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An ever-growing number of people are deciding to adopt a vegan lifestyle, which is amazing news, but they primarily focus only on the food they will consume. However, being a true vegan also includes switching up the products you use every day.
This includes the clothes you wear and the health and beauty items you buy. Choosing the best vegan toothpaste is part of that process.
- How is toothpaste made?
- What makes a toothpaste vegan?
- Switching to vegan toothpaste
- Who certifies vegan toothpaste?
- Can I still avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, and carrageenan?
- What’s the best vegan toothpaste? Our Reviews
- Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste
- Hello Oral Care Fluoride Toothpaste
- Himalaya Botanique Whitening Toothpaste
- Uncle Harry’s Fluoride Free Toothpaste
- Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Toothpaste
- Jason Sea Fresh Toothpaste
- Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste
- Now Foods Xyliwhite Baking Soda Toothpaste
- Dental Duty ToothBrite Activated Natural Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder
- Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste
- Best Vegan Toothpaste Reviews…Done!
How is toothpaste made?
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, this really short video from National Geographic provides a brief history of toothpaste and explains how it is commonly made:
What makes a toothpaste vegan?
In order to be a identified as one of the many vegan toothpaste brands available today, manufacturers must not include any animal products or derivatives. Therefore, the exclusion of animal products is the place most people start when they consider replacing household goods with vegan items.
Thankfully, there aren’t many animal-based ingredients found in conventional toothpaste, but glycerin might be one of them. It can be derived from either plant or animal sources, so it’s a tough call. As you’ve probably guessed, in order to be vegan the glycerin must come from plant-based sources, but how does one find out?
The only way to know for sure is to contact the manufacturer directly. While you are submitting your request, you may also want to ask about any sugar added to the toothpaste (yes, there’s often sugar in toothpaste!).
If bone ash (sometimes referred to as char) was used to process the sugar, then the product cannot be truly regarded as vegan since animal derivatives have been used to make one of the ingredients.
It’s also important to check if your toothpaste is cruelty-free, which means it’s not tested on animals. Unfortunately, and unbelievably, being labeled as vegan doesn’t always guarantee this, so be sure to check your product before your buy.
The vegan lifestyle is one that strives for consistency in animal ethics, so the push for cruelty-free products is just as important as the purity of ingredients. It’s always important to ask, “How is toothpaste made and tested?” when you are vegan.
For info on glycerin, check out our post “Is Glycerin Vegan?“
Switching to vegan toothpaste
The main advantage to choosing vegan health and beauty items, including toothpaste, is obvious. It helps you be consistent with your choice to lessen the amount of unnecessary harm your time on this planet has on other beings.
However, we appreciate that this can be a big step for someone new to the lifestyle and an immediate transition of every single product in your home may not be feasible. While becoming vegan may not be an overnight change, it is totally achievable.
As you run out of current products you can begin to switch all of them to a vegan version – toothpaste included.
Doing it this way will help delay some of the increased costs of vegan items as well as prevent you from wasting products you already own.
Who certifies vegan toothpaste?
Three different companies certify vegan health and beauty products. They are:
Vegan Action: Products certified by this group bear a heart-logo with a V inside. Companies can license this logo by completing a form attesting to their cruelty-free and animal-free products. Vegan Action approved items are both cruelty-free and free of all animal products and animal derivatives.
Beauty Without Bunnies: Sponsored by PETA, this logo is also available for licensing. It looks like a bunny face with heart shaped ears with the words “cruelty free and vegan” underneath it.
Vegan Society: Products that bear this logo do not contain any animal products or derivatives. In addition, they do not use animals in their testing process.
Understanding the labeling will help you choose the best vegan toothpaste. Remember that even products marketed as being “the best organic toothpaste” or “natural toothpaste” are not necessarily vegan.
Terms such as organic and natural can be misleading, so look for the logos listed above to be sure you are sticking to your ethics when buying vegan dental hygiene products.
Can I still avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, and carrageenan?
Yes, but you will need to check the ingredient list on every product in order to know for sure.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is the foaming agent added to most toothpaste. Even non-vegans have begun to avoid it because research suggests it increases mouth sores in some individuals. (1)
The most common replacement in natural toothpaste is sodium coco sulfate. It is derived from coconuts and does produce some foaming, but not quite as much as SLS.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that the jury is still out on whether it can also contribute to mouth sores in the same way, so be aware that switching SLS for sodium coco sulfate may not necessarily cure that particular problem. (2)
Another replacement, which confusingly bears a very similar name and the same initials as sodium lauryl sulfate, is sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. This alternative is actually an amino acid which is found in the human body, as well as just about everywhere else in nature.
