The Best Natural Toothpaste, According to Dentists
In recent years, there has been an increased demand for natural and organic beauty products across the board. From ingredient-conscious shampoos to cleaner body washes, there are more ways to tend to your hygiene than ever before. This includes your toothpaste.
So, what does “natural” mean in the context of oral care? Unfortunately, the term is still unregulated and can be interpreted differently by each brand, but it largely comes down to what’s not included in the toothpaste and what it’s replaced with.
What is natural toothpaste?
“A natural toothpaste is one that contains alternative ingredients to what is normally seen in our toothpaste like parabens, detergents, sulfates to name a few,” explains Dr. Lawrence Fung, a celebrity cosmetic dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental.
“Most natural toothpastes take out any chemicals that could potentially be problematic, but in doing so, they also take out active ingredients like fluoride, which is used to provide your teeth with some level of protection. This is why ingredients like hydroxyapatite have started to gain traction in the dental industry. It is completely natural yet also re-mineralizing and it restores the enamel,” adds Dr. Derek Gatta, a prosthodontist and co-founder of RiseWell.
What are some specific ingredients you don’t want in a natural toothpaste?
“For starters, there are some common ingredients like Triclosan, which is banned in hand soap because it has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats, but is still used in some toothpaste formulas,” says Gatta. “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) or any kind of detergent (foaming agent) can also do more harm than good. It can cause dry mouth, canker sores, and gum sloughing. Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in anti-freeze and used in conventional toothpaste to create a thicker texture,” he adds.
“Charcoal, which is found in some natural toothpastes, may help whiten the teeth initially, but it can create dental issues in the long run because it’s too abrasive,” warns Gatta. “It basically acts like sandpaper against the enamel and strips the teeth over time.”
What are some specific ingredients you should look for in a natural toothpaste?
- Xylitol: “I recommend looking for high quality antibacterial ingredients like xylitol, which has research to back up their claims to fight cavities,” says Fung.
- Mint: “It’s a great natural breath freshener.”
- Hydrated silica: “It’s a lesser-known ingredient that helps to polish and clean the teeth.”
- Vegetable glycerin: “This can soothe and moisturize the mouth.”
- Coconut oil, tea tree leaf oil and baking soda, which “have antibacterial properties,” says Michaela Tozzi, a cosmetic and general dentist in Nevada.
What does it mean when a toothpaste says it's organic?
“There are very few ingredients in toothpaste that can be considered completely organic,” clarifies Gatta. “Things like silica and calcium carbonate, which are minerals, can be completely natural but are not able to be sourced organically. When toothpastes have organic claims on their labels, they are mainly referring to their flavoring, which can be sourced from organic plants,” he adds.
What would you say to someone who is skeptical about the efficacy of natural toothpaste?
“I would say to do your research. There are many supporting findings to show that natural toothpaste can be as effective as conventional formulas,” says Fung.
“Try a few different natural toothpastes to find one that works well for you,” adds Tozzi. “Another option is to mix in a conventional toothpaste as part of your routine, so you use a natural toothpaste in the morning and a conventional formula at night or vice versa. And regardless of what toothpaste you choose, effective brushing and flossing techniques are the backbone of oral hygiene,” she adds.
OK, ready to peruse some pastes?
1. RiseWell Mineral Toothpaste
If you’re looking for a family-friendly toothpaste, give this one a try. Formulated with xylitol to tackle any cavity-causing bacteria and hydroxyapatite (an enamel strengthening ingredient that was first used by NASA on astronauts who were returning from space with weakened teeth), it’s also flavored with essential oils, in case of accidental ingestion.
2. Hello Sensitivity Toothpaste
Best for Sensitive Teeth
“I highly recommend any of the oral care products from Hello, as they are all free of artificial flavors and sweeteners and potentially harmful ingredients like microbeads and triclosan. I especially like their new Sensitivity Toothpaste with fluoride and potassium nitrate, which is great for sensitive teeth and gums, and protects against cavities,” says Fung.
3. Klēn Natural Mint Toothpaste
If you are looking for a fluoride-free formula, Dr. Tozzi is a fan of Klēn’s toothpaste because “the ingredients are non-toxic and cruelty-free and it leaves your breath tasting and smelling fresh.”
