There are tons of great toothpaste options out there these days. Most of them include plenty of fluoride, a peppermint flavor (natural or synthetic), and a host of other ingredients like charcoal, bamboo fibers, and more that act as abrasives, scraping away plaque and bacteria and keeping your teeth safe.
But what about folks who happen to be vegan? Unfortunately, lots of regular toothpaste products use ingredients derived from animal byproducts, even if they don’t strictly use animal protein in their formulas. For example, lots of regular toothpaste products use propolis: an ingredient sourced from bees.
But if you are a vegan, there’s good news – vegan toothpaste has already been developed by a few brands and it’s becoming more common all the time.
Vegan toothpaste, in a nutshell, is any toothpaste that doesn’t use any animal byproducts whatsoever. It’s a perfect choice for vegans or for people who follow kosher or Halal practices. Vegan toothpaste can be just as effective as “regular” toothpaste, but it’s still important to pay attention to toothpaste ingredients to determine if it’s a great pick for your needs.
For example, vegans dedicated to finding the perfect toothpaste for their lifestyles should still make sure that the toothpaste they choose doesn’t include harsh abrasive ingredients. These include silica or the above-mentioned charcoal or bamboo fibers.
With all this in mind, let’s take a closer look at vegan toothpaste and explore how it works and what ingredients you should prioritize.
What Are the Benefits of Vegan Toothpaste?
Lots of folks believe that vegan products have a handful of extra advantages compared to their “regular” counterparts are alternatives. What about vegan toothpaste?
It’s Just as Effective as Other Toothpastes
Vegan toothpaste can be just as effective as other toothpaste products. Most vegan toothpaste products will use vegetable-derived glycerin as one of their primary ingredients. Glycerin is an effective antibacterial compound that can help to bolster gum and tooth health.
Vegan toothpaste products might also use ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera, palm oil, stevia, and mint for flavor. All of these can provide antibacterial properties to a toothpaste product and don’t require testing on animals and are not derived from animals or their products at all.
So, bottom line – don’t worry about a higher risk of cavities if you plan to use vegan toothpaste. Cavity likelihood will be driven more by how well you brush, the kind of toothbrush you use (we recommend an electric toothbrush, always!), whether you floss, and more.
It’s Usually Cruelty-Free
However, many people will claim that vegan toothpaste is cruelty-free. This isn’t necessarily true.
Some brands make a big effort toward ensuring no animal cruelty occurs from their toothpaste manufacturing process. But just because their toothpaste doesn’t include any products made with cruel practices doesn’t mean those brands don’t practice animal cruelty in other areas.
For example, Colgate recently came out with a vegan toothpaste. But Colgate’s other products do use animal-derived compounds or ingredients. Some of those ingredients are known to be harvested with arguably cruel methods.
Therefore, don’t count on vegan toothpaste being cruelty-free overall if it belongs to a brand that doesn't practice what it preaches across all of its products.
It Avoids Toxic Chemicals
Similarly, you might think that vegan toothpaste automatically avoids any toxic chemicals. This isn’t always the case, however.
For example, some vegan toothpaste products will include toxic ingredients like triclosan, saccharin, and parabens: preservatives designed to increase toothpaste shelf life but that provide no benefit to your teeth or overall bodily health.
It’s doubly important to check out the ingredients list on the back of a vegan toothpaste product. Don’t be fooled by marketing into thinking vegan toothpaste is automatically healthy without some investigation.
It Protects Against Cavities
Since vegan toothpaste is as effective as regular toothpaste, it can protect against cavities. But remember that this isn’t due to the vegan aspect of the toothpaste product.
Anti-cavity effects are due to active ingredients like fluoride and xylitol. In fluoride’s case, for example, this ingredient can fill in the gaps of your teeth’s enamel layer and help with the re-mineralization process, strengthening your teeth over time. This makes cavity formation less likely.
The fact that toothpaste is vegan alone, however, does not provide it with any extra anti-cavity effects.
