Using zero waste toothpaste is a hot zero waste lifestyle trend. People seem keen to trade tubular toothpaste for tooth powders or toothpaste tablets.
With over a billion plastic toothpaste tubes going straight into mammoth-sized landfills, it is easy to think why regular toothpaste is harmful.
Sustainable zero waste toothpaste is more than its packaging. It also refers to the ethical sourcing of the many ingredients that go into the toothpaste.
But as with all things labeled ‘zero waste’, toothpastes have a whole section of queries. Is an eco friendly toothpaste better than a normal tube of our standard gel-based or paste formula? Isn’t using tooth powder harking back to the times of the yore?
What is the proof that a given toothpaste is sustainable and zero waste indeed? Or is it another marketing myth that is greenwashed to appease eco enthusiasts?
Leave the myth-busting and fact-checking to us while you check out our compiled list of 9 best zero waste toothpaste brands.
Sink your teeth right into this extended but informative rant which won’t bite your head off at all.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why is Your Regular Toothpaste Not Eco-Friendly?
- 2 All You Need to Know About Zero Waste Toothpaste!
- 3 Why Switch to Zero Waste Toothpaste?
- 4 Why is Plastic Free Toothpaste Good for You?
- 5 Is Toothpaste Biodegradable?
- 6 What is Tablet Toothpaste?
- 7 Are Toothpaste Tablets Worth Buying? Are They Better Than Toothpaste Tubes?
- 8 Toothpaste, Tablet Toothpaste or Tooth Powder- Which is Better?
- 9 9 Best Zero Waste Toothpaste Brands To Make That Smile Shine!
- 10 What Do We Think About Zero Waste Toothpastes?
Why is Your Regular Toothpaste Not Eco-Friendly?
Let’s begin with the problem first. Standard toothpaste seems one of the most harmless parts of our morning routine.
In reality, it is not unproblematic for the following reasons-
Toxic Ingredients- And Too Much Fluoride!
Fluoride and other chemicals are commonplace ingredients in toothpastes which can drastically impact your dental health.
But wasn’t it supposed to do the opposite? Yes, dentists recommend toothpastes to combat plaque buildup and prevent other symptoms such as bad breath and cavities.
However, toothpastes are loaded with chemicals such as Aspartame, Carrageenan, Diethanolamine and Parabens. Such chemicals give toothpastes their sweet taste and thick consistency, but can cause hormone disruption, cancer risks, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Fluoride, which prevents tooth decay can be dangerous if taken long-term, causing fluorosis.
Fluorosis is the appearance of brownish or whitish spots on teeth. In this sense, regular toothpastes can adversely harm the oral cavity of children and teens.
While a small amount of fluoride is healthy for teeth, but we don’t advise using toothpastes that are rich in fluorides for the sake of a better mouth-body connection.
Toothpastes Can Cause Abrasion
Dentists often recommend to not to brush too aggressively. But tooth abrasion or wearing down of enamel can be a result of both vigorous force and using toothpastes for too long.
In a way, this article is all about unlearning what we adapt so blindly. Toothpastes contain abrasives that help in cleaning plaque.
So far so good.
But if your toothpaste exceeds the Relative Dentin Abrasion (RDA) beyond 250- it is time to bid goodbye to it
You should ideally aim for a toothpaste with an RDA between 30 to 80, which is healthy enough to maintain your teeth.
Most of our zero waste toothpaste recommendations are within this limit, hence you can be assured that they are safe for use.
Toothpaste Rinse Off Can Cause Water Pollution
Toothpaste is often rich in SLS and fluoride. Rinsing it off can cause water pollution.
Making a frothy beard is all fun and games until we come to its bad effects on environment.
Now, this one is obvious. Tubular toothpastes are pretty wasteful even if you have mastered the art of making origami from it. And it isn’t value for money if most of the paste is getting stuck inside the tube.
Although, you might become a pro at making balloon animals at birthday parties because of the many little ways you find to twist that tube.
