This review explores the physical, chemical and structural properties of key components of oral care products, whilst looking at the challenges which need to be overcome to continue to improve the efficacy of oral care, and improve dental health. Oral care has been an essential part of all populations and cultures around the world for thousands of years. To maintain good oral health, dental plaque causing bacteria and malodour must be controlled whilst also strengthening and protecting the teeth to prevent dental caries. Advanced modern formulations need to provide controlled and extended release of ingredients vital for dental health. With modern day products such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, it has never been easier to maintain good oral hygiene and health, yet the incidence of dental caries is still on the rise. The complex formulations of modern toothpastes and mouthwashes makes them one of the most sophisticated pharmaceutical products on the market today. The demands of the consumer coupled with the complexity of the oral cavity make it one of the most challenging development processes. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.