When it comes to caring for the health of our teeth, gums and mouth, as vegans we want to use products that are not only effective, but that do as little harm to the environment as possible.
With this in mind, we at The Vegan Company choose to shun toothpastes containing microbeads, toothbrushes made from plastic and floss made from nylon, as they frequently end up in our oceans, which are already suffering under the strain of plastic pollution.
To help you out, The Vegan Company’s Lifestyle Director, Shonagh Walker, road tested some top vegan oral care and then asked leading celebrity dentist, Dr. Gamer Verdian of Dental Lounge in Sydney for his take on their effectiveness.
1. Arbonne Pure Mint Toothpaste, $25
Fluoride-free and flavoured with mint and spearmint, this also contains antioxidants from white tea, ginger, grape, pomegranate and cranberry extracts. It contains no artificial colours and is sweetened with the natural ingredient xylitol.
Shonagh says: “I really like the mild flavour and the fact it doesn’t suds up to a huge amount of minty bubbles that drip out of your mouth. You don’t need to use much, and you’re left with a fresh, clean feeling for hours afterwards.”
Dr. Gamer says: “Arbonne’s toothpaste has that same fresh feeling you get from more traditional toothpastes. Whilst it is a great natural alternative for vegans, you do need to be aware that everyday toothpastes should have fluoride to provide optimal oral health care. When using these products, it’s always best to ensure you are brushing and flossing after each meal and that your dental regimen is up to scratch. Recent trends have had many our patients incorporate natural mouthwashes and oil-pulling into their regular regimen.”
2. Dr. Bronner’s Cinnamon All-in-One Toothpaste, $12.95
This low-foaming formula has no synthetic detergent foaming agents, is fluoride-free, vegan approved and cruelty-free, with no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, or sweeteners. It also comes in a 100 percent recyclable box and tube.
Shonagh Says: “You know when you go to dinner and you take your first sip of wine and it’s ruined by the taste of your toothpaste? This amazing flavour puts an end to that First World problem forever. It’s a mild taste that doesn’t clash with wine, or anything else you might be ingesting. Plus, your mouth feels fresh, clean and sparkling after you’ve used it. This formula also comes in Anise and Peppermint flavours, which I reckon are just as great.”
Dr. Gamer says: “These toothpastes have nice simple flavours that are great for a quick tooth brushing for social engagements, on top of your morning and night regimen, with more traditional oral hygiene products.”
3. Grants of Australia Fresh Mint Toothpaste with Tea Tree Oil, $4.20
This certified vegan paste is a really great budget buy that is made with organic tea tree oil to combat bacteria. It contains minerals including calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and sodium.
Shonagh Says: “I love this on those rare (ahem!) hangover days when I really need a peppermint punch in my mouth. It’s so fresh and full of flavour and with an infusion of plenty of natural herbs, like coriander, cardamom, celery, thyme and rosemary, I feel like it’s delivering plenty of other health benefits alongside cleaning my pearly whites. It’s available in myriad flavours too, for those who prefer less of a minty experience. And there are even flavours kids will love, which will take the hassle out of bedtime for parents.”
Dr. Gamer says: “There is a nice refreshing taste to these toothpastes. Whilst fluoride is strongly recommended for daily toothpaste for optimal oral hygiene, the natural products in here can also provide other natural health benefits and would prove useful as part of your daily care.”
4. My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Toothpaste in Wintergreen, $19.95
This offers whitening, deep cleansing, and polishing without harsh abrasive ingredients. It’s formulated with food grade, gently abrasive activated coconut shell charcoal, diatomaceous earth and bentonite clay to re-mineralise the mouth, remove plaque and whiten teeth without damaging enamel. It’s vegan, gluten Free, cruelty free and non-GMO.
Shonagh Says: “At first I found it super-weird to be brushing my teeth with black paste, but once I got over that, I really enjoyed using this. It left my teeth and mouth feeling so fresh and free from debris. Another bonus is that because it’s black, you can actually see where the paste spills on your sink and then clean it up straight away, unlike white pastes, where you can often a miss a spot and it stays for days in a clumpy, gross lump.”
Dr. Gamer says: “These activated charcoal toothpastes have become very popular thanks to the social media craze around them. There is a certain instinct that kicks in against using a black paste against your teeth, but you do feel very refreshed after using it.”
5. Perla Activated Charcoal Powder, $31.20
This activated charcoal powder is made from natural ingredients, including 100 per cent coconut shell activated charcoal. It claims to whiten teeth by absorbing plaque and microscopic debris that stains teeth, as well as balance pH levels in the mouth.
Shonagh Says: “Again, the black thing was a bit disconcerting, but once you get past it, you’ll be hooked. I actually really like the powder over the paste, as your damp toothbrush picks up just the right amount and there’s little wastage.”
Dr. Gamer says: “The charcoal powder is great for removing minor stains and plaque and is a great add-on for your oral hygiene routine.”
6. LoveByt Toothpaste in Cinnamon & Clove, Charcoal and Mint and Peppermint $19.95 each
Vegan and chemical free, this fine tasting paste was created in Australia by an industrial chemist. It claims to deliver a sparkling smile, sans animal cruelty.
Shonagh Says: “These slick formulas actually make me look forward to brushing my teeth. Sleek packaging aside (the outer tube can actually double as a toothbrush and paste holder), they taste amazing and really seem to freshen my entire mouth. I’d have to say this is my new fave toothpaste, especially in the Cinnamon and Clove Flavour.
Dr. Gamer says: “The packaging is unlike any toothpaste I’ve seen before. It’s very luxe! I’ve always enjoyed a good kick from my toothpaste and the peppermint one fits the bill. Another bonus, Made in Australia!”