With so many evils, you might ask if you can ditch toothpastes entirely. Renowned dentist Dr. Todd Bertman says that it can be possible. But it does not erase the importance of regular dental cleaning. With zero waste toothpaste, you can move to a safer routine which is planet-positive!
All You Need to Know About Zero Waste Toothpaste!
Who knew something so ordinary like toothpaste could be a massive health scare?
But this is exactly where zero waste toothpaste comes to rescue. Touted as the next natural superalternative- zero waste, plastic-free and eco friendly toothpastes try to undo the harm done by regular pastes.
It is important to know that an oral cleaning agent does not always have to be a gel or a paste.
Although we are accustomed to squeezy tubes and accidentally putting more than a pea sized lump of paste on our brushes, zero waste toothpastes also come in powder and tablet forms. We have done a short comparison of these three variants in one of the sections below.
Meanwhile, you might have a myriad little questions about what exactly is so special about zero waste toothpaste.
Too Much Haste With Zero Waste?
Before we rattle off the many reasons why you should look at toothpaste tablets, powders and eco-friendly paste formulas, let’s find out what do we mean by zero-waste toothpaste.
First of all, if you think that there is something called zero waste, it is an idealist all goody-goody suggestion, but not real.
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of- it conjures up all those Pinterest style visuals of a ‘minimalist’ room full of Monstera, wooden furniture and artsy mirrors.
In fact, zero waste is the goal we aspire to achieve by extending the life cycle of products, generating less plastic waste and recycling things such as garments, bags, shoes, cookware et cetera.
But how does this figure when we are talking about toothpaste, because once we spit out the residue after horrendously (or adorably) frothing it up, it’s all… gone?
All that is left behind is our array of significantly whiter (or less paler) teeth. This is exactly what zero waste is, right?
Wrong. It isn’t that simple.
For starters, you may rinse the paste and the lather, but what will you do with the plastic tube it comes in? Now, this is what we are talking about.
While you might holler at how (un)truthful that billion plastic tube data might be since there is no source that explicitly states it’s true, plastic waste pollution is real.
With so many tubes floating in our oceans and dumped in massive landfills, you can imagine what rest of the story looks like.
A miniscule percent of those tubes are actually recycled- so, the amount of plastic waste currently circulating on our planet is pretty much like my TBR list- never ending.
Animals and birds might consume those tubes or that thimble like cap and can choke on it. YIKES.
Also, those tubes will take forever to degrade, and while they are at it, they will release a hell lot of toxic substances into the ground.
Not to mention how there is more plastic in our oceans than salt. I mean, using the hyperbole here aptly describes the reality!
Why Switch to Zero Waste Toothpaste?
There are many reasons for switching to zero waste toothpaste. We have listed five of these top reasons below:-
Reduces Plastic Waste
An eco friendly toothpaste reduces our environmental impact. By way of using more reusable packaging, zero waste toothpastes minimize the plastic waste generated by use and throw tubes.
Colgate, the brand synonymous with toothpaste and morning routines has come up with an innovative package design.
The brand comes with a foldable tube (look at the picture). It makes us wonder why didn’t we make tubes like this in the first place.
Reduces Water Footprint
More sustainable toothpaste variants appear as tooth powders or tablets that can be activated with water.
When we opt for such zero waste variants, we reduce the transportation costs attached with liquid formulae.
Liquid or gel formulations need more protective packaging compared to powders or tablet toothpastes. You can save on gallons of water if you eliminate the need for liquid formulae.
In fact, toothpaste tablets don’t even need water to use them. All you have to do is chew them up.
Your saliva will be enough to generate a paste like consistency. Brushing away your dental concerns in an environmentally sound way becomes entirely possible!
It’s Cost Effective
The best thing about zero waste toothpastes is that they are light on your pocket. It’s true!
Despite how posh they look, zero waste toothpaste tablets or tooth powders are cheaper than the standard products. We say, waste not and want not.
