Find the best non toxic toothpaste brands, get to know popular toothpaste ingredients and learn why you should switch to natural toothpaste. Plus get your FREE printable toothpaste shopping checklist to help you find the toothpaste that works best for you and your family.
Back when I was a kid, our toothpaste brand began with a C and if we were “lucky” it was the one with a swirl of bright colors to make it look all fancy. Anything to get us brushing twice a day, right?
Nowadays, the toothpaste market is a swirl of new brands, with a slew of benefits, from whitening to remineralizing to combating bad breath. Not to mention all the sparkles, crazy colors and funky flavors for kids.
But one trend that is rising above the rest in the toothpaste market is natural ingredients. As the health-conscious tide continues to grow, people are taking a closer look at ingredients and are refusing to accept dubious chemicals in their personal care products.
Reasons to Switch to Natural Toothpaste
When making a plan to switch over to natural, non-toxic products, I always recommend swapping out the products used most frequently first. Toothpaste ranks up there as one of the personal care products we use most often, since we brush our teeth 730 times a year.
Plus, the fact that the ingredients hang out in our mouth (one of the most absorbent parts of the body), and might even be swallowed, makes it all the more important to use a safe, natural and non-toxic toothpaste.
Traditional toothpastes may contain some harmful ingredients that should be avoided:
- triclosan – an antibacterial agent associated with endocrine toxicity (It’s banned in soaps but is still allowed in toothpaste. Many toothpaste brands have eliminated it due to customer demand, but be sure to check the label.)
- parabens – preservatives that mimic estrogen and cause hormone system disruption
- diethanolamine (DEA) – a foaming ingredient that can react with other ingredients to form a potential carcinogen
- artificial colors (yep – those pretty swirls from my childhood!) – linked to hyperactivity and behavioral problems in kids
- artificial flavors and sweeteners – associated with cancer and other ill health effects
- fluoride (see below for more on this controversial ingredient)
- sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) (see below for more details)
Natural Toothpaste Ingredients
So you leave the aisle with the toothpaste you grew up with (goodbye sparkles!), and you walk over to the natural products aisle. What toothpaste should you buy?
Turns out there are a lot of options in the world of natural toothpaste! You’ll find pastes and powders and even toothpaste bites that dissolve in your mouth. And the list of preferred ingredients varies considerably, depending on your desired results and personal preference. The goal of course, is to prevent tooth decay and maintain good oral health, minus any harsh chemicals.
To make sense of the confusion, let’s go over some of the ingredients and certifications you might find in a natural toothpaste.
(Note: EWG = Environmental Working Group. Learn more about how to find safer personal care products by using the EWG database here.)
Hydroxyapatite – Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring mineral that is part of tooth enamel. When used in toothpaste it helps to strengthen teeth by remineralizing them. Although toothpaste with hydroxyapatite has been popular in Japan for a long time, it has only recently become popular as an alternative to fluoride in the United States.
Activated Charcoal – Activated charcoal is the current darling of the natural toothpaste industry. People love it for its whitening and detoxifying properties (read more about activated charcoal in beauty products). My take – I love the idea of it, but I don’t love the mess. Black toothpaste means cleaning your sink every time. Maybe you won’t mind?
Other Whitening Ingredients – Whitening toothpastes are extremely popular and for good reason (hello coffee stains!) The whitening ingredients in natural toothpaste brands typically include hydrated silica, calcium carbonate and activated charcoal – all of which rate a 1 on EWG. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is used by Essential Oxygen (see below) and they claim it to be a powerful and safe whitening ingredient.
Clay – Bentonite clay is used in some toothpastes, like Earthpaste, for its polishing abilities and connection to digestive health. There was some buzz about levels of natural lead in clay, but the Redmond brand (that makes Earthpaste and the bentonite clay powder that I buy for my homemade toothpaste recipe), has tested safe from lead.
Glycerin – Most of the natural toothpaste brands I looked at contain glycerin, which gives toothpaste its smooth mouthfeel. Glycerin can be animal or plant derived but I’m pretty sure even conventional brands use the plant-based variety (because, yuk!). Anyway, the only potential negative I read about glycerin was from the Essential Oxygen brand (see below), who said that glycerin coats teeth and inhibits the process of re-enameling. I’ll be curious to see if glycerin-free becomes a trend, but for now it’s pretty common. EWG rates glycerin a 2 or low hazard.