Vegan toothpastes that use sodium lauroyl sarcosinate will commonly be sourced from coconut oil.
Fluoride may or may not be in vegan toothpaste. Whether or not you want to avoid it is a personal decision, and one that is often influenced by many factors. The source of water in your home, the quality of past dental care, and personal preference are all things to consider. (3)
That being said, many people who choose veganism also try to avoid chemicals like fluoride.
In a similar vein, carrageenan is another substance that many vegans try to avoid. It has been linked to stomach issues and is actually banned in Europe. US regulators seem to be slow to follow suit, but there are conflicting schools of thought on the subject so I guess it’s understandable. (4)
For more on carrageenan, see my post about jello and vegan gelatin.
What’s the best vegan toothpaste? Our Reviews
Once you have established that a particular type of toothpaste is vegan, which one you use is largely a matter of personal preference for taste, texture, and cost.
To give you some idea of what products are available (and help you cut down your research time), I’ve listed nine vegan options below that are widely praised and commonly used by committed vegans just like you and me.
Let’s take a look!
Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste
Without the use of any artificial sweeteners, this cruelty-free toothpaste from Nature’s Gate still has a mildly sweet taste that masks the bitterness of the cleaning agents.
Several different fruit extracts make this possible, including cranberry, pomegranate, and grape. Despite those fruity extracts, there is still a minty flavor that most people associate with toothpaste.
Many vegetarian toothpaste brands avoid sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is the foaming agent found in conventional toothpaste, and Nature’s Gate is no different. Instead, this brand includes sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, which is also a foaming agent.
Confusingly sodium lauroyl sarcosinate has the same initials as the harmful sodium lauryl sulfate, but they are totally different ingredients. The main difference is that sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is derived from sarcosine (a natural amino acid) and is considered a safe cleanser.
This is great for anyone who doesn’t want to give up their foamy toothpaste feel when brushing their teeth.
One issue with some green toothpaste products is that they’re not effective for whitening due to the limited ingredient list. If you experience tooth staining regularly, then this particular product may not be the best choice for you.
Nature’s Gate’s natural toothpaste is verified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA.
EDIT: It would appear that the ingredient list on Amazon is now out of date. Here is the updated list:
Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, Water (Eau), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Quillaja Saponaria (Soap Bark) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Glycerophosphate, Bisabolol, Menthol
- Fluoride free
- Carrageenan free
- Doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Tamper-proof, sealed tube
- Trusted brand name
- Made in the USA
- Flavor is an acquired taste
- Product is quite runny
- May not help remove staining from coffee or teas as well as other brands
Hello Oral Care Fluoride Toothpaste
If fluoride isn’t something you’re trying to avoid, then Hello Oral Care could be the toothpaste for you. While it does have fluoride, it doesn’t have any preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or dyes.
Hello uses xylitol and stevia to sweeten it, which gives it a nice, subtle hint of sweet without overpowering your mouth.
They’ve also chosen silica because it whitens your teeth gently, which sets it apart from other brands of safe toothpaste as most do not make any whitening claims whatsoever.
There are five flavors to choose from, including super mint, blue raspberry, bubble gum, pure mint, and sweet mint. It may take some trial and error to figure out which one you like best, but they’re all relatively mild so you shouldn’t find one you cannot use.
- ADA approved
- Made in the USA
- Children’s version available
- Contains sodium lauryl sulfate
- Difficult to close tube
- Despite being mild, the flavor may still be too sweet for some
Himalaya Botanique Whitening Toothpaste
This whitening toothpaste from Himalaya Botanique is free of almost everything. You will not find fluoride, carrageenan, SLS, or gluten in it, which is fantastic.
In place of these toxic ingredients, you will find neem, pomegranate, and enzymes from pineapple and papaya. Himalaya Botanique’s unique mix of ingredients makes this green toothpaste stand out from the crowd.
Neem is growing in popularity as a toothpaste ingredient for cleaning and the papaya and pineapple enzymes are included to reduce surface stains. Combined, the neem and enzymes produce a very bright smile indeed.
Himalaya Botanique also includes the astringent pomegranate to fight plaque and give your mouth a wonderfully fresh feeling.
There are two flavor options available, whitening mint and whitening peppermint. Both have a very strong mint flavor that will stay with you for a while after brushing.
- Certified organic
- Free from almost everything bad
- A little bit goes a long way
- Packaging uses soy-based inks
- Strong minty flavor may be too much for some
- Some claims of poor whitening capabilities, but lots to the contrary too
Uncle Harry’s Fluoride Free Toothpaste
Unlike many of the other products on this list, Uncle Harry’s fluoride-free toothpaste is mineral clay based.