Zero waste toothpaste is cost effective because it comes in reusable containers.
Some of our recommendations in the list below are also cost-effective. Not everything that is zero waste has to be costly.
We have curated the recommendations thinking of how you can save long-term. Invest in the right products and you will get bigger returns in terms of your health and a positive environmental impact.
Why is Plastic Free Toothpaste Good for You?
Going plastic-free can have several positive effects on your lifestyle. Right from the moment you hit the bathroom to brush your teeth, going for a plastic free toothpaste helps you cut down on unnecessary, toxic waste.
A refillable glass container of toothpaste tabs or powder can help you cut down on your personal plastic output.
You might wonder if your sole decision to go plastic-free will have any impact or not.
Unfortunately, we are often conditioned to believe in the power of the mob (this is not a cruel comment on any democracy, we promise.).
Individual initiative counts- and who says it cannot turn the tide when you try to convince others through your actions?
Besides using a bamboo toothbrush, opting a plastic-free and less chemically-intensive toothpaste can work wonders for you.
By going for minimal waste packaging, you can help in reducing the massive plastic output that is floating in oceans or is buried in landfills.
Plastic is not only non-biodegradable- it is toxic and releases bad fumes and substances into the atmosphere. Therefore, it is wise to prefer packaging like glass jars which are refillable, or metal containers and tubes.
Since plastic is difficult to recycle- especially after the tube has become all crumpled and wrinkled up- it is better to go for toothpastes, powders and toothpaste tablets with fluoride that comes in refillable and recyclable containers.
Brands such as Huppy also let you customize the way you store your toothpaste tablets as well. Going plastic-free doesn’t have to be boring, you see!
Is Toothpaste Biodegradable?
Standard toothpastes are not biodegradable. It is a matter of both ingredients and packaging. Most toothpaste tubes are made of mix materials, which do not degrade easily and often have to be incinerated to finish them off.
Secondly, mainstream toothpastes feature ingredients that lead to both soil and water pollution when discarded.
Ingredients like Tricoslan can be harmful when concentrated in the environment. In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established its dangers, suggesting that Tricoslan should not be used in personal and oral care products.
However, the use of chemicals in toothpastes is still largely unconcentrated. Thus, switching to a zero waste toothpaste made of natural ingredients proves to be more logical.
What is Tablet Toothpaste?
Toothpaste tabs are oral cleaning formulas that come into a compressed, pill-format that is easy to carry.
These cute little bits are humectant-free and ready-to-activate. The lack of H2O in tabs makes them less water intensive, which is great for the planet.
Toothpaste tablets enriched with fluoride are catching up with tubular formula. Currently, the toothpaste tab industry is valued at a whopping $20 million, which is quite a mammoth share of the dental products industry.
The reasons behind the rise of tabs are simple- no wastage, less plastic and cost-effectiveness.
Are Toothpaste Tablets Worth Buying? Are They Better Than Toothpaste Tubes?
Is investing in toothpaste tablets worth it? Is it even toothpaste anymore if it does not contain the humectants usually found in paste and gels?
Technically, toothpaste tabs are not really the same as tubular toothpastes. In a way, they are more sustainable and gentler on the teeth.
They are less chemically intensive than pastes. Pastes often need chemical additives to prevent microbial action in liquid based formulae.
With respect to their plaque-cleaning prowess, there is a lack of data on toothpaste tabs, says Dr. James Fernando.
While these tiny pills are made from active and safe cleaning agents such as xylitol and sodium bicarbonate, they often lack fluoride.
Currently, many tab brands enrich their formulas with fluoride, which alleviates the concerns around it.
Fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger if taken in small amounts. But many toothpaste tab brands prefer to go fluoride-free and are safer for children.
Children usually are in process of developing permanent teeth, which is why excess fluoride might be harmful for them.
Therefore, it is safer to prefer tabs for less abrasion and environmental sensitivity.
Our verdict- toothpaste tubes might not be the same as toothpastes, but they are an emerging alternative that is more eco friendly.
