choosing toothpaste is essential because the market offers a variety of toothpaste types, each with different properties and ingredients. Evaluating these options allows us to select a toothpaste that best suits the individual needs of those seeking dental care at clinics or pharmacies, as they trust the professionals recommending toothpaste to them.

In the considerations for recommending toothpaste, the Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) index plays a crucial role. It’s essential to choose the right toothpaste based on specific circumstances to avoid adverse effects on oral health.

According to the guidelines of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Spanish Society of Epidemiology and Oral Public Health, understanding what the RDA index is, how it’s measured, and the range of abrasiveness is essential.

The RDA index measures the abrasive nature of toothpaste. The higher the RDA value, the more abrasive the toothpaste. RDA is measured through laboratory testing, where toothpaste samples are mechanically brushed on the surface of artificial enamel teeth. The amount of material removed during brushing determines the RDA value.

Both the American Dental Association and the Spanish Society of Epidemiology and Oral Public Health have established recommended ranges for toothpaste abrasiveness. According to the ADA, toothpaste with RDA values from 0 to 70 is considered low abrasive, 70 to 100 is moderately abrasive, and 100 to 150 is highly abrasive. Similarly, the Spanish Society of Epidemiology and Oral Public Health classifies toothpaste with RDA values of 0 to 60 as low abrasive, 61 to 80 as moderately abrasive, and 81 to 200 as highly abrasive.

Benefits and risks of different abrasiveness

Low abrasive toothpaste is beneficial for overall dental health, effectively removing biofilm and food residues without damaging enamel. It helps prevent the formation of cavities, maintaining good oral hygiene.

On the other hand, highly abrasive toothpaste may not be conducive to long-term dental health. These toothpaste types can wear down enamel, increasing the risk of tooth sensitivity. Continuous use of highly abrasive toothpaste can lead to tooth erosion and conditions like periodontal disease. It’s essential to be cautious when recommending highly abrasive toothpaste and, if recommended, alternate its use with other low abrasive alternatives.

What RDA index is recommended for individuals with tooth sensitivity, gingivitis, and/or periodontitis?

For individuals with tooth sensitivity, it’s recommended to use low abrasive toothpaste. Low abrasive toothpaste is gentle on teeth, helping minimize enamel exposure and reducing tooth sensitivity.

In cases of gingivitis and periodontitis, it’s crucial to recommend a toothpaste that promotes gum health. In addition to good biofilm control and flossing practices, toothpaste with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties is advisable. Importantly, these toothpaste options should have moderate to low abrasiveness to avoid further irritation of inflamed gums. In cases of gum recession, lower abrasiveness is preferred.

Factors influencing toothpaste RDA

The RDA of toothpaste can vary significantly due to factors affecting its formulation. One such factor is the type of additives used in toothpaste. Additives are components without specific therapeutic functions but play a vital role in the texture and abrasiveness of toothpaste. Common additives include thickeners, moisturizers, and flavoring agents.

Another critical factor is the type and form of silica used in most toothpaste formulations. Silica is an abrasive particle contributing to the cleaning and polishing action of toothpaste. The shape and roughness of silica particles vary, directly impacting the abrasiveness of toothpaste. Generally, toothpaste with higher polishing efficiency has lower RDA values when using smoother silica particles compared to rough ones.

Additionally, some toothpaste may contain different types of abrasives, such as calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, or tetrapotassium pyrophosphate. These abrasives have varying abilities to remove biofilm and stains.

Recommended RDA for children and orthodontic patients

It’s recommended for children to use low abrasive toothpaste. Children’s teeth are more vulnerable, making it crucial to choose a gentle toothpaste that won’t harm developing enamel and deciduous teeth.

For orthodontic patients, toothpaste with moderate abrasiveness is advised. The presence of braces and wires can make proper cleaning challenging, increasing the risk of plaque accumulation and cavities. Toothpaste with moderate abrasiveness helps more effectively remove biofilm without damaging braces or teeth.

The importance of fluoride and calcium in toothpaste formulations

Fluoride and calcium are crucial components in toothpaste formulations because of their benefits to dental health. Fluoride strengthens enamel, helping prevent the formation of cavities. Additionally, fluoride has remineralization properties, aiding in repairing enamel weakened by acidic substances produced by bacteria.

The enamel contains a significant amount of calcium, and toothpaste with added calcium contributes to enamel remineralization and fortification. Calcium is vital for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

In conclusion, when recommending toothpaste, it’s crucial to consider the RDA index and abrasiveness range established by organizations such as the American Dental Association and the Spanish Society of Epidemiology and Oral Public Health. Depending on factors such as tooth sensitivity, gingivitis, and age, choose toothpaste that suits various situations. In addition to RDA, the presence of fluoride and calcium in toothpaste formulations is essential for promoting dental health.


Addy, M. (2014). Tooth brushing, tooth wear and dentine hypersensitivity—are they associated?

W.H. Arnold, Ch. Gröger, M. Bizhang, and E. A. Naumova (2016). Abrasion of various desensitizing toothpaste formulations on dentine.

Figuero, E., Nóbrega, D. F., García-Gargallo, M., Tenuta, L. M. A., Herrera, D., & Carvalho, J. C. (2019). Mechanical and chemical plaque control in simultaneous treatment of gingivitis and caries: A systematic review.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *