When I first went vegan, I was mostly focused on switching out all of the foods in my diet. I never considered that my toothpaste might be non-vegan too! That is, until I read an article just like this, which pushed me to do some deeper research.
What I found out was surprising. While some toothpaste is vegan-friendly, the majority of the mainstream toothpaste brands on the market aren’t vegan. Like certain cosmetics, non-vegan toothpaste is often tested on animals and may contain animal by-products, such as glycerin.
Today’s post is going to be all about toothpaste.
Below, I’ll break down exactly why most store-bought toothpaste isn’t vegan. Then, I’ll show you some of the key differences between vegan toothpaste and most other brands of toothpaste.
Lastly, I’ll show you some of the best vegan toothpaste brands on the market, so you can see the difference for yourself!
Is Toothpaste Vegan?
As I mentioned, the first thing I ditched when I went vegan was meat, cheese, and other animal-derived foods.
It kind of sucked not being able to eat some of my favorite foods, but I found some great protein alternatives, and now I wouldn’t change my diet for anything!
Then, I ditched leather and wool. Instead, I switched over to plant-based leather and other vegan-friendly textiles for my clothing.
After ditching meat, leather, wool, and switching over my cosmetics to cruelty-free brands, I thought I was doing pretty well for myself!
Then, a couple of years ago, I found out that most toothpaste isn’t vegan.
Glycerin: Why Most Toothpaste Isn’t Vegan
If you do some research, you’ll find that many of the mainstream brands of toothpaste on the market contain an additive called glycerin. Glycerin (or glycerol, if you live in the UK) is a by-product of soap manufacturing, where it’s one of the main ingredients in non-vegan soap.
Although some glycerin comes from vegetables and plants (which is used in vegan soap), the majority of glycerin on the market comes from animal-derived sources. It’s obtained by boiling down animal bone tallow – the “leftovers” of the meat industry that can’t be sold as food.
The reason why animal glycerin is more popular than vegetable glycerin is that it’s often cheaper. Slaughterhouses often give their leftovers away for free or very low cost simply to get it out of the way and keep the animal remains from piling up.
Often, commercial glycerin contains both animal-derived and plant-based glycerin, so it’s really hard to tell whether or not any glycerin-containing product is vegan or not. This is why it’s so important to shop for vegan-certified products whenever possible!
The Problem With Toothpaste Packaging
Glycerin isn’t the only reason why vegans choose to abstain from mainstream toothpaste brands. Often, the packaging used for toothpaste tubes is very unsustainable and isn’t eco-friendly.
The plastic tubes are often made of thick, heavy-duty thermoplastic materials that can take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill. Even if you recycle your tubes, many recycling plants will reject the recycled tubes, as they’re full of semi-used toothpaste.
In addition to the plastic tubes, many toothpaste tubes are packaged in a wasteful cardboard container that’s just there for advertising purposes to make them stand out on the shelf!
Although companies are getting better, it will take a while for zero waste shopping to really gain traction though.
Vegan Toothpaste Vs. Traditional Toothpaste
For those who are curious, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the key differences between vegan and non-vegan toothpaste:
|Vegan Toothpaste||Non-Vegan Toothpaste|
|Is typically glycerin-free or uses plant-derived glycerin.||Often uses animal-derived glycerin or mixed vegetable and animal glycerin, which is also non-vegan.|
|Made with high-quality herbs and natural ingredients that have been historically used to clean teeth and freshen breath.||Made with artificial flavors and cleaning agents that aren’t very healthy for your body.|
|Free from parabens, sulfates, dyes, and other chemicals and cutting agents.||Often contain parabens, sulfates, and dyes, which are bad for the environment, your teeth, and our waterways.|
|Typically come in eco-friendly packaging or use a more concentrated blend that allows you to use the tube for a longer period of time.||Usually very diluted, to encourage consumers to use more and buy toothpaste. No care is given to plastic waste.|
|More expensive due to higher-quality ingredients.||Cheaper and more affordable.|
Is Vegan Toothpaste Better For Your Teeth?