Toothpaste, Tablet Toothpaste or Tooth Powder- Which is Better?
While everyone has their preferences, there are a couple of differences between the three cleaning alternatives.
We are familiar with the tube that greets us every morning and night. However, tooth powders and tablets are changing the narrative around oral health.
Any comparison between the three will take some factors into consideration. These parameters are environmental impact, ease of packaging, fragility, transportability, ease of use with minimal resources and consumer preference.
Judging by these standards- both tabs and powders score above pastes. With tabs and powders you don’t have to worry about crinkly tubes. Secondly, tabs and tooth powders are easy to carry in smaller containers.
You don’t need to worry about them drying as your saliva is enough to activate them- sounds like a winner right?
On further investigation- toothpaste tabs are the best zero waste alternative as they won’t scatter like powders. Even though tabs are not technically toothpaste, they are far less harmful and are derived from natural ingredients.
Although there isn’t much scientific evidence about the effectiveness of toothpaste tabs, in terms of portability and environmental footprint, they clearly win!
9 Best Zero Waste Toothpaste Brands To Make That Smile Shine!
Hola! We are proud of you for making a thoughtful transition to zero waste goods, which is how it should be. Our curated list of the 9 best zero waste toothpaste brands will help you make a better transition. These formulae are safe, derived from natural ingredients and are environmentally sound. Let’s read more about them!
Claiming that they sell ‘Toothpaste, but way better’, Huppy is a pioneering zero waste toothpaste company. The brand’s lineup features minty fresh toothpaste tablets available in peppermint, charcoal and even watermelon strawberry flavours!
A Women’s Health Beauty Awardee, Huppy delivers healthier dental products without any chemicals such as sulfates, tricoslan, parabens, propylene glycol and artificial dyes.
We were sold on their transparency about what goes into Huppy products and what doesn’t. Non-chalky and satisfyingly foamy- these cute little tablets also come in a pretty case. Blush or Wave- you are free to customize your choice!
With 100% Huppiness guaranteed at every brush, you should grab a refillable can of these utterly good fresh little tabs!
Shop Huppy, here.
Bite’s toothpaste tablets sink their teeth into planet positivity. The brand initially begun as a Shark Tank pitch (seriously, where will we all be without that show. It also gave us the quirky Palmini’s Hearts of Palm pasta, we have mentioned elsewhere in another post.).
Back to Bite’s, these plastic-free toothpaste bits are here to replace the paste you have been using all your life!
Enriched with fluoride, these tabs are made with clean, vegan-friendly ingredients which are good for sensitive teeth. Need we say more?
We are impressed by their monthly subscription where you get a cool jar to store those bits for the first month. Thereafter, you can refill your jars with a monthly pack.
Doesn’t it sound easy, simple and fuss-free? Even their refill packs are compostable, so, you don’t need to worry about the awfully wrinkled non-biodegradable tube floating around in the ocean.
Buy Bite’s here.
Davids is a US brand committed to deliver healthy, EWG verified toothpastes.
Those who are not comfortable with toothpaste tabs can rely on Davids range of premium paste formulae available in different flavours.
All Davids products are cruelty-free, fluoride-free and vegan-friendly. Made from Xylitol, the product can be used both by kids and adults.
If you are worried about the packaging, the toothpaste comes in a recyclable metal tube that is clearly better than chemically loaded plastic.
Davids is a fuss-free zero-waste toothpaste brand that is a fan-favorite in the US.
Buy Davids here.
Etee Zero Waste Chewpaste
Say goodbye to your old toothpaste tubes with Etee’s Zero Waste Chewpaste tabs.
Etee’s tabs come with the compressed goodness of Canadian glacial clay, vanilla and mint.
Getting minty fresh breath becomes easy with Etee without any fuss with harmful parabens, dyes and SLS.
The brand is insistent on going plastic-free, which is why it is a popular sustainable toothpaste choice. Etee is a cruelty-free, ethical brand that adheres to fair workplace practices.
