What is it?
Hydrated silica is naturally derived from silica (silicon dioxide), an abundant compound that forms about 12% of the earth's surface.
What does it do?
Depending on the specific material and formulation, hydrated silica can be used as a thickener for gel toothpaste, a mild abrasive for cleaning or as a whitening agent in toothpaste.
How is it made?
Silica is crystalline as it occurs in nature. Sand and obsidian are common forms. The sand is heated with sodium carbonate and dissolved in water to form liquid sodium silicate. The liquid sodium silicate is mixed with acid and precipitated to make hydrated silica, which is an odorless, tasteless white powder. The hydrated silica is then milled, and based on the particle size of the material can be used for a variety of different applications.
What are the alternatives?
Another Stewardship-approved mild abrasive is chalk (calcium carbonate), a key ingredient in many of our toothpastes.
Is this the right option for me?
Hydrated silica has a long history of safe use as an ingredient in food products. It is listed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).1
Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
1 21CFR 172.480