Not only is vegan toothpaste better for the environment but it’s also better for your teeth!
Vegan toothpaste contains very few chemicals and synthetic detergents, which makes it safer for your enamel and gums, and can prevent gingivitis and allergic reactions.
The Best Vegan Toothpaste Brands To Try In 2023
Now that you know what vegan toothpaste is all about, it’s time to show you some of the best vegan toothpaste brands!
I’ve purchased some of these and been given samples at various trade shows and vegan expos, so I’ve had a chance to experiment with these brands and give you my personal take.
1) Dr. Bronner’s – All-One Vegan Toothpaste (link)
- Rating: 9/10
Dr. Bronner’s is one of the top-rated vegan-friendly brands on the market. I’ve been using their soaps, shampoos, and even their eco-friendly dish soap for years now. All of their products are made using all-natural herbs and plant-derived cleaning agents.
Dr. Bronner’s All-One Vegan Toothpaste was one of the first vegan toothpaste brands that I tried. I love the natural peppermint flavor, which comes from real essential oils (no artificial flavors). It leaves your mouth feeling extra fresh and helps kill bad bacteria that cause bad breath.
It’s made with real organic ingredients like coconut oil, cinnamon, menthol, and aloe leaf juice.
It also contains baking soda, which is a great cleaner and stain remover. I’m a pretty heavy coffee drinker, and I found that this toothpaste prevented any further build-up of yellowness on my teeth!
It may be a bit pricey, but it’s some of the highest-quality vegan toothpaste on the market and is made with 70% organic ingredients.
What I Like About It:
- Made with real peppermint.
- Made with 70% organic ingredients.
- Contains coconut oil and aloe leaf juice.
- Contains baking soda, a great cleaner.
- It’s definitely a bit more expensive than I prefer to pay for toothpaste.
- The packaging isn’t very eco-friendly.
2) Hello Activated Charcoal Vegan Toothpaste Tablets (link)
- Rating: 8/10
Before I got a sample of these at a vegan trade expo, I had no idea that toothpaste tablets were even a thing.
I’d never seen, used, or heard of them in my life! I love the eco-friendly concept, though, as it involves no plastic waste and very limited material waste at all.
Hello Activated Charcoal Vegan Toothpaste Tablets are packaged in a 100% recyclable glass jar that you can either re-use for other purposes or throw in a recycling bin. Even the paper label is made using post-consumer paper, which means that fewer trees are cut down to make it.
To use the tablets, you toss one in your mouth, chew it up, and let it sit in your mouth as you brush your teeth around it. The concept is remarkably easy!
A bonus feature that I like about these tablets is they’re super easy to travel with, as you don’t have to worry about a large tube that’s mostly full of fillers.
Plus, they contain activated charcoal, which is a natural tooth whitener.
The only downside of this product is the taste. Unlike some of the other tablets, I’ve tried (see below), these are made with real charcoal. When you start chewing on real charcoal, it leaves a rather bitter flavor in your mouth, even if it’s masked with peppermint.
What I Like About It:
- Very eco-friendly packaging.
- Tablets are innovative and space-saving.
- Affordable vegan toothpaste.
- Contains natural tooth-whitening charcoal.
- The taste of chewing on charcoal tablets is a bit weird.
3) Uncle Harry’s Peppermint Remineralizing Toothpaste (link)
- Rating: 9/10
Uncle Harry’s Peppermint Remineralizing Toothpaste has the eco-friendly packaging you’re looking for!
Like the Hello tablets I mentioned above, this vegan toothpaste is stored in a glass jar, which is far more eco-friendly than the plastic tubes used by most toothpaste brands.
Unlike the tablets, though, this brand uses actual toothpaste. So, if the idea of chewing on a tablet doesn’t appeal to you, this is a good compromise that gives you the benefit of a glass jar and the traditional paste that you’re used to.
