Why You Should Consider Making the Switch to Sustainable Toothpaste Tablets
One easy way to make a positive impact on the environment? Swap out your conventional toothpaste for toothpaste tablets. Unlike paste that comes in a tube, these tablets are dissolvable and held in eco-friendly glass jars. "Toothpaste is an everyday essential for most people, and until recently, toothpaste was associated with a single-use plastic tube," says Dana DiPonio, founder of Nelson Naturals, which makes Crush & