Not so very long ago, toothpastes contained glycerine, also known as animal fat. Glycerin is a humectant – it holds onto water and stops the toothpaste from drying out in the tube. It also prevents dryness in the mouth during brushing. These days glycerin can be made either synthetically or from plant sources, and that’s what a lot of toothpaste brands do to qualify as being vegan-friendly. But that’s not the end of the story because sadly most of the big toothpaste companies still test their products on animals. So if you want the full cruelty-free experience when brushing, you probably want to avoid the big hitters such as Sensodyne, Crest, White Glo, Macleans and Oral B. To be fair, under some areas of legislation this may be mandated to by law, and some companies (Colgate for one) are actively working for regulatory change.
So where does a vegan go for fresh breath, healthy gums and shiny teeth? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a toothpaste labelled ‘natural’ is going to be vegan; natural ingredients don’t discount animal testing; in fact some natural toothpastes contain beeswax or other animal derived ingredients.
Let’s say you’ve found a toothpaste that is vegan and cruelty free. You’ve hit the jackpot right? Um, not quite. The trouble is that many of them don’t contain fluoride. While they might be nice for freshening the breath, according to dentists if you want to ensure optimal oral health and cavity prevention, you should have fluoride in your toothpaste.
So we went on a hunt for vegan toothpaste, with fluoride, available in Australia and this is what we came up with these two beauties:
Therabreath (available at Priceline). The brand has a strict no animal testing policy and is 100 per cent cruelty free and vegan.
Lavera Basis Mint Whitening Toothpaste (available at Pharmacy Online). Gluten free, cruelty free, aluminium free, vegan and certified organic. Winner.