Sign up for their 3 monthly subscription to get dental goodness at a budget.
Buy Etee here.
Unpaste Tooth Tabs
These certified natural and zero-waste tabs are brushing all the plaque and concerns around environmental impact like a pro!
Unpaste is a renowned name in the toothpaste tab industry due to its transparent commitment to delivering the best of oral care to its consumers.
These toothpaste tablets come in an adorable little packet that convince you to lose the tube forever. For the brand, foam is for cappuccinos. Crunch a tab between your teeth and brush them like you always do.
We promise, you are not settling for anything lesser than the most refreshing experience. These fuss-free tabs are safe, effective and meet the strictest EU standards certified by German body Aktion Zahnfreundlich.
Buy Unpaste here.
Nelson Naturals Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
Crush and brush your way to fresh-smelling glory with Nelson Natural’s Activated Charcoal toothpaste. Enriched with the goodness of activated charcoal which is known for its cleaning properties, pearly teeth are not a dream anymore.
The product is excellent for whitening. Free of any SLS or Fluoride, this natural toothpaste is a wonderful fix for all your dental problems.
Nelson Naturals’ is quite a revolution- many satisfied customers use the product for its excellent results that take care of their teeth as well as the planet.
With the additional goodness of peppermint essential oil, it is easy to see why Nelson Naturals is a popular choice.
Buy Nelson Naturals here.
Naked Company’s Dental Crush tabs promise you clean, shiny and fresh teeth right from the first use itself.
These tiny pellets are just right- not more, and not less. You can stop worrying about squeezing all the extra paste you can’t put back in the tube with these fluoride-free tablets.
This budget friendly pack of goodness leaves you smelling minty fresh without any of the chemicals stinging your mouth. Moreover, these tabs double up as mouthwash.
Travel-friendly and eco-conscious, say goodbye to the paste and plastic waste with Naked Company’s Dental Crush tabs!
Shop Naked Company
Gaia Smiles Zero Waste Tooth Powder
Smile with the planet with Gaia Smiles remineralizing tooth powder. Flavoured with the right dose of peppermint, use just a pinch to get the best results.
Gaia Smiles describes itself as an oral care wonderland. Its cruelty-free credentials and commitment to sustainability is the need of the hour. The brand’s range of tooth powders comes in three exciting formulae- peppermint, original and activated charcoal.
Wet your brush and pick up some powder to go about your routine with Gaia. The product is excellent at maintaining the perfect oral Ph, enriched with Himalayan pink salts, bentonite clay and birch tree derived xylitol.
Shop Gaia Smiles
Butter Me Up
Trust this modern day apothecary with all your toothy problems. Confront the world with a shiny smile, thanks to Butter Me Up Organics ultra-chic and modern toothpaste.
This whitening formula remineralizes your teeth without any silica, fluoride, and artificial chemical. Pearly white goodness for your pearly whites is available at a budget without any inconvenience to the planet, thanks to Butter Me Up Organics.
Bonus- the glass jar with the screw lid is refillable. Guess who won’t burn a hole in their pocket just to get fresh and polished teeth?
It can be you! It’s written all over the jar. Can’t see it? Then it is time to grab one and own that healthy and hearty smile, ready to shine everywhere!
What Do We Think About Zero Waste Toothpastes?
With a revolutionary intent that changes the way we look at our daily routine, we say that zero waste toothpastes are a sustainable trend that is not going away anytime soon. More people are preferring these brands for healthier oral care. It’s about time you join the fray for the better. We at Be Ze are with you on every step you take towards a more eco friendly lifestyle.
Download our chrome extension for more updates and checklists like these whenever you shop online for daily essentials like toothpaste- we will guide you to better, budget-friendly alternatives that have a positive impact.
Stay tuned for more updates on lifestyle, fashion and food, right here on our blog.
Till then brush away to a cleaner, healthier you and a better planet!