Whether you prefer toothpastes that foam up, provide a cooling gel or have a wake-me-up hit of cinnamon and clove, there are alternative brands out there offering something to help you clean your teeth with as many naturally occurring ingredients as possible. Of course, not all “natural toothpastes” are created equal. We’ve picked out six brands that are rethinking what we put in our mouths every day, ranging from supermarket finds from $4.20 up to fancy French apothecary ones that taste of apples.
Founder Tash Scutts used to work as a buyer for fashion brand Bassike, so it makes sense her toothpaste is stylish. Both the tube and the cardboard cylinder packaging feature a palm print by Australian artist Bruce Goold. “In our bathrooms we have beautiful towels, candles, face creams, then an ugly tube of chemical-laden toothpaste that we keep in a drawer,” says Scutts. “We wanted to elevate the oral routine and make it beautiful.”
Lovebyt’s products are made in Sydney. They don’t contain fluoride (a chemical compound known to protect teeth from decay), artificial sweeteners or parabens, detergents or sulfates. Instead, the toothpaste contains charcoal powder to help remove stains caused by red wine, coffee or cigarettes; essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint for their antibacterial properties; and cinnamon, clove, calendula and chamomile soothe gums and reduce sensitivity. Choose from classic peppermint, cinnamon and clove, or charcoal and mint ($19.95).
A trip to Morocco inspired founder Laurent Lorcy to create toothpaste brand Archie. “I found myself hypnotised by the incredible tastes and scents in the markets of Marrakesh, and you can’t beat a real Moroccan mint tea,” says Lorcy, a French-Australian architect by trade. “My partner and I always knew we wanted to create a brand of our own so we decided to make the tooth-brushing experience truly sensorial.”
Archie comes in nine flavours, from wild liquorice and watermelon crush to lemonade storm ($14.80). The “toothgel” comes in a glass bottle with pumps designed to dispense just the right amount. It’s made with locally sourced ingredients, including glyceryl caprylate – produced from vegetable oils – to boost antibacterial performance, and hydrated silica, which acts as a mild abrasive to gently clean teeth.
L’Officine Universelle Buly 1803
This toothpaste is not cheap. At $36, it’s the most expensive on this list, but for that you get a flavour akin to a green juice, and the smugness that comes with telling overnight guests your toothpaste is from a French apothecary dating back to the 1800s. The range of fluoride-free toothpastes are blended with thermal water from Castéra-Verduzan, a spa town in south France, and come in flavours such as apple; orange, ginger and clove; and mint, coriander and cucumber.
The metal tube is decorated with a coiled snake, and the brand produces candles, hand cream, fragrances and body oil. But co-founder Victoire de Taillac-Touhami says toothpaste was the hardest thing to get right. “When we decided to create our own toothpaste, it took us nearly two years to find a small company ready to work on our project,” he says. “Most toothpaste is produced in huge quantities – tonnes and tonnes – and most brands will only add their own aroma to an existing formula.”
Grants of Australia
Grants of Australia sells its toothpaste from $4.20. You can choose fluoride or fluoride-free toothpastes in flavours such as spearmint, peppermint, cinnamon, or fragrance-free. There are also blueberry and strawberry flavours designed for children. Founders Michael and Michelle Aronson launched the brand in 1984 when they couldn’t find a family-friendly toothpaste that was free from sulfates, parabens and preservatives. Today you’ll find Grants in health food stores and supermarkets.
Available at Mecca, 101 Lifestyle’s toothpaste ($20) comes in chic, minimalist black tube packaging inspired by one of its key ingredients. “When we were researching what ingredients were good for oral health, charcoal kept coming up, which was great for us because we wanted the brand to be black and white,” says co-founder Lisa Teh, who created 101 Lifestyle with her husband Saul Klimas in 2018. The range includes mouthwash and toothbrushes.
Other ingredients include cinnamon, used for its anti-inflammatory properties, and spearmint oil for freshness. “There’s been a shift to more natural products in the beauty industry as a whole, so while oral hygiene isn’t the sexiest of categories we are definitely seeing people become more conscious about what they put in, as well as on, their body,” says Teh.
Coming in a tablet form, Gem’s fresh take on toothpaste really stands out. Its Sustainable Toothpaste Bites ($15) are made from spearmint and peppermint oils and xylitol, and each tub of 60 tablets is handy for travelling or keeping at the office. You place a single tablet in your mouth, bite, then brush away. Founder Georgia Geminder says, “I tried all these non-toxic toothpaste alternatives [but] none of them foamed up, they didn’t have that minty-fresh feeling I craved.”
An issue Geminder faced when creating the original toothpaste was finding effective replacements for ingredients such as fluoride, which is proven to counteract decay. The solution she chose was hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral. “The problem with a lot of natural toothpastes is they take fluoride out but they don’t replace it with anything effective,” she says. “I knew I wanted to create something natural and non-toxic, but I also knew if I took out these ingredients, I had to replace them with [something] functional.”