The goal is to help you re-mineralize your tooth enamel. To that end, the ingredient list also includes bentonite clay, sea salt, mustard seed, and several essential oils.
Peppermint, eucalyptus, clove, wintergreen, and oregano all lend flavor and healing properties, masking the taste of bentonite clay. All of the ingredients work together to help you keep your mouth in a naturally alkaline state. While this product is not certified as vegan, all of the ingredients are plant based.
The main draw to this healthy toothpaste is the promise of reversing cavities by re-mineralizing your teeth. The theory is that if we can heal bones in the human body, we can do the same with enamel.
Consumers have reported mixed results with this, and there isn’t enough peer-reviewed research to confirm whether or not this is true. It might, however, be worth giving it a shot if you can handle the extremely strong flavor.
- Leaves teeth feeling smooth and mouth tasting fresh, although it is quite gritty to apply
- May help restore enamel damage
- It lasts a long time
- Made in the USA
- Very strong taste, which is also quite salty
- Can give a burning sensation on sensitive gums and tongues
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Toothpaste
Dr. Bronner makes cleaning products that work all over the home and body. The addition of a purportedly healthy toothpaste like Magic Soaps is not a surprise since many consumers were already using his soaps for brushing anyway.
This toothpaste is low foaming and uses coconut to brush away plaque without damaging the enamel.
It is sweetened with stevia and flavored with peppermint oil, and the flavor is pretty mild but nice, nonetheless. The gritty, sometimes lumpy, texture may not be to everyone’s taste.
This item is Leaping Bunny certified and all the ingredients are plant based. However, a glance through the ingredients list shows that it does contain carrageenan, which is sure to be a concern for many and comes as somewhat of a surprise. Pity.
- Very mild flavor will appeal to those who don’t like overly minty toothpastes
- Certified non-GMO
- Free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Contains carrageenan
- Some may not like the non-foaming formula, although this doesn’t necessarily mean the product isn’t cleaning your teeth properly
- Regarding above, some consumers have complained that they need to brush twice to get a clean feel in their mouths
Jason Sea Fresh Toothpaste
Taking a completely different approach to safe toothpaste, Jason’s Sea Fresh toothpaste uses blue green algae. This is an ingredient which is rich in antioxidants, protein and calcium.
There are no harsh abrasives in this formula. Instead, bamboo stem powder is used to help keep your teeth free of plaque. Spearmint and parsley extracts give it a bright flavor and fresh breath that lasts all day. While the main ingredient is blue green algae, this toothpaste isn’t tested on animals.
There are no artificial colors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, SLS, saccharin, or propylene glycol in this toothpaste. However, it does contain carrageenan, so you’ll need to decide whether or not this is something you want in your bathroom cabinet.
Stevia is used to give this toothpaste a slightly sweet taste to go with the minty flavor of spearmint. Both smell and flavor are great and long lasting.
- Works great on sensitive teeth
- Perfect for anyone who reacts badly to SLS
- Sweetened with stevia
- Quite affordable
- Small amount of toothpaste does the trick, making tubes long lasting
- Contains carrageenan
- Texture is quite chalky and pretty thick. May take some getting used to
- Flavor appears to be unpalatable for many
- Quite foamy, which won’t appeal to everyone
Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste
Another toothpaste with neem oil made the cut for this list. Wintergreen and sea salt are the only flavor enhancers on the very short list of ingredients found on Desert Essence’s natural tea tree oil and neem toothpaste.
Desert Essence uses baking soda to clean the teeth also and remove plaque. The addition of sodium coco sulfate (SCS) makes it foam like most traditional toothpaste.
Research is uncertain as to whether SCS is as harmful as SLS when it comes to mouth sores, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it might be. That being said, SCS is a more complex molecular structure than SLS, so its mass is far greater.
What this means for us, the consumer, is that, in theory, SCS should have less chance of breaking through the epidermis, thus causing fewer instances of irritation as it’s not coming into contact with the cells that live underneath our skin tissue. The choice is yours as to whether or not you want to try it out or not.
You can choose from one of six flavors – mint, wintergreen, tea tree with fennel, fennel, ginger, and tea tree with mint. There is a slight medicinal smell to some of the flavors due to the tea tree oil, but that is something most people get used to after using the product for a while.
- Neem works well for sensitive teeth
- Relatively smooth texture, less gritty than others
- Removes plaque effectively
- Tea tree oil provides a natural antiseptic
- Unfortunately, another product with carrageenan in it
- Not very good at whitening
- Clean feeling isn’t as long lasting as other toothpastes
- Tea tree oil flavor isn’t for everyone
Now Foods Xyliwhite Baking Soda Toothpaste
This baking soda toothpaste from Now Foods is sweetened with xylitol. The advantage of using xyltitol is that it not only sweetens the paste, it also helps maintain a neutral pH level inside the mouth.
