The Best & Worst Toothpaste Brands of 2021
How to Avoid Popular Toothpastes That Suck
Did you know that the mouth is one of the most absorbent organs in the human body? Think about it like this- while you're just minding your own business, brushing your teeth, dozens of aggressive chemicals are busy making their way through your bloodstream and digestive tract.
Despite how careful we are about spitting out toothpaste, there are always some chemicals that will end up in getting into your body. Since all of us (or at least I hope so) are brushing our teeth 1-3 times a day, you can just imagine the amount of residue that adds up each time.
The worst of all toothpaste
Brands & ingredients:
canker sores, dry mouth, bad breath
Sulfate is one of the most popular ingredients that are found in toothpastes.
What's it for?
It's added to toothpaste because it's a surfactant (aka it's added to make toothpaste foam up).
What sucks about it?
Brushing our teeth with sulfate-infused toothpastes can cause dry mouth, stripping protective layers off the enamel of our teeth, and can commonly lead to annoying canker sores. (By the way did you know that dryness in our mouths is one of the leading reasons for not only super bad breath, but also the spread of harmful bacteria? Just saying).
Plus, swallowing sulfate can bring on intense stomach aches, cramps, and diarrhea. As if we needed any more reasons to hate sulfate.
It goes by many different names like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl ether sulfate to name a few. If you've seen my post about why you should avoid sulfate, you'd know why it's important to find a toothpaste without this aggressive ingredient.
popular Products that CONTAIN sulfate:
messes with hormones
Can you imagine how much toothpaste the average person swallows over the course of his or her life? Every time we brush our teeth, toothpaste residue ends up getting swallowed no matter how careful we are. That's pretty disgusting.
Triclosan is another one of those toxic ingredients I'm talking about. Even though the FDA already banned triclosan from products like hand soaps and body washes, it's still found in deodorants and toothpastes.
What's it for?
Toothpaste manufacturers add it because it's been proven to prevent gingivitis (side note: just wondering how many people actually know what gingivitis is?)
What sucks about it?
Okay so as I was saying before I managed to distract myself, triclosan prevents harmful bacteria from causing gum inflammation aka gingivitis. But it comes at a price, because triclosan can cause our bodies to create a resistance to helpful antibiotics too. It's also been proven to be an endocrine disruptor.
If you don't know what that means, allow me to go on another quick tangent to explain it for you: basically, the endocrine system is what's responsible for secreting hormones throughout our body. But chemicals like triclosan interfere with that and cause hormonal imbalances and a whole list of problems that come with it like weight gain, cancer, hair loss, etc. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are extremely dangerous and are found everywhere- from the pesticides that are covering our food to the BPA residue in our water from plastic bottles.
I'll have an entire article dedicated to this topic later. But for now, let's get back to the toothpaste talk.
Are you doubting the possibility of these chemicals actually impacting your health? I was too until I started doing more research on it. There was one study that found that the participants that were brushing their teeth with Colgate Total had 5 times the amount of triclosan in their urine than the other participants who weren't using this brand. Just sayin.
popular Products that CONTAIN Triclosan:
Most of the Colgate Total products contain this ingredient.
& be careful! The Environmental Working Group found lots of deodorants with triclosan too. Click here to see the list.
3. artificial sweeteners
weight gain + memory loss
Unfortunately, it's normal to find commercial toothpastes that contain artificial sweeteners.
What's it used for?
This one's pretty self explanatory TBH.
What sucks about it?
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are linked with weight gain, headaches, kidney & liver complications, and memory problems.
Artificial sweeteners are also the reason everything tastes gross after you brush your teeth- they tamper with your taste buds, making things temporarily taste strangely bitter.
Other sweeteners like sorbitol and saccharin can be commonly found in toothpastes and cause similar side effects like weight gain including extreme bloating and diarrhea. But let's not go into great detail about what happens when you ingest too much of that... You get the picture.
popular Products that CONTAIN artificial sweeteners:
Both of these toothpastes have artificial sweeteners that get in your bloodstream while you brush your teeth! Livestrong said these sugars "signal your body that it is about to receive a high amount of calories, and your digestive system prepares for the additional calories. When these calories do not come, your body may become resistant to this response, which can promote fat storage and weight gain."
Do you want to gain weight by brushing your teeth? I didn't think so. Avoid sodium saccharin at all costs!
dementia, hormone imbalance, pre-mature skin aging, brain damage, arthritis, etc.
This is definitely the most controversial ingredient on this list. Many experts are with me about the potential danger all the ingredients I've mentioned so far, but fluoride is where most people are divided.
What's it for?
First, let's break it down: fluoride is in our toothpaste because it's known to be one of the most effective ingredients to prevent tooth decay. If it's so great and effective, why does the FDA oblige toothpaste manufacturers to add a poison warning on each bottle of fluoride toothpaste?
"Warning: Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.''
What sucks about it?
Some proven side effects of fluoride include dementia, endocrine disruption (aka it messes with your hormones), brain damage, muscle disorders, fertility problems, lowered collagen levels (collagen is what keeps your skin youthful and elastic), arthritis, weakened immune system, and cancer just to name some.
Do we really need to avoid fluoride though?
CONS: On one hand, if these potential side effects are so dangerous, is it not worth it to look for other alternatives? Plus, for those drinking tap water & black tea which often contain traces of fluoride, many argue that we're already getting more than enough fluoride to protect our teeth.
Fluoride is such a big topic of controversy that I need to create a separate post dedicated to it. But for now, some effective antibacterial ingredients like vitamin D, coconut oil, and neem are known to be good alternatives to fluoride.
PROS: Studies show that fluoride is a danger when it's consumed in "moderate quantities." In the meanwhile, fluoride is the most researched ingredient we have today that's been proven to prevent tooth decay.
I like using fluoride-free toothpastes for quick teeth brushing seshes in the mornings and a fluoride-infused toothpaste for heavier duty teeth cleaning at night.
But that's just my temporary solution until I can convince myself to drop the fluoride for good.
popular Products that CONTAIN Fluoride:
As you know, most toothpastes on the market today contain fluoride.
Let me know what you think about this ingredient in the comments below!
known to cause hormonal imbalances
You've probably already heard about the detrimental effects of parabens since their influence spreads well beyond toothpaste- they're found in a wide range of products from food to drinks to general consumer goods.
What's it for?
The reason parabens are added is because effectively preserve products by preventing bacteria from making it go bad.
What sucks about it?
Parabens are known to cause extreme hormonal imbalances since it mimics estrogren in the body.
If you're looking for parabens, they can be written simply as "paraben" on the label. But more often than not, parabens hide under the names that end with “ethyl,” “butyl,” “methyl,” and “propyl.”
popular Products that CONTAIN parabens:
Rembrandt uses parabens like propylene glycol.
Opalenscence adds a paraben called sodium benzonate, harmful synthetic colorings, and toxic potassium nitrate.
Purpose: Foaming agent
Side effects: Dry mouth, canker sores, changes taste buds, intense stomach aches, cramps, & diarrhea
Purpose: Prevents gingivitis
Side effects: Endocrine disruptor (causes hormonal imbalances), increases body's resistance to helpful antibiotics
Ingredient: ASPARTAME/ SODIUM SACCHARIN
Purpose: Artificial sweetener
Side effects: Memory problems, headaches, kidney & live complications, & weight gain
Purpose: Prevents tooth decay
Side effects: Dementia, endocrine disruption (aka it messes with your hormones), brain damage, muscle disorders, fertility problems, higher glucose blood levels, lowered collagen levels (collagen is what keeps your skin youthful and elastic), arthritis, weakened immune system, & increased risk of diabetes and cancer
Purpose: Preserves freshness
Side effects: Mimics estrogen- can cause cancer & extreme hormonal imbalances
try these Brands That use cleaner ingredients:
rich in antioxidants + super healing
Lavera is a popular German brand that's makes natural products without synthetic preservatives, colors or fragrances.
This natural toothpaste is a gem. It's packed with organic antibacterial echinacea and antioxidant rich propolis to maintain healthy teeth & gums without any aggressive chemicals. If you tend to get canker sores or have a sensitive mouth, definitely try Lavera's toothpaste.
ancient ayurvedic remedies
I can't say I love the packaging of Himalaya products, but this underrated brand has been adding the most natural ayurvedic ingredients into their products since 1930.
This toothpaste contains neem & pomegranate - two powerful botanical ingredients for clean teeth without any aggressive chemicals. Fun fact: neem is currently the leading proven alternative to fluoride and has already been used to prevent tooth decay for thousands of years.
unique flavors + impurity absorbing
If you're into natural products with unique flavors like mint + green tea, keep reading. Urtekram is a Danish brand that offers toothpastes with the best certified organic ingredients like pure aloe vera and impurity-absorbing chalk that's extracted from the sea.
affordable + quality
Weleda is a pretty peachy brand from Germany that can be found at pharmacies all around Europe. Despite their popularity, they've stayed true to their mission to offer natural products without the hefty price tag.
This toothpaste is infused soothing silica and naturally whitening calendula root extract.
soothing + sea-fresh with algae
JĀSÖN is a Californian brand that's been offering safe products with wholesome ingredients since 1959.
This toothpaste is mixed with vitamin-rich algae and silica infused bamboo powder to naturally protect teeth without any sulfates or parabens.
whitening + extra minty fresh
Xyli White is made by an honest brand called NOW that's been making natural products in Illinois since 1968.
This minty fresh toothpaste features teeth-strengthening neem bark instead of fluoride and papain to naturally whiten teeth. Another plus is that it's sulfate & paraben free.
natural whitening with baking soda
Dr. Bronner’s was founded after the Second World War in 1948 by a third- generation master soapmaker from a German-Jewish soap-making family. Today, Dr. Bronner's is a leader in fair-trade, non GMO, certified organic, vegan products.
This toothpaste is full of ingredients like soothing aloe vera, breath-freshening mint essential oil, healing coconut oil, and teeth whitening baking soda. It comes in three flavors: cinnamon, anise, and peppermint.
fights plaque + whitens teeth
Desert Essence is a clean wellness brand dedicated to offering sustainable botanical formulas. My cousin was using this brand when she came to visit me last time, and between us, I secretly used it to test it out, you know...for scientific purposes...My verdict: I approve!
This natural toothpaste removes plaque, freshens the breath, and whitens teeth with a concentrated blend of neem (a potent fluoride alternative for tooth decay), baking soda, and sea salt.
luxury feel + exotic ingredients
Aesop is a luxury plant-based brand from Melbourne, Australia. It's a popular choice for those who don't mind shelling out a few bucks for instagram-worthy products with exotic natural ingredients.
Their vegan toothpaste ditches the fluoride and replaces it with an orange, antioxidant-rich arctic berry called sea buckthorn, plus warm cardamom and aromatic wasabi to maintain fresh breath.
This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts are my own.