Toothpaste is probably the most regularly used body care product around which is why it was one of the first products we scrutinized for sustainable alternatives. And, with so many healthy and environmentally friendly options available today, why not try a brand that’s trying to do good!
It’s also worth pointing out that most of the well known conventional toothpastes like Colgate, Oral-B, Sensodyne, Crest and Aquafresh (to name a few), are just about all owned by the same 3 holding companies (Church & Dwight, GlaxoSmithKline, and Procter and Gamble) which means they’re almost certainly tested on animals. What is surprising though is that they’re likely to be vegan friendly (i.e. they do not contain any animal ingredients or animal byproducts, to learn more about the difference between cruelty-free and vegan, have a read here), as they now, more often than not, contain a synthetic version of the usually animal derived ingredient known as “glycerin”. Glycerin can (confusingly) also be derived from palm oil so if you, like us, prefer to avoid palm oil (have a read here and here for some background on the palm oil problem), look for a palm oil free option below.
Your run of the mill toothpastes usually contain a cocktail of unhealthy and harmful chemicals which are directly exposed to and absorbed by the cells in your mouth, like:
- Triclosan, the antibacterial chemical which has been linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption
- Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, the foaming agent which has been known to cause skin irritation, canker sores and various dioxanes which are carcinogenic byproducts
- Flouride, the cavity prevention ingredient abundantly found in most water supplies around the world and, of course, our toothpastes. This additive is now coming under fire as unnecessary and unhealthy. Though, the jury still seems to be out on this one
- Microbeads, the tiny plastic pellets that are used in a variety of body care products. Our marine wildlife end up eating these plastic bits and we, as a result of eating fish, also end up ingesting them
Per our approach to body care products at Sustainable Jungle, we aim to tick as many sustainability boxes as possible, so you know you’re making the best possible choice for you and the environment:
- Effective: They must work!
- Animal / Environmentally friendly: cruelty-free, organic / natural, vegan and palm oil free
- Low impact and have a social ethos: Ideally the product is made using recycled materials but must always be recyclable. We also look out for brands doing more than just making profits
Note that some of the options below are not always available in every country. We’ll continue to research and add other toothpastes to the list. Do reach out and let me know if you know of any others that should be featured!
Dr. Bronner’s Toothpastes:
We’ve tried a couple of different Dr. Bronner’s toothpastes, the cinnamon flavor which Joy loves and the peppermint flavor which is my favorite. They’re all cruelty-free, 70% certified organic, vegan and made of 100% recycled packaging. They don’t contain any detergent foaming agents, fluoride, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. If you’re looking for a strong natural toothpaste this probably won’t do the trick, however, it’s perfect for a lighter option or if you have sensitive teeth.
About Dr. Bronner’s:
Dr. Bronner’s are one of the most sustainable brands around. Their large range of skincare, haircare and dental products are organic, cruelty-free, vegan and contain palm oil that is genuinely sustainable and ethically sourced. Dr Bronner’s is a B Corp company and they have an innovative approach to fair-trade. Their packaging is made of post consumer recycled materials and is also recyclable. They also support a range of charities. You can read more about Dr Bronner’s in our brand guide here.
My Magic Mud Toothpastes:
This brand is a little different in that the specializes in active charcoal oral care (dental floss, toothpastes and tooth powder). It may seem counter-intuitive but activated charcoal (which is essentially oxidized and reheated version of the stuff you throw on a bbq) actually works thanks to it’s naturally adhesive qualities that bind to all the usual food and drink that stains our pearly whites. But just bear in mind that charcoal is naturally abrasive so take care in using this product (some dentists suggest using it a couple of times a week) to avoid any chance of wearing away your enamel. Overall, Magic Mud’s toothpaste’s have gained some great overall reviews, they also include bentonite clay which is used as a mouth wash absorbing toxins, binding heavy metals and neutralizing bacteria.
About My Magic Mud:
My Magic Mud are a family owned business hailing from Texas. They have taken A LOT of care in manufacturing oral care products (including eco friendly toothbrushes). They’re certified cruelty free and vegan by the EU Natural Cosmetics Standard (Ecocert) and their products do not contain any palm oil, SLS, flouride or glycerin. The essential oils used in their products are sourced from organic growers and they’re non-GMO certified. You can watch My Magic Mud’s short video here for more info on their story.
