Looking for more ways to incorporate an eco-friendly lifestyle into your daily routine? How about when it comes to keeping those pearly whites nice and clean? Maybe it’s time to think twice about the long list of ingredients in your toothpaste and make the switch to a greener alternative. Here is a guide of some of the best and worst eco-friendly toothpaste options, as well as a step-by-step guide for your transition.
Baby steps to clean, green teeth
Eco-tips blog Paws and Pines recommends a phased approach to switching to eco-toothpaste. Otherwise, the new flavors and textures might leave your mouth feeling strange and unclean– just because it’s something unfair. Try following their recommended steps at your own pace:
1. Look for mainstream and conscious brands that you can find at most stores, like Toms of Maine and Hello Oral. These are mostly vegan, cruelty-free produces but are widely available.
2. Head to a natural food store for more options. Even Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have a larger section of “natural toothpastes” to choose from, including Jason, Dr. Bronner’s, Kiss my Face and Desert Essence. Do some research (see below for reviews) and select the brands you want to try.
3. Take some time to get used to the different tastes and textures of natural toothpaste. Without chemicals and additives, they won’t be exactly what you’re used to. If you hate something, try a different brand before giving up.
4. If you’re really serious about being environmentally friendly, explore zero-waste options like products that come in glass jars. Even plastic containers are better than aluminum tubes because they can be more readily recycled.
What ingredients to look for
There are a lot of options out there, and packages often make sweeping claims. Try looking for products that are sodium laurel sulfate free as evidence shows there is no clinical benefit.
Also, keep an eye out for Fluoride free products. Although fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, it also has been linked to brain, kidney and gum toxicity, so it is up to you to weigh your preferences and make an informed choice!
It’s also a great idea to consider products that are vegan, cruelty free, certified organic and free of artificial sweeteners or colors.
Popular eco-friendly toothpaste options
Tom’s of Maine
This brand can be found in most stores and promises anti-cavity and whitening properties, with an official American Dental Association seal. Their Whole Care Gel offers tartar control and whitening benefits without artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors or flavors.
Their Sensitive Relief Fluoride toothpaste uses aloe vera and potassium nitrate to help calm sensitive teeth.
This is a popular and widely available brand that also makes biodegradable soaps and cleaning products. Their toothpaste is natural, fluoride-free, vegan and cruelty free and has recyclable packaging. It also utilizes 70 percent organic ingredients and fair-trade ingredients when possible. It is available in three flavors: peppermint, cinnamon and anise.
This company’s tea tree and cinnamon toothpaste is fluoride-free and certified organic. Their packaging promises healthy teeth and gums, but Grist’s reports that the spiced cinnamon taste is “absolutely disgusting.”
This brand’s maximum care paste is anti-everything: anticavity, antibacterial, antigingivitis, antiplaque, anti-tartar and antioxidant. It does still contain sodium fluoride but has a nice minty flavor that will remind you of your ex-toothpaste– in a good way.
This brand makes recycled material toothbrushes and has a certified organic toothpaste made from chamomile and coconut oil. It is natural, cruelty free and comes in BPA-free packaging. The Good Trade reports that their products are delicious and they even have a coconut-banana flavor for children.
This brand’s whitening gel is fluoride-free with no artificial colors or sweeteners. According to Grist, the texture is more like a paste but quite difficult to squeeze out of the container.
Kiss my Face
Their whitening toothpaste is fluoride free and certified organic. Its ingredient list contains an intriguing surprise bonus of Iceland moss, but that might be what earned it an “incredibly awful” and “wretched” review in Grist’s decidedly unscientific study. It also contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which is discouraged by the Environmental Working Group.
Their Natural Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste is fluoride-free with no artificial preserves and sweeteners. It also has a surprise ingredient of seaweed extract and though it is has been described as having a refreshing taste, some find it a bit too salty.
DIY toothpaste recipe
Not satisfied with the store-bought ingredients and packaging? Try to make your own toothpaste out of three simple ingredients. Combine coconut oil and baking soda and at a 2:1 ration (twice as much coconut oil as baking soda) and then add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like peppermint. That’s it!
Other eco-friendly tips while you’re brushing
There are other ways to be a more eco-friendly brusher besides just the paste you use.
Opt for a wooden or bamboo toothbrush and avoid plastic flossers. There are also silk floss options that are biodegradable. Make sure you turn the water off while you are brushing to conserve fresh water.
Finally, use less paste. Just about a pea-sized amount will be sufficient and avoid swallowing it.