Is Natural Toothpaste Better For You And The Planet?

Bamboo toothbrush with natural toothpaste tablets

Is Natural Toothpaste Better For You And The Environment?

Brushing your teeth is a mundane but essential daily task. So mundane that, beyond choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste that meet your oral health needs, you probably don't give the task much thought.

When you're running late because your teenager's hogging the bathroom, there isn't time for a toothpaste-related existential crisis. You just need clean teeth and preferably fresh breath to bad breath.

However, if your health is a priority, you have sensitive teeth, and you want to live more mindfully, you should take a long, hard look at your choice of oral care products. That seemingly innocent tube of minty-fresh gel hides a dirty secret that can negatively impact your health and that of the planet.

Here's why ditching commercial toothpaste tubes for eco-conscious natural toothpastes is a smart move.

Plastic tube of regular toothpaste
Photo by Karolina Grabowska​​

The Pros And Cons Of Conventional Toothpaste

Regular, commercial toothpaste does have its advantages: it's easy to use, it's a convenient and familiar option, and you can pick it up relatively cheaply during your weekly shop. All sounds harmless enough, right? So what's the issue?

It Contains Chemicals

The problem with traditional toothpastes is that most formulas contain toxic chemicals and even plastic! Each time you brush, the chemicals and plastic get washed down the drain into lakes and oceans, where they poison wildlife. Take a look at this horror show of ingredients:

  • Triclosan: a chemical antibacterial agent widely used in toothpaste and other personal care products. Known to inhibit marine animals' growth and hormones

  • SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate): the #1 bad guy in terms of human health when more than trace amounts are used. This foaming agent has links to many problems, including skin irritation

  • Microbeads (microplastics): included in many toothpaste formulas to remove stains and polish teeth. When marine animals ingest microbeads, they not only kill wildlife but can also end up on our plates via seafood!

Often Tested on Animals

Regular tubes of toothpaste sometimes contain unsustainable palm oil or animal products, which is not ideal for an eco-conscious vegan natural product, is it? This is irrespective of its fluoride toothpaste or fluoride-free options.

The formula may have been through animal testing, something that large, international corporations still do, although a banned practice in the UK.

Not Plastic-free Toothpaste

Finally, commercial toothpaste comes in a plastic tube with a plastic lid. Neither is reusable, and the different types of plastic often can't be recycled. Ugh.

Bamboo toothbrush with natural toothpaste powder
Photo by Karolina Grabowska​​
Bamboo toothbrush with natural toothpaste tablet
Photo by Sarah  Chai​​

Pros Of Natural Toothpastes

The main advantage of natural toothpaste is two-fold: it's far better for your health and the environment. The ingredients list is often shorter and more convenient to understand; there are no chemicals in natural, eco-friendly formulas; your sensitive gums will thank you.

Natural Taste Better

Natural often tastes nicer, as it contains only natural ingredients; it doesn't have those synthetic flavours, including artificial sweeteners, or artificial colours of commercial toothpastes.

Some natural toothpastes, like Denttabs, come in the form of tablets that you chew to create a paste for brushing. It is also whitening power as it contains baking soda.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Some are powders that you mix with water, and some are similar to regular toothpaste but without chemical nasties. These products often come in biodegradable packaging, glass jars or recyclable containers like cardboard boxes.

Natural Alternatives

It's even possible to make your own natural toothpaste using coconut oil and tea tree oil or to use a product already on your shelf.

For instance, some of The Natural French Soap Company's shampoo bars can be used to brush your teeth in a pinch or when you're travelling! They are made from organic ingredients and enriched with natural essential oils.

That means you can nail your buy-less-waste-nothing goals and save yourself some cash. And if you're striving for a 100%-eco oral care routine, choose a natural bamboo toothbrush; we have sizes for adults and children at The Natural French Soap Company.

Cons Of Natural Toothpastes

With all those benefits, you may be wondering if there are any downsides to using natural toothpastes. Admittedly, eco-natural products can sometimes be more expensive and it is harder to find in regular shops.

Also, depending on which type you choose (powder, tablets, or other), you may find it fiddly to use or dislike the texture until you get used to it.

Bamboo toothbrush with natural toothpaste tablet made from natural ingredients

“That transparency is important. Look at what's inside products and seek out those that contain natural, plant-based ingredients - from toothpaste to cosmetics.”

Sophie Heyman Uliano - Actress

Natural Vs Conventional Toothpaste

Using traditional toothpaste is one of those mindless habits we can't help but perpetuate. But switching to one of many natural toothpastes will make you feel so much better, health-wise and morals-wise!

You'll at least know that your oral hygiene isn't harming the planet but is still able to freshen breath and leave your mouth feeling fresh.

Like every aspect of your eco-lifestyle, changing your toothpaste is about finding the perfect balance. If you're willing to invest a little time and money into trying natural zero waste, organic toothpastes, the pros will outweigh the cons.

You can whiten teeth while preventing damage to your tooth enamel and the environment! Plus, your new pearly whites will give you a healthy smile!

Beautiful smile showing white teeth

A Brief Word On Fluoride Toothpaste

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral discharged from rocks into soil, water, plants and air. Nearly all water contains some amount of fluoride, but usually with insufficient quantities for preventing tooth decay.

Sometimes Fluoride is added to the drinking water supply to help reduce plaque and prevent cavities.

What Are The Benefits Of Fluoride?

When Fluoride is present in the mouth of both adults and children, it offers many benefits. It can: 

  • Prevent decay of the tooth enamel

  • Prevent cavities or lessen the occurrence of severe cavities

  • Lessen dentist visits for fillings and tooth extractions

  • Help prevent Gingivitis

  • Lessen the discomfort and suffering associated with tooth decay

Fluoride Worries

Even though Fluoride is natural, there are a couple of side effects, but only when consumed in very large doses. One of which is Dental Fluorosis can cause white spots on the teeth. This is more likely in children under the age of 8, so try to stop them from swallowing when they have brushed their teeth.

Some would say avoid fluoride, however, it seems there is no convincing evidence to support that argument at the moment.

If you have concerns about fluoride, many natural toothpaste companies offer fluoride-free toothpaste. Also, avoid swallowing it - and don't forget to tell the kids.

Et Vous?

Tell us in the comments below what you use as toothpaste. Have you considered making the switch to a zero-waste, more eco-friendly option? Do you have some oral health secrets you'd like to share?

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Denttabs Natural Organic Toothpaste Tablets with Baking Soda

Pack of 62 Tablets (one month supply)

That unrecyclable tube of microbead-riddled toothpaste - It’s sabotaging your efforts to live the eco life, isn't it? Well, here's your ethical solution!

These tablets are kind to Mother Earth and your mouth. With organic ingredients, they also come in sustainable, plastic-free, compostable packaging.

They're 100% natural and vegan with a minty-fresh taste that leaves your mouth feeling fresh. 

Denttabs contain the finest micro-cellulose that makes your teeth shiny while protecting your sensitive gums. When your teeth are polished, they're more resistant to plaque formation, so you'll have the healthiest gnashers around. Simply chew, brush, rinse and grin! 

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