4. Tom’s of Maine Flouride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste
Best for Brightening
As one of the original natural toothpaste brands on the market, Tom’s of Maine has a wide selection to choose from, but we’re partial to this formula because it contains baking soda, which can help remove surface stains from the teeth for a brighter smile. (Note: This pick does have SLS in it, which is worth noting if you have sensitive teeth or gums.)
5. Ojook Toothpaste with nHA + Bamboo Salt
Best for Gum Health
It’s hard to compare this toothpaste to any others we’ve tried, as the texture and flavor is markedly different at first brush. The flavor is mildly minty with a hint of pine to it (which is from the pine tree oil in the formula). Aside from adding taste, pine tree oil soothes any pain resulting from gingivitis, gum disease or inflammation, while medicinal bamboo salt and nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA) work to remineralize the enamel and prevent further sensitivity. In sum: Aggressively minty this is not; rather, your mouth feels clean, balanced and unbothered.
6. Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste
The Fan Favorite
There’s not much to dislike about this sleek tube of toothpaste. Formulated with ingredients like baking soda and vegetable glycerin (as opposed to SLS and sulfates), it has a refreshing mint flavor and produces a generous froth, leaving your mouth feeling oh so fresh and oh so clean every time you brush. The recyclable packaging also comes with a cute little key so you can squeeze out every last bit of paste from the tube.
7. Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Neem And Pomegranate Toothpaste
Best SLS-Free Formula
It’s rather surprising that this formula doesn’t contain any SLS or added foaming agents because it still produces a satisfying froth that’s not too far off from what you’ve probably come to expect from brushing your teeth.
8. Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste
Fans of Dr. B’s multipurpose castile soap will appreciate that their toothpaste tube will match perfectly on their bathroom counter. Made with 70 percent organic ingredients and no synthetic foaming agents, flavors or preservatives, it’s also Leaping Bunny certified (and vegan).
9. Lebon Villa Noacarlina Toothpaste
Using inspiration from nature and the sea, Lebon is as chic as toothpaste gets, produced ethically with natural ingredients in France, we love that the brand creates unique flavors like sweet Moroccan mint and orange blossom (though we’re partial to this cinnamon variety).
10. Bite Toothpaste Bits
Introducing toothpaste bits: These tiny toothpaste “capsules” are made from all-natural ingredients like xylitol and calcium carbonate that are pressed into pill form. To use, wet your toothbrush and pop a capsule into your mouth, bite down and then begin brushing as you normally would. The travel-friendly capsules are plastic-free and come in a glass bottle that’s meant to be refillable with a monthly subscription (or you can start with a one-time purchase).
11. Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Natural Toothpaste
Best for Stronger Teeth
Tom’s strikes again. This minty fresh option uses fluoride to remineralize and strengthen your enamel, while protecting against cavities. Rest assured, it has no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors or flavors (and is not tested on animals).
12. Jason Powersmile Anti-Cavity & Whitening Gel
Best for Cavities
While this refreshing pick does not contain any SLS, parabens, or artificial sweeteners, it does feature fluoride (which is a key ingredient for preventing cavities). Add to that bamboo powder and coenzyme Q10 to bolster the overall health of your gums and mouth.
13. Cleure Original Flavor-Free Toothpaste
Best for Dry Mouth
Created by dentist Flora Stay with the singular goal of developing a toothpaste that was “free of chemicals that allergists, dermatologists and cancer specialists consider unsafe or irritating,” this gentle option skips any fluoride, SLS, dyes, parabens, and even mint flavors, making it a safe bet for people who chronically suffer from canker sores, perioral dermatitis or dry mouth.
14. Jack N’ Jill Natural Toothpaste
Best for Kids
Let your kids choose from fun (and yummy) flavors like strawberry, blueberry or banana. Made with ingredients like xylitol and calendula to prevent cavities and soothe gums, this easy-open top tube has been a family favorite since 1949, when it originally launched.
15. Revitin Natural Prebiotic Oral Care Toothpaste
Best Alternative to Mint
Speaking of fun flavors, if you’re looking for an enjoyable alternative to the minty toothpastes that typically dominate, try this citrus-flavored pick created by Dr. Gerry Curatola, a renowned biologic dentist. Free of SLS and fluoride and packed instead with vitamins C and E, CoQ-10 and prebiotics, it gently cleans and rebalances your mouth so you get the job done without any afterburn.
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