All of Miessence’s toothpastes are vegan, cruelty-free, mostly organic and free of palm oil, artificial colors, flavorings, fluoride, aluminium and detergents. They contain a couple of interesting ingredients like aloe vera and cinnamon leaf essential oil. They come in three flavors: lemon, mint and anise. We’ve tried the mint flavor and the taste is quite different to your usual toothpastes and will take a little getting used to. There’s also no foaming agent which may make the toothpaste feel sort of ineffective, however, we think this is more to do with what we’re used to and not about whether the product works or not. This is another good option for sensitive teeth.
Miessence was the world’s first certified organic cosmetic and skincare range. All their products are organic, cruelty-free and vegan (except for a handful which contain organic beeswax). A handful of their products contain palm oil, otherwise the rest of their range are palm oil free. The palm oil they source is RSPO certified, though, as we have discussed in a previous post, this does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable. Miessence are currently on the lookout for alternatives. Miessence are also 110% carbon negative, use renewable wind energy and only source ingredients from fair trade protected growers. Their packaging is made of recycled materials and is also recyclable. You can read more about Miessence in our brand guide here.
Green Beaver’s Toothpaste:
Toothpaste was one of the first products that Green Beaver developed. They have a range of flavors on offer like cilantro mint, cinnamon, frosty mint, green apple, spearmint, star anise and zesty orange. According to a number of reviews this is a very popular and effective natural toothpaste, just make sure you get the flavor best suited to your taste buds (not everyone likes star anise). Otherwise, they’re made from natural ingredients such as lemon / mint / tea tree extracts, silica, calcium carbonate (natural mineral whiteners) and glycerin (note this is derived from coconut oil). As for the environment, their toothpastes are entirely cruelty-free, natural & organic, vegan and palm oil free.
About Green Beaver:
Green Beaver is a family owned business and have been manufacturing hand-made certified organic personal care products since 2001. All their products are 100% cruelty-free, organic / natural, vegan friendly (except for their lip balms and sunscreen lotions which contain organic beeswax and honey from the Hockley Farm) and palm oil free. It’s clear to see that they’re committed to sustainability as they not only try to source as many local organic ingredients as they can to reduce their carbon footprint, they’re also involved in a number of initiatives and charitable partnerships from installing life saving pond regulators to protecting beavers to raising awareness among the youth of the toxic chemicals found in cosmetics and most recently helping out a women’s shelter in BC and homeless moms in Toronto! Incredible! Green Beaver was also the first Canadian company to be microbead-free since day one.
Green People Toothpaste:
Green People’s toothpastes are cruelty-free, natural / organic and vegan friendly. They do not contain any SLSs, parabens, colourents, foaming agents, synthetic fragrances or irritating emulsifiers. They come in a number of flavors including citrus & aloe vera, peppermint and spearmint. There are also a couple of kids options too in the same flavors. As for the taste, it’s a bit more like your standard ordinary toothpastes which will suit those of us who are a little less adventurous or are adjusting to the al natural side of things. Their packaging is made of PP or HDPE plastics which contain no phthalates and are 100% recyclable.
About Green People:
Green People specialize in organic, chemical free beauty products. They have an impressive range that includes hair care, skincare and makeup. All their products are cruelty-free and many are also vegan friendly (see here for their vegan catalogue). They are PETA and Soil Association (organic) certified and they source fairtrade ingredients wherever possible. Their products do contain palm oil, however, they source the palm oil from countries where there are no native orangutans. It’s also worth mentioning that since this ingredient is certified organic it is a condition that it must be grown and harvested sustainably. As mentioned above, we always advocate palm oil free wherever you can (to find out why see here and here). We’re currently reaching out to them on this point to get more information. Green People’s packaging is recyclable and they support a variety of charities from children’s hospice to marine conservation.
Eco-Dent Toothpastes / Toothpowders:
Eco-Dent is an oral care specialist brand. They have a variety of toothpastes and toothpowders to choose from. They use mostly natural ingredients like non-abrasive sodium bicarbonate, sea salt, tartric acid, aloe vera, calcium and magnesium carbonate. All of their products are free from SLS, parabens, artificial colors, flavors, fluoride and preservatives. Eco-Dent toothpastes and toothpowders are also cruelty-free and vegan friendly.