Xylitol and Stevia – These are the two most popular sweeteners for natural toothpastes. Both are naturally derived from plants and are considered safe, unlike some of the artificial sweeteners used in conventional toothpaste.
Essential Oils, Natural Extracts and Flavors – Many natural toothpaste brands use essential oils for flavoring, which can be either organically grown or not. Many essential oils also have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, which is a bonus for oral care. There’s a bit of uncertainty when it comes to natural flavors so I prefer it when brands disclose all the individual components of a flavor (like peppermint oil or raspberry extract for instance). Some companies, like Hello, provide lots of details about their flavors and others just list Flavor. The EWG rates Flavor as a 4 because of this uncertainty.
A few controversial toothpaste ingredients:
Fluoride – Sodium fluoride is the most controversial of ingredients in toothpaste. Most natural brands do not contain fluoride, but some do. Your dentist will tell you that the use of fluoride is important for replenishing lost minerals and strengthening teeth, and that it is most effective against cavities when applied directly to the teeth (as opposed to drinking it in tap water). Others warn that fluoride is a neurotoxin and that too much of it can cause problems ranging from discolored teeth to harm to the brain and nervous system (the EWG rates fluoride a 5 – a moderate hazard). I’m not here to convince you one way or the other, but here’s an interesting article discussing the pros and cons of fluoride in toothpaste. Bottom line, it’s a personal decision whether you use fluoride toothpaste or not.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – This foaming ingredient is another controversial one. It has been shown to be irritating to skin when used in high levels in bath and other personal care products, but is considered safe by the EWG (rated a 1 for use in toothpaste). Tom’s of Maine uses SLS in most of their toothpastes but they do offer an SLS-free option for sensitive individuals. Personally, I feel comfortable using Tom’s of Maine toothpaste but have been gravitating toward other natural brands lately.
Carrageenan – This thickening substance derived from seaweed is considered safe to use in personal care products, with a rating of 1 on EWG. However, carrageenan has a bad rap in the food industry for possible (although disputed) links to digestive inflammation. For now, I’m pretty comfortable with carrageenan in my toothpaste, but I’ll keep my eye on the research.
Natural Toothpaste Certifications
Organic – Of all the brands I checked, only one of them is USDA Certified Organic (Essential Oxygen). Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste contains over 70% organic ingredients. Most natural toothpaste brands don’t use organic as a selling point.
EWG-Verified – This is the top rating from the Environmental Working Group. Only a couple toothpaste brands that I’m familiar with carry this certification: Dr. Brite and David’s toothpaste.
Vegan/Cruelty free – Animal ingredients are not a big concern in today’s version of toothpaste, but if you care about animal testing, then look for a brand that is vegan or cruelty-free. I’m quite sure that cruelty-free applies to all the brands listed here, but is not necessarily true of conventional toothpaste brands.
Best Natural Toothpaste Brands
I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
OK – let’s take a deeper dive into some of the best natural toothpastes you’ll find out there in the world – including organic toothpastes, whitening toothpaste, kids toothpaste and more! Many of these I have personally tested and others are fan favorites. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list to get my FREE Toothpaste Shopping Checklist so you can find the brands that will work best for your family and your personal preferences.
Looking for non-toxic dental floss? Try Cocofloss!
Non toxic toothpaste brands that I have used:
- Formulated with hydroxyapatite, a mineral that has been the gold standard in Japan for over 40 years
- Scientifically proven to strengthen and protect teeth without fluoride
- Freshens breath using peppermint, tea tree and cinnamon
- Sweetened with: xylitol and stevia
- Wild mint flavor for adults, cake batter (vanilla) flavor for kids
- Think Dirty rating: 3
- My take: I appreciate the fact that hydroxyapatite has been proven to strengthen, whiten and remineralize teeth. The wild mint flavor tastes great. If you are looking for a toothpaste with hydroxyapatite, this is a great one!
- Best mineral toothpaste with hydroxyapatite
- Buy Risewell (Get 10% off with code MINDFULMOMMA10 at checkout)
- 70% certified organic ingredients
- Sweetened with: stevia
- EWG rating: 1 or 2 (cinnamon flavor has higher rating for potential allergic reactions)
- My take: Love the peppermint flavor
- Best organic toothpaste
- Buy Dr. Bronner’s
- Food grade hydrogen peroxide is a natural whitening agent
- Flavored with a unique mix of essential oils
- Sweetened with: stevia
- USDA Certified Organic
- EWG rating: 3
- My take: I’ve tried the toothpaste and really like it, and am curious to try the 3-step oral care system (including brushing rinse and tooth polish)
- Best oral care system
- Buy Essential Oxygen
- Both fluoride and fluoride-free options available
- All kids toothpastes are SLS free
- Sweetened with: erythritol, xylitol and stevia
- EWG rating: 2 to 3 (the term flavor rates 4 on EWG but all flavors are from natural extracts and essential oils)
- My take: My son hates mint so the Fresh Watermelon kids toothpaste has been a lifesaver. They have a bunch of flavors for toddlers and kids.