It Helps Your Breath Smell Fresh
Naturally, the majority of vegan toothpaste products are designed to taste and smell good so that you purchase them instead of their competitors. Many vegan toothpaste products do include mint or stevia as flavoring or breath-freshening ingredients.
But again, remember that vegan toothpaste does not necessarily help your breath smell fresh just because it is vegan. If it helps your breath become fresher, it’s only as an effect of its other ingredients.
Are There Any Negatives to Using Vegan Toothpaste?
Not usually. In fact, many vegan toothpaste products try to avoid any potentially toxic ingredients, like triclosan, SLS, bleach, silica, and more. Vegan toothpaste won’t result in a higher likelihood of cavities, won’t strip away your enamel layer (unless the toothpaste in question contains a harsh abrasive, that is), and is overall a fine choice if your lifestyle demands this kind of toothpaste solution.
In other words, vegan toothpaste only comes with negatives if it includes ingredients that would be bad in “regular” toothpaste as well.
Is Vegan Toothpaste Only for Vegans?
Not at all! Anyone can use vegan toothpaste freely, but it’s a particularly good choice for folks who follow a strict kosher or Halal lifestyle. These individuals can feel better using vegan toothpaste than they would using regular toothpaste if they want to prevent cavities and gum disease.
However, if you aren’t vegan or follow the above lifestyles, you might find it easier to use a regular toothpaste that includes other effective ingredients that are nonetheless derived from animal sources.
Does Vegan Toothpaste Taste Good?
It sure does, although what exactly it tastes like and whether you like it compared to other options depends on the flavoring ingredients included. As mentioned above, many vegan toothpastes use stevia as a flavoring agent. But plenty of people don’t like stevia in anything, so they may not find that particular toothpaste a good pick.
Other than the choice of flavoring agents used, vegan toothpaste shouldn’t necessarily taste or feel all that different from regular toothpaste.
What Animal Products Are Used in Non-Vegan Toothpastes?
Lots of normal toothpaste choices won’t be acceptable options for vegans or other folks because of their primary ingredients.
Glycerin is among the most common toothpaste ingredients you can find. It provides a number of benefits to toothpaste products. It’s a natural ingredient that can preserve and sweeten toothpastes, making them more palatable and last longer without being toxic like parabens.
Glycerin is also effective since it retains paste moisture, preventing it from drying out in the tube. Fortunately, many vegan toothpaste products can now use glycerin derived from vegetables rather than animals or animal byproducts, so they’re almost the same as their counterparts.
Calcium phosphate is another key mineral in most non-vegan toothpaste products. It works alongside fluoride to strengthen your teeth. Your saliva actually produces phosphates naturally, but calcium phosphate is added to bolster the re-mineralization effect and to make sure your teeth have as much calcium as possible.
When combined with fluoride, enamel can be partially rebuilt if it has been worn down over time or has been affected by plaque and bacteria. Unfortunately, calcium phosphate is made from ground animal bones in most cases, so you won’t find it in any true vegan products.
Propolis is a natural substance that comes from honeybees, and it can be harvested either from plants around or from spots inside their hives. This makes it a non-vegan ingredient, but it can be effective in non-vegan toothpaste products.
Specifically, propolis can make your mouth feel better when it is included in your toothpaste. It’s also thought to have some soothing and antibacterial properties, likely as a result of its organic origin.
In the end, vegan toothpaste isn’t necessarily better than regular toothpaste, although it can be the perfect choice for people who follow a vegan lifestyle or who otherwise are not allowed to consume animal products.
It’s always important to check out the detailed ingredients list on the back of any vegan toothpaste tube. The ingredients list should tell you everything you need to know about its safety and whether it’s truly derived from cruelty-free sources.
As with regular toothpaste, vegan toothpaste is only an effective and suitable choice for your needs if you do your research beforehand.
Alternatively, you can check out Supersmile’s Professional Whitening Toothpaste and skip the research altogether! Our premier toothpaste contains tons of fluoride to strengthen your teeth’s enamel, plus other effective ingredients like Calprox: a proprietary compound that not only cleans teeth, but also whitens them!
See what else we offer at our online store or contact us if you have any other questions!