If you want to keep both the planet and your chompers squeaky clean, decide on the best sustainable toothpaste for your needs. Whether it’s a tab or a powder; tube or jar, you’ve got eco-friendly options far beyond whatever’s on sale at the grocery store.
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Our personal pick is Georganics Natural Toothpaste. There are lots of options we’ll stand behind though, so here’s a little more about what may work for you:
Best Sustainable Toothpaste
Hopefully this disclaimer isn’t necessary, but here it is anyway: at Judgement Free Green, we are always in search of products that are kind to our environment, but we are certainly not dentists. This article is for informative purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
And one other thing: if you haven’t used a natural toothpaste before, there are a couple things you’ll have to get used to. The first is the consistency. Natural toothpaste has a thinner consistency than what we’re used to. What’s more, many options come in tabs or different packaging that steepen the learning curve.
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The second is that natural toothpastes will not foam as much as traditional ones do. Most natural companies indicate the lack of foam is a result of removing synthetic foaming agents that don’t add any cleaning power. (A fascinating explanation on why toothpaste foams, and how it was the brain child of the marketing department, rather than the scientists can be found in Charles Duhigg’s The Power Habit. A worthy read even if you don’t care about toothpaste foam.)
Okay, now for our picks:
1. Georganics Natural Toothpaste
Georganics Natural Toothpaste is the top sustainable toothpaste in our list because it checks all the boxes: plastic-free packaging; pleasant, yet subtle taste; natural ingredients that clean and whiten teeth safely. This tubeless paste requires spooning a pea-sized amount on your brush (a small bamboo scoop comes with the jar), brushing normally, and rinsing. Each four ounce jar will last about two months if you brush twice a day.
- Zero-waste: reusable glass jar with metal lid comes in cardboard packaging
- Variety of flavors and formulations including activated charcoal for whitening
- Users report clean mouth feel and fresh breath for a long time
- Many state flavor is too mild (a common feedback point for natural toothpaste)
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2. Davids Natural Toothpaste
Davids Natural Toothpaste has the smallest learning curve for those switching over to sustainable toothpaste. It comes in a traditional tube – metal, rather than the harder-to-recylce plastic. A food grade liner is on the inner tube, ensuring there won’t be any weird reactions. AND each tube comes with a “key” that you can wrap around the bottom of the tube once it starts to get low, to squeeze out every drop.
Davids is proud of their ingredient list, which eschews both fluoride and sodium laurel sulfites (SLS). According to the company, in response to a question regarding their choice to leave these things out:
Most “common” or mainstream toothpaste use fluoride as the primary active ingredient to combat tooth decay. Fluoride is simply a chemical that helps harden the enamel on your teeth, so that the bacteria in plaque have a harder time eating through the enamel, causing a cavity…Many consumers are making the personal health choice to avoid having another chemical enter their body, so have chosen to avoid fluoride due to the potential health risks to the rest of their body. With Davids, instead of using chemicals, we use a very finely crushed powdered limestone, which acts a a natural abrasive to help remove the plaque from your teeth….plaque is what causes cavities, so by removing the plaque, this aids in working to prevent cavitiesDavid’s response to consumer question
- Quality ingredients, 98% of which are sourced from the US
- Fluoride and SLS-free, for those who prefer to avoid these ingredients
- Convenient tube key included, leaving almost zero product behind
- Retailing at about $12 per tube, it is one of the pricier options
3. Etee Chewpaste Tabs
Etee is a sustainable brand with plastic-free products at the forefront of their mission. And chewpaste? It’s definitely the toothpaste of the future. The instructions are in the name. These tabs look like little mints – just pop one in your mouth, chew gently and brush as usual with a wet toothbrush. This product is a saving grace for anyone who’s absolutely over cleaning up toothpaste globs from the sink. (And, inexplicably, the counter if you’re in my house.)
It’s also a great sustainable toothpaste alternative to the brands above, which many users report being a little thin for their liking. Each jar contains about a month’s supply for one person.