Additionally, xylitol apparently prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth, which should lessen plaque build up. Now Foods is so confident of the power of xylitol that it makes up 25 percent of the total product.
For those of us with companion animals, this is something to be acutely aware of. Xylitol is extremely dangerous for dogs and cats, so make sure you keep it well out of reach. I know you would anyway, but just saying.
Baking soda is the primary scrubbing agent in this toothpaste, and it’ll help make and keep your teeth nice and white without being overly abrasive. The downside to baking soda is that it can make the flavor a little salty, but this is something most people become accustomed to with time.
Now Foods makes this available in four flavors – Platinum Mint, Refreshmint, Cinnafresh, and Nemm & Tea Tree. If you’d like to give them all a try, they’re available in a variety pack here.
- Whitens well
- SLS free
- Great taste, although this is obviously subjective
- Gives the mouth a nice, clean feel, which is what you want from a toothpaste!
- Rebalances pH levels in the mouth
- Contains carageenan
- Texture may take some getting used to
- Some may find the flavor a little too salty
- Can cause sensitivity issues
Dental Duty ToothBrite Activated Natural Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder
While not exactly a toothpaste, this vegan whitening powder from Dental Duty is very popular indeed.
It has the most easily read list of ingredients of all items featured here. Coconut, charcoal bentonite, orange seed oil, sodium bicarbonate, coconut oil, and mint flavor are all that is needed to have whiter teeth according to Dental Duty.
They claim it can be used in place of toothpaste on a daily basis and judging by the following it has gathered over the years, plenty of people seem to agree. Most people love it because of its gentleness and effective relief for those with sensitive teeth.
Dental Duty’s ingredients are all organic, GMO free, and contain no artificial colors or flavors. So confident are they in their product, Dental Duty offer a no quibble 100% money back guarantee on their Mint ToothBrite Activated Teeth Whitening Charcoal.
- Very short and readable ingredient list
- Great for sensitive teeth
- Effective whitening, but needs to be used regularly to see results
- 100% money back guarantee
- Made in the USA
- Can be very messy to use
- Can get stuck around the gums, you really need to diligently rinse after brushing
- Quite expensive
Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste
The last product on our list is Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste.
As one of the most respected manufacturers in the green products space, it’s little surprise to see that Tom’s of Maine’s foray into the world of toothpaste has gained quite a following.
This toothpaste claims to be both whitening and have antiplaque protection too. However, reviews on both fronts seemed to be mixed.
Unfortunately, and quite surprisingly, Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste also contains both carrageenan and sodium lauryl sulfate, which is sure to put some people off of buying this product.
This is a real shame, especially as the product is so heavily marketed as being a more natural and healthy alternative to more mainstream toothpaste brands.
- Cleans teeth well and leaves mouth feeling fresh
- Good taste
- Free from artificial sweeteners, dyes, and flavoring
- Kosher and halal certified
- Contains BOTH SLS and carrageenan
- Some might see the marketing of this product as deceptive
- More expensive than other brands, and tube is smaller
Best Vegan Toothpaste Reviews…Done!
After looking through some of the best vegan toothpaste brands around, our favorite is Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste.
This product is fluoride free, SLS free, and carrageenan free, something that so many of its competitors fail at. Unfortunately, the ingredients list on their Amazon sales page appears to be incorrect, but rest assured, this product is not only fluoride free, it’s also FREE FROM BOTH SLS AND CARRAGEENAN too.
The flavor is mild enough for the entire family, making it great for those of you who don’t want to buy multiple tubes, and it also carries PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies logo as it’s both vegan and cruelty-free.
The only real complaint we had is that the whitening properties could be better. That being said, regular brushing should negate the need for a whitener anyway.
If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
Many of the other products we reviewed were great, but Nature’s Gate takes the prize.
About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
RELATED: CHECK OUT OUR CRUELTY-FREE MOUTHWASH REVIEWS
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- B B Herlofson, P Barkvoll | Sodium lauryl sulfate and recurrent aphthous ulcers. A preliminary study | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7825393/
- Tomasz Bujak, Zofia Nizioł-Łukaszewska and Tomasz Wasilewski | Sodium Lauryl Sulfate vs. Sodium Coco Sulfate. Study of the Safety of Use Anionic Surfactants with Respect to Their Interaction with the Skin | https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.3139/113.110599/pdf
- Yvette Brazier, Medically reviewed by Karen Cross, FNP, MSN | Why do we have fluoride in our water? | https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154164
- Andrew Weil, M.D. | Is Carrageenan Safe? | https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/food-safety/is-carrageenan-safe/