Nothing can beat the good old toothpaste and toothbrush when it comes to maintaining oral health. Unfortunately, environmentalists claim that while the dynamic dental care duo helps keep our mouths clean, toothpaste tubes and brushes are usually made of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials that can contribute to land and water pollution.
In an effort to minimize plastic consumption, some people are shifting to eco-friendly tooth-cleaning alternatives, such as toothpaste tablets.
But are toothpaste tablets really better than conventional toothpaste? Are you ready to make the switch? We’ll leave you to decide after reading through this article.
- Understanding toothpaste tablets
Toothpaste tablets like PÄRLA are compact dry tablets – these are placed inside mouth, usually with a swig of water, and chewed up. Doing this causes the tablets to melt and mix with your saliva. The mixture then works just like regular toothpaste.
While toothpaste tablets have a similar formula as traditional toothpaste, they do not contain paraben, which is used to preserve traditional toothpaste, and sodium laurel sulfate that makes the toothpaste foamy. (1)
- Common ingredients for toothpaste tablets
Both toothpaste tablets and traditional ones come with and without fluoride. While their formulations may slightly vary depending on the manufacturer, most contain sodium fluoride, cellulose, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, calcium carbonate, magnesium stearate, citric acid and natural flavors. Because tablets aren’t made without water, they also don’t need preservatives, unlike their traditional counterparts. (3)
- Toothpaste tablet safety
The American Dental Association (ADA) has yet to certify the efficacy of toothpaste tablets, because fluoride use remains unlawful in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean that toothpaste tablets are ineffective for maintaining oral hygiene. (2)
Although using toothpaste tablets is considered safe, it’s still better to err on the side of caution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting the use of fluoride-rich products to reduce the risk of fluorosis and gastrointestinal problems, especially among children younger than 3 years old. (3)
Toothpaste tablets and tubes typically contain preservatives to increase their shelf-life, with most products being good for consumption for up to two years. Some toothpaste tablets may also have the same preservatives and shelf life as regular toothpaste products. However, the tablets’ shelf life could be drastically reduced once the package has been opened and the tablet has been exposed to air and moisture. (3)
- Benefits of using toothpaste tablets
Saving the planet may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this isn’t the only major draw of using them. Apart from helping reduce the risks of developing gum disease and other oral problems, using toothpaste tablets also provide the following benefits to consumers.
- Travel-friendly: A jetsetter will find that it’s more convenient going around with toothpaste tablets not only because they can minimize luggage space and weight but also because they’re handy and are approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
- Made from natural ingredients: As mentioned earlier, toothpaste tablets are free from synthetic preservatives, whitening agents like titanium dioxide, and other potentially harmful ingredients. They also come in multiple flavors that fit your preferences.
- Minimizes fluoride consumption: With regular toothpaste tubes, it’s easy to end up consuming too much fluoride because there’s a chance that you squeeze too much onto your brush. Because toothpaste tablets come in a pre-packed form, you get a consistent amount of fluoride every use. (4)
- Drawbacks of using toothpaste tablets
While it does come with several advantages, using toothpaste tablets also has certain drawbacks that you have to be aware of:
- The taste might take time to get used to: Users have mixed reactions after using toothpaste tablets. Most complaints are centered on the taste, with a few saying it’s too salty, or tastes like cream of tartar. Another challenge is to produce enough saliva to melt the tabs. (4)
- Some don’t have fluoride: While fluoride is guaranteed to make your teeth healthier and stronger, too much of it can be toxic. To stay on the safe side, you have to limit your toothpaste tablets to using non-fluoride options.
- They’re pricier: You can’t put a price tag on your health and the environment. But you may want to know that toothpaste tabs may cost 10 times that of tubes, from USD$3 for a 4.8 ounce toothpaste to USD$ 30 for a four-month supply. (1)
Toothpaste tablets are a convenient, eco-friendly alternative to regular toothpaste, and switching to it requires careful consideration. If you’re keen on making the switch to toothpaste tablets, it’s highly advised that you discuss things with your dentist to make sure your dental health doesn’t get compromised.
- “Should You Trade your Tube for Toothpaste Tablets?”, Source: https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/toothpaste-tablets
- “Everything You Need to Know about Toothpaste Tablets”, Source: https://zero-waste-creative.com/blog-zero-waste-creative/everything-you-need-to-know-about-toothpaste-tablets-nbsp
- “Potential fluoride toxicity from oral medicaments: A review ”, Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5651468/
- “Toothpaste Tablets: How Waterless Toothpaste Is Making Brushing Sustainable ”, Source: https://www.getthegloss.com/article/best-toothpaste-tablets-review-waterless-toothpaste-is-making-teeth-brushing-sustainable