The toothpaste itself is very high-quality and made with mostly all-natural ingredients. It’s fluoride-free, contains no SLS, no artificial sweeteners, and contains natural whitening agents.
It uses bentonite clay as the main base and contains colloidal silver (anti-bacterial) along with sea salt, mineral oils, and essential herbal oils, including eucalyptus, oregano, and more!
The only problem with this product is that it’s a bit unsanitary. To apply the toothpaste, you have to dip your toothbrush into the jar of paste, which obviously leaves bacteria behind.
If it’s just you using it, then it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re sharing toothpaste with a partner, then this could get a bit weird.
What I Like About It:
- It uses real, all-natural ingredients.
- It contains colloidal silver, a powerful (and natural) anti-bacterial.
- It tastes great.
- It’s made with real essential oils, not artificial flavors.
- Dipping your brush in and out of the jar might be weird if you’re sharing your toothpaste with a partner.
4) GloBoid Vegan Toothpaste Tablets With Fluoride (link)
- Rating: 8/10
Some vegans I’ve met are against fluoride as it’s not the most natural additive. However, it’s a perfectly vegan ingredient and is on the periodic table of elements.
If you have sensitive teeth, most dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste to help remineralize your teeth and reduce sensitivity.
If you’re looking for vegan, eco-friendly toothpaste, then GloBoid Vegan Toothpaste Tablets With Fluoride are a great choice.
They have a natural peppermint flavor that I really enjoy but are otherwise tasteless. They taste a lot better in my mouth than the Hello charcoal tablets I mentioned earlier.
The glass jars are also smaller than the Hello tablet jars, which means that fewer materials are used in the making of the product. GloBoid is also cruelty-free, so you can use it with complete confidence that it was never tested on captive animals.
What I Like About It:
- Packaged in a small-sized, recyclable glass jar.
- Contains fluoride, which can strengthen your teeth.
- Natural peppermint flavor.
- Soft, easy-to-chew tablets.
- Some vegans don’t like fluoride.
5) SLOWCORP Sensitive Toothpaste with Tea Tree Oil & Sea Salt (link)
- Rating: 10/10
SLOWCORP Sensitive Toothpaste With Tea Tree Oil & Sea Salt has recently become my go-to favorite vegan toothpaste!
For one, it uses all-natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, rosemary extract, sea salt, tea tree oil, and others, which are all great for your dental health. The essential oils are also anti-bacterial, which really helps combat bad breath.
Secondly, I really appreciate the squirt-top dispensable toothpaste idea. It’s super simple to place your toothbrush under the dispenser, press it down, and get the exact amount of toothpaste that you need on the tip of your brush.
This is especially good if you have kids, who may not like the idea of tablets. It’s fluoride-free, safe for your tooth’s enamel, and doesn’t contain any of the artificial sweeteners, dyes, phthalates, triclosan, or peroxide that other brands have.
The only downside is that the packaging is plastic.
However, this is offset by the fact that it comes in an extra-large container. This plastic jar will last you almost twice as long as a traditional plastic tube, which limits your overall household plastic waste.
What I Like About It:
- Easy-to-use pump dispenser.
- Free from chemicals and dyes.
- Uses real essential oils and coconut oil.
- Great for your teeth.
- It still uses a plastic container.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Vegan Toothpaste Brand?
If I had to choose the best vegan toothpaste brand, I’d say that it’s a toss-up between SLOWCORP Tea Tree Oil & Sea Salt Toothpaste or Dr. Bronner’s All-One Vegan Toothpaste.
Both use all-natural ingredients and have a great taste. Although I like the idea of the tablets, I still haven’t gotten used to the texture in my mouth yet.
Toothpaste isn’t the only non-vegan household item that I used to use. Did you know that many brands of sunscreen are also non-vegan? Keep on reading to see my list of the best vegan sunscreen brands next!