- Best flavored toothpaste
- Buy Hello
- Made with hydroxyapatite, green tea leaf extract and neem oil
- A mineralizing toothpaste that strengthens teeth, soothes gums and freshens breath
- Fluoride-free and glycerin free
- Children’s strawberry toothpaste available
- Sweetened with stevia and xylitol
- EWG rating: N/A
- My take: I like the peppermint flavor and love that you can also buy a copper tongue scraper.
- Best mineralizing toothpaste
- Buy Wellnesse (get a special offer through my affiliate link)
- Clay-based toothpaste (Redmond Bentonite clay is tested safe from lead)
- A non-foaming toothpaste
- Sweetened with xylitol
- EWG rating: 1 or 2
- My take: Lemon Twist is a fun flavor to try
- Best clay-based toothpaste
- Buy Earthpaste
Tom’s of Maine
- Both fluoride and fluoride-free options available
- Most products contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) but SLS-free options are available
- Sweetened with: xylitol and/or stevia
- EWG rating: 1 to 4
- My take: Easy to find and affordable
- Best affordable natural toothpaste
- Buy Tom’s of Maine
- All products are fluoride free and sulfate free
- Kids flavors available
- Sweetened with stevia
- EWG rating: EWG verified
- My take: The Extreme Whitening toothpaste rocks – especially when used in combination with the teeth whitening pens.
- Best whitening toothpaste
- Buy Dr. Brite
- This popular deodorant brand has now added toothpaste!
- Flavored with: natural mint oils
- Sweetened with: xylitol and stevia
- EWG rating: 3 (unspecified flavor gives it a higher rating
- My take: I like the mint flavor but they have a popular charcoal one too.
- Best activated charcoal toothpaste
- Buy Native
Jack N’ Jill
- Formulated specifically for babies & kids (safe to swallow)
- Contains calendula to sooth gums
- Unflavored option available
- Sweetened with: xylitol
- EWG rating: 1 – 2
- My take: Fun kid flavors including Black Current
- Best kids toothpaste
- Buy Jack N’ Jill
My Magic Mud
- Uses activated charcoal for whitening and stain removal
- Both toothpowder and toothpaste available
- Sweetened with: xylitol
- EWG rating: 1 – 3
- My take: The powder is kinda cool but I just can’t get used to the mess
- Best toothpaste powder
- Buy My Magic Mud
Other recommended toothpaste brands:
David’s – EWG Verified
Bite Toothpaste Bits (tube-free!)
ATTITUDE (adult and kids toothpastes)
Common Natural Toothpaste Questions
What is the best natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth?
Anyone with sensitive teeth knows how important it is to find a toothpaste that does not irritate sensitive tooth nerves. A couple good options include Tom’s of Maine Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste or David’s Toothpaste – Sensitive + Whitening.
What is the best non-minty toothpaste?
If you have a kid who hates mint with a passion (like my son!), then you NEED to find a non mint toothpaste! My son uses the Fresh Watermelon flavor from Hello. Other brands with mint-free toothpaste include Jack ‘N Jill and ATTITUDE.
What is the best non-toxic toothpaste for toddlers?
Toddlers and little kids can be extra picky, so it helps to start with a mild flavored toothpaste. Brands that specialize in toothpaste for kids include Hello, Jack ‘N Jill, Toms and ATTITUDE. If you are looking for a toddler toothpaste with fluoride, I recommend either Hello brand or Tom’s of Maine children’s toothpaste.
What is the best non-toxic toothpaste with fluoride?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, fluoride is a controversial ingredient in toothpaste. If you believe that a fluoride toothpaste makes the most sense for you and your family, then by all means use it! Fortunately, there are a variety of toothpastes that contain fluoride but do not have the other toxic chemicals that are often found in toothpastes. Natural toothpaste brands that have some products that contain fluoride include Toms of Maine and Hello.
What is your favorite non toxic toothpaste brand?