You’ve been brushing your own teeth since you were old enough to see over the vanity. That said, there’s a good chance you’re still using the same brand of toothpaste your parents used to buy you—which is something you probably don’t even think about! But perhaps it’s time to switch it up.
Shopping for personal care items can be super confusing, which is why we tend to stick to what we’re used to. Each product has slightly different properties that are supposed to enhance your appearance in some shape or form. With so many new and natural options on the market, it’s time to start questioning what we’ve been putting inside our mouths for the past few decades.
Natural toothpastes are free of many harsh chemicals found in conventional ones. And while opting for cleaner varieties may seem like a no-brainer for you and your family, making a selection is tricky and may warrant several rounds of trial and error. Luckily for you, I tested five better-for-you brands so you don’t have to!
Before we get started
Many toothpaste brands that don “natural” on the label do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), the foaming agent that leaves you with that so-fresh-and-so-clean feeling. So this can be a turnoff if you’re not used to it—but you’ll quickly adapt! On the plus side, natural toothpaste brands tend to be cruelty-free, which means they’re not tested on animals (this is always a huge win in my book). And while you’re at it, upgrade your bristles with an eco-friendly, biodegradable bamboo toothbrush!
Made with Australian river mint, this line of xylitol-based gel toothpastes contains 70 percent organic ingredients and is designed for the whole family. This type of mint, which is used by indigenous Australians for medicinal purposes, features an earthy (almost grassy), aromatic flavor. It’s refreshing, although it was extremely unfamiliar compared to the peppermint and spearmint varieties we’re used to.
Other ingredients include propolis extract and myrrh oil, which both have naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties that help slow down the formation of plaque throughout the day. The paste is airy and gel-like and lightly foams during brushing.
We’ve got a winner! The dentist-formulated Oral Essentials Sensitivity Formula checks off all the boxes! It’s certified non-toxic, certified enamel-friendly, preservative-free and contains mineral-rich Dead Sea salt to “maintain the mouth’s delicate ecosystem and freshen breath.” Other time-honored remedies used include aloe vera, French essential oils and (again) non-GMO xylitol.
I’ve never been a huge fan of mint, which is probably why I’m so fond of this product. It’s low-abrasive and mildly minty, yet still uplifts my oral care routine with a true sense of clean. (Plus, my husband loves it too!). And guess what—it foams! If you’re used to a sudsy smile when you brush, opt for this one for daily use.
If you like piña coladas, you’ll love this toothpaste! Made with coconut oil, pineapple and strawberry extracts and brightening bamboo powder, it’s a tropical cream-based paste made with minimal ingredients to perk up your pearly whites. Mint isn’t for everyone, which is why this blend is a great option—especially for kiddos transitioning from fruity toddler varieties.
This light, creamy paste thickens are you brush. If you enjoy sweet flavors, this option could absolutely be the right pick for you. If you prefer the traditional cooling menthol-based feeling after you brush, you may want to go for one of the other options.
Another virtually mint-less combo, this zesty orange toothpaste is made with minimal ingredients including xylitol extracted from birch trees. Made with mineral whiteners (natural silica and calcium carbonate), the company’s entire line of toothpastes feature several other funky flavors from cilantro-mint to green apple. Personally, I couldn’t get past the citrus-y flavor and minimal foaming—even though the paste itself left me feeling fresh! Moral of the story, if you love natural, non-minty mouthfeels, you definitely want to give these a shot. Plus, the packaging is so cute! Your kids will surely approve as well.
Don’t be fooled by the dark-hued goop inside this quirky tube. Thanks to detoxing activated charcoal and toxin-absorbing bentonite clay, this black paste is designed to actually polish and whiten your chompers! It’s a gentle, grit-free paste that “re-mineralizes and cleanses the plaque off your teeth, without any of the harsh abrasives used in mainstream toothpaste.”
For messy brushers like me, this type of product isn’t as ideal as the other natural options. Unless you’re one of those graceful brushers who can walk through the house without dribbling a drop, prepare for some sinister-looking sink splatter. To wipe any spillage away, simply use a terrycloth. Eventually, however, the soot-colored paste left a light grain stain on my bristles. As for the tube, toward the end of its life, the clay-based formula became more and more difficult to squeeze out—almost as if it started to harden.
Although my experience, over time, did not yield any noticeable whitening results, this toothpaste still served its purpose as a safe, non-toxic way to clean and freshen after each use.
If you're inspired to do your own brush test, check out our huge selection of natural toothpastes on Vitacost.com.