7. The Environmental Toothbrush, $38 for a pack of 12
In Australia, over 30 million toothbrushes are used and disposed of annually, amounting to approximately 1000 tonnes of landfill each year. That’s more than pretty shitty – it’s devastating. The plastic they’re made of won’t break down in our lifetime, nor within the lifetime of our children, or that of our kid’s kids. The Environmental Toothbrush is a simple solution. Made from bamboo, a natural cellulose fibre, the handles are biodegradable, environmentally sustainable, and do not pollute the environment. The amazing growth and self-renewing ability of bamboo means that deforestation is not necessary either. Even the packaging is bio-degradable. Winning on a MAJOR scale!
Shonagh Says: “This was my first foray into bamboo toothbrushes and I was instantly hooked. It gave just as great a clean as any other brush and I love that it’s completely biodegradable. PSA: I wouldn’t purchase the travel holder ($13.95) or the sink side stand ($18.95) though, as the holder lid didn’t stay on from the get-go and the sink side holder fell apart within three months. Once they work a bit harder on the structure of these items, the entire concept will be way cool.”
Dr. Gamer says: “I love the idea of reducing our footprint with more sustainable products like the Environmental Toothbrush. We tend to recommend toothbrushes with softer bristles to avoid excess wear and tear of your teeth and gums. This definitely fits the bill.”
8. Grants of Australia Environmental Toothbrush, $4.50 each or 12 for $45.90
Biodegradable, eco-friendly and made from environmentally sustainable bamboo. What’s not to love? The bristles are made from 62 percent Castor Bean Oil and 38 percent plastic, which aren’t compostable but can be recycled. Break off the bristle head or remove the bristles with pliers and recycle as per your local recycling facility guidelines. The bare bamboo handle can then be composted and will safely return to the soil. It’s not ideal, but at least it’s not as bad as your everyday plastic piece of landfill. Each toothbrush is individually sealed in a corn starch wrapper than can be composted and boxes can be recycled.
Shonagh Says: “With its tapered head and curved handle, this takes natural toothbrushes next level. I found it gave a better and more efficient clean that others of its kind and lasts longer, too. I’m not at all happy about the plastic component there though. I feel like Grants could work a bit harder on that element and until they do, I’ll be sticking with the 100 percent bamboo option.”
Dr. Gamer says: “One of the more ergonomic natural toothbrushes that can help get into more difficult nooks and crannies. If sustainability is your number one priority, then the environmental toothbrush should be your go to.
9. Grants of Australia Xylitol Natural Mouthwash, $13.50,
Freshens your breath with the dental health benefits of xylitol and none of the harmful effects of alcohol. Instead, it is all about palate cleansing herbs of eucalyptus, cardamom, celery, caraway, dill, thyme, rosemary and sage.
Shonagh says: “It tastes great and leaves your mouth minty fresh. This is a yes from me!”
Dr. Gamer Says: “I love this mouthwash. Regular alcohol-based mouthwashes when combined with other toxic substances such as cigarettes have been shown to contribute to increased risks of oral cancers. A natural option that is refreshing and has Xylitol, like Grant’s mouthwash is the way to go!”
10. Perla Floss Picks, $7.20 for 50 pack
The eco-friendly alternative to nylon wax covered floss. You know what they say, it’s not just about brushing, you have to get between the teeth as well if you’re going to give your mouth a thorough clean. 100 percent biodegradable, these break down in the soil within six months.
Shonagh Says: “I love the toothpick end of this and the floss part, I’ve found, is great for in between front teeth only. However, I did find that it broke quite easily when flossing my back teeth and fragments were left stuck in my teeth, which was pretty frustrating. I’d still use it over regular floss, as the toothpick end glides in between teeth gently and efficiently and really does the job well.
Dr. Gamer says: “This is a great sustainable option to regular plastic flosses. The brittleness can be overcome by gently using a saw motion in between your teeth when trying to get the floss through rather than trying to push it through. Cleaning between your teeth at the contact points is a must for excellent oral health.”
11. Perla Whitening Coconut Oil Box, $31.20
The theory is that whitening coconut oil extracts toxins from your teeth and gums, giving you a fresher, whiter, brighter smile. It’s based on the ancient Ayurvedic method of oil pulling and works by swirling the oil around the mouth for around 3-5 minutes and then rinsing.
Shonagh Says: “This tastes great and while a minute seems like an eternity when you’re swishing oil in your mouth, it really does make a difference. My entire mouth felt really clean and fresh. I reckon it’d be a great in-between-whitening-treatments daily practice and even better on days when you’ve imbibed too much pinot noir the night before.”
Dr. Gamer says: “Oil-pulling has been made popular recently as an alternative to other forms of dental cleaning products. It’s a nice adjunct to an existing staple of oral health regimen and can deliver plenty of health benefits along the way.”
12. Perla Exfoliating Powder, $39
This replaces microbeads with all-natural materials and adds natural green tea and mint. It even targets stains that normal toothpaste may miss and will leave you feeling like you’ve had a professional clean. Just like normal toothpaste, it removes plaque, without chemicals or other nasties.
Shonagh says: “This felt, tasted and smelt clean and fresh. My teeth felt thoroughly clean and dare I say, a little bit whiter. I’d definitely use this daily.
Dr. Gamer says: “Perla exfoliating powder does an incredible job of cleaning your teeth and you walk away feeling very refreshed. Because of the abrasive nature of the powder I wouldn’t recommend using it every day as long-term frequent use can result in the abrasion of teeth and unnecessary reduction of tooth structure.”