100 Day Challenge #97: Treat your teeth to an all-natural cleaning
We decided to dive into the toothpaste topic, and we can definitely say that we learned a lot! First of all, we want to tell everyone that we aren't dental professionals, so please reach out to your dentist to advise you on any decisions about your teeth. We're environmentalists who try to do what's best for our health and the health of our planet, and we wanted to challenge ourselves to do a better job on the toothpaste front.
We were originally looking for some toothpaste options that didn't come in a plastic container, but that didn’t go so well. We went to all three grocery stores in our neighborhood and didn't find any toothpastes that weren't in a tube. We could have ordered toothpaste tablets online but really wanted to find options that we could get when we were already on a grocery run.
We bought a few toothpastes to try, and they all seemed to work like toothpaste should. Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste is made with 70% organic ingredients. Their “low-foaming formula has no synthetic detergent foaming agents, is fluoride-free, vegan and cruelty-free, with no artificial colors, flavors, carrageenan, preservatives, or sweeteners.” The tube and the box are both recyclable. That’s a plus! And you should see all the certifications it has: it's certified vegan, organic, cruelty free, non-GMO, and Fair Trade. They have all the bases covered.
Next we tried the Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste. On the label it says it is Fluoride free, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Free, Carrageenan Free and Gluten Free. We had no idea what a couple of these substances were, so we looked them up.
SLS: according to Wikipedia, SLS is “an anionic detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products.” Pretty safe to say that we'd prefer a toothpaste without detergents and surfactants.
Carrageenan: according to Scientific American “it's widely used in the food industry, mostly as a thickener and gelling agent. Some scientists have presented evidence that carrageenan is highly inflammatory and toxic to the digestive tract, and claim that it may be responsible for colitis, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, and even colon cancer. Equally respected scientists have detailed the reasons that this evidence is flawed and misleading, concluding that there is no valid reason to ban its use.” Carrageenan-free was also listed on Dr. Bronner’s package. We concluded that there's at least a possibility we should try to avoid that substance even if it isn't conclusive.
The Himalaya box is made from 100% recycled paper and the toothpaste tube is recyclable: awesome! What we didn’t notice when we bought it, is that it is manufactured in India. That's a long way for the toothpaste to travel, when we certainly have some good options that are made closer to us.
The third toothpaste in our shopping bag was Tom’s of Maine. It's cruelty-free and has no artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, sweeteners or preservatives, but when we looked on the list of ingredients it does contain SLS and carrageenan. On their website they state that their ingredients are “sourced from suppliers that respect human and labor rights” and they support “the use of sustainable growing and harvesting practices” but they don't have the many sustainable certifications like Dr. Bronner’s does to ensure this.
After several days of testing and giving each product a fair and equal shot, we'd have to say it's Dr. Bronner's for the win again!
We appreciate their transparency and commitment to sustainable practices and certifications, and we're a huge fan of their products. It goes without saying that we'll be buying their toothpaste again right alongside their Castile soap that we already know and love.