Based in the USA, Eco-Dent pride themselves on designing and manufacturing healthy and effective oral care products. And apart from avoiding all the usual harmful suspects they’re also committed to being environmentally friendly. Their products contain as little fillers and carriers as possible like water and glycerin, which ensures each product is concentrated, lasts longer and therefore reduces wasteful packaging and their overall carbon footprint. They also use paper instead of plastic for their floss boxes and each box contains double and sometimes triple the amount of product compared to other brands which again saves a whole lot of waste. Eco-Dent is a completely cruelty-free and vegan friendly brand.
Ugly By Nature Toothpaste:
If Ugly By Nature’s packaging is anything to go by, they probably produce the yummiest toothpastes around, especially with flavors like wacky watermelon, mixed berry madness and spankin’ spearmint. As for their formulation, they are purists and only use a select few ingredients like clacium betonite clay, coconut oil, aloe vera, coconut activated charcoal, birch xylitol, food grade hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth (i.e. soft sedimentary earth) and organic flavors. Their toothpastes are also all cruelty-free (PETA certified), vegan friendly, palm oil free and come in BPA PVC free and recyclable packaging
About Ugly By Nature:
Ugly By Nature was born out of Dr. Paul Herman’s obsession with health. Over 20 years of practice he become more and more aware of how many chemicals and toxins consumers were being exposed to. So, in an effort to change the game he and co-founder Adriana Ryan created the mono-product brand Ugly By Nature. Apart from ticking all the sustainable boxes mentioned above, they’re also clearly environmentally aware using recycled packing supplies wherever they can and always recycled paper for print. They also ask their distributors to only use digital flyers to reduce unnecessary waste.
Availability: Ugly By Nature
Radius make a very unique toothpaste – it’s the first USDA certified organic alternative. It contains delicious ingredients like coconut and rosemary oil, chamomile flower, aloe vera and a couple of other novel ingredients like blue agave syrup (low GI and totally natural sweetener) and soapberry (natural foaming agent with antibacterial properties). It comes in two flavors: mint aloe neem and ginger citrus whitening. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan friendly and comes in recyclable and BPA free packaging. It does however, contain glycerin which is derived from palm oil. While this is RSPO certified, as we’ve mentioned above, this does not necessarily mean that it’s sustainable.
What started out as Kevin Foley and James O’Halloran toothbrush-design brainchild back in 1980 is now a fully fledged and internationally known dental care specialist brand. Radius take a holistic and sustainable approach to their business, from the design to the manufacture and finally the disposal of their products. Their toothbrushes, for example, are not only designed to last three times longer than conventional toothbrushes but only the used head has to be replaced which eliminates throwing away the entire toothbrush. They primarily use renewable bioplastics like timber, agricultural byproducts and plastic bottles and, where possible, make their packaging compostable and biodegradable. In 2011 they installed a huge amount of solar panels that now generate more than half of their energy needs. They’re also a Leaping Bunny and vegan friendly brand except for their Natural Biodegradable Silk Floss which comes from silk worms.
JASÖN manufacture a variety of fluoride and fluoride-free toothpastes. They’re formulated with mostly natural and a couple of certified organic ingredients (e.g. tea tree oil and aloe vera juice). They steer clear of the unhealthy suspects like sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, lanolin, petroleum, glycol and nano-particles. JASÖN toothpastes are also cruelty-free and vegan friendly. Though, some of their toothpastes do contain glycerin which is likely to be derived from palm oil – we’re reaching out to them for more info on this. We’ve tried the Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste which feels and tastes very similar to a regular Colgate or Aquafresh, unlike most of natural toothpastes. It’s also one of the stronger natural options. Overall, a good alternative for those that want a bit more of a traditional taste and feel.
JASÖN has been creating natural body care products for more than 50 years. Their manufacturing plant in Culver City, California is a Certified Organic Processor – the first personal care manufacturer to be given this status by the Californian Certified Organic Farmers Certification. They’re also 100% cruelty-free and carry the Leaping Bunny logo. They’re a certified vegetarian brand and most of their products are also vegan friendly though some of which contain animal derived ingredients (e.g. beeswax). They do use palm oil in their products which are obtained through sustainable palm practices – as mentioned above, we’re reaching out to them for more info on this. JASÖN have put some thought into their packaging which is bio-degradable and packaged in recycled and/or recyclable containers.