People are changing the way they brush their teeth, thanks to the increasing awareness on the harmful effects of traditional brushing methods both on the body and on the planet.
Sustainability advocates are among those who are leading the revolution. In the last couple of years, there has been a rise in alternative dental care products that aim to minimize plastic waste. Toothpaste tablets, in particular, were created with this mission in mind, plus the added benefit of portability and safety.
What are toothpaste tablets?
Toothpaste tablets are solid dentifrices that work just like regular toothpastes. They clean and protect the teeth from cavities. But unlike the traditional toothpaste that we usually get in tubes, toothpaste tablets are liquid-free. They usually come in mint-sized tablet form, which makes them great for traveling. Just pop one in your mouth, crush with your teeth, and brush as normal.
What makes dental tabs safe and effective?
More than the appearance, the ingredients in tabs make them much different from—and potentially better than—regular toothpaste. Here’s what they’re usually made of:
Natural flavorings like mint make your breath fresh and taste clean. Best of all, they’re vegan-friendly.
Most brands contain xylitol, which works in two ways: it repels cavity-causing bacteria while leaving a hint of sweetness in your mouth.
Toothpastes use a combination of abrasives and surfactants to make a foam that strips off stains and dissolves oily residues. Solid toothpaste does that with the help of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and natural foaming agents that clean your teeth without damaging the enamel.
While some regular toothpaste brands also contain these ingredients, they normally include things that only serve to make their product “marketable.” They add weight and give psychological cleaning effects at the expense of possibly harming your body.
Dentists recommend the use of fluoride toothpaste for cavity protection, but too much of it can stay in your mouth after rinsing and may even enter your bloodstream. It can also result in fluorosis, a condition that leaves stains, discolorations, or spots on your teeth.
SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) is a harsh artificial foaming agent that can irritate the skin. It’s the same chemical that makes shampoo lather, and its only business in toothpaste is to make it foam. You know that stinging sensation you sometimes feel when you brush your teeth for too long? That’s your mouth reacting to SLS. Prolonged use can lead to mouth sores and even delay the healing of existing ones.
What makes toothpaste tablets eco-friendly?
Aside from harmful chemicals, fluoride-free toothpaste tabs also avoid materials that are bad for the environment.
Microbeads have no real benefits except make cosmetic products look sparkly. Manufacturers put them in toothpastes for added abrasiveness, which can do more harm than good. Worse, they are non-biodegradable and almost microscopic. So, they can pass through treatment plants, end up in the ocean to poison marine life, and contaminate our food sources.
Toothpastes stay moist because of humectants. Tablets' solid form doesn’t need this substance, making them lighter and smaller while leaving minimal carbon footprint. You can take them on the plane without worrying about leaks, and travel to high-altitude places without dealing with a messy explosion in your bag.
Because toothpaste tablets don’t come in tubes, they don’t add to the millions of non-recyclable single-use plastics in our landfills. Their BPA-free reusable packaging also have a lesser chance of ending up in the sea to slowly break down into harmful toxins.
MOUTHFUL strives to promote better understanding of sustainable dental health and oral hygiene practices. While we seek credible sources and cite them in our posts, this article does not intend to stand as professional advice. Please reach out to your dentist or a medical expert if you have questions regarding a health condition or treatment.