- Zero-waste packaging: reusable jars with metal lids
- Great for travel
- Shipping is just $3.95 for orders under $50 (free otherwise), and the company offers a 90 day money back guarantee
- Many report flavor is too mild (a common feedback point for natural toothpaste)
4. Bite Toothpaste Bits
Similar to the Etee Tabs mentioned above, Bite is an eco-friendly brand that specializes in dental hygiene products (they’ve also got mouthwash bits, floss, and more). They don’t contain fluoride, but do contain nHAP, which they claim is a non-toxic alternative. What sets Bite apart is their subscription program and kits. If you really just want to remove the task of keeping tabs on the dental supplies of every household member, Bite has your back: they offer subscription plans. When you commit to the four-month refill schedule, a jar of 248 tablets is $30, or about $7.50/month. That is very reasonable for a sustainable toothpaste.
- Travel-friendly bits
- Zero Waste packaging
- Flouride alternative
- Affordable when compared to similar products
- Users report desiring a bit more foam
5. Nelson Naturals Toothpaste
Like similar jarred toothpastes, Nelson Naturals comes in zero-waste packaging which includes a glass jar and metal lid. Unlike Georganics, say, there’s no bamboo scoop that accompanies the purchase, and instructions state to “dip, brush, smile.” You may want to have a small spoon nearby, especially if you’re sharing this product. (You may need one either way to stir the paste to achieve a more toothpast-y consistency. It tends to be runny at first.)
- Users report an improvement of tooth sensitivity after use
- Multiple flavors available, including citrus, fennel, and cinnamon
- Activated Charcoal Whitening option available
- The “dip and brush” technique may not work for every household
6. Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets
Another tablet makes the list of the best sustainable toothpastes. We’ve included Denttabs because it offers a zero-waste, tubeless option, however this one also contains fluoride. While some natural toothpaste brands leave fluoride out altogether or substitute it with nHAP, it cannot be denied that it’s long been added to toothpastes and is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). Enter: Denttabs. Additionally, these tablets come in a bag made from cornstarch which can be thrown in your backyard compost.
- Contains fluoride, unlike most natural toothpastes
- While the packaging is plastic-free, it’s prone to breaking down before empty. (Have a jar handy!)
- These ship from the UK
Honorable Mention: Dr. Bronner’s
Dr. Bronner’s is a favorite around here. As a certified B-Corp, we know we can trust them. So while their toothpastes are packaged in a way that’s similar to the old guard, there is one important difference. Dr. Bronner’s has taken pains to manufacture their tube responsibly. According to their website, “Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste is packaged in tubes made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, 33% of which is bio-based plastic made from sugarcane—a more sustainable alternative to virgin petroleum-based plastics.”
With that being said, the product is similar to the sustainable toothpaste options we’ve covered here. Flouride- and SLS-free, the company opts for more natural cleaning agents.
- Responsibly sourced ingredients
- Stronger flavors than other natural toothpastes
- Comes in plastic-ish tube, albeit one better for the planet
Why You Should Switch to a Sustainable Toothpaste
When you’re trying to make your home more sustainable, you tend to look not only at products themselves, but also their packaging. When it comes to toothpaste – something that has always just been there – it’s a bit of a double whammy. Looking from the outside in, the cardboard box that encases toothpaste tubes can be recycled, but that’s about it. The tubes typically cannot be thrown into your local recycling bins, and that’s to say nothing of the plastic that generally wraps the boxes.
Finding a product that uses less packaging will dramatically shrink the carbon footprint of our fresh mouth. The products we looked at predominantly use plastic-free jars or aluminum tubes. Bonus points go to companies who eliminate plastic from their packaging and shipping as well.
How Does Toothpaste Harm the Environment?
If you’ve ever sat in the dentist’s chair while a hygienist digs into your gum line because the “scrubbing power” of your toothpaste is actually microscopic plastic bits (“microbeads”), then you know toothpaste may be suspicious. (Just me? Well count your unsuspecting self lucky.)
While microbeads are now technically banned from being added to toothpastes and other personal care items in the US, we’re not letting toothpaste off the hook completely. The traditional toothpaste tubes are not easily recyclable (but check out this program from Colgate and Terracylce that will help), so opting for toothpaste in a more recyclable tube is a better bet. And even better than that? Zero-waste powders and tabs that come in glass jars.
And with anything that we put into our bodies, assessing the ingredients is important. For a more comprehensive dive into ingredients found in a wide range of toothpastes, check out this article by Ethical Consumer.
What Sustainable Toothpaste Do You Love?
Let us know in the comments! This list is our top six-plus-one, but fortunately more and more sustainable products are becoming available all the time. We’d love to try what you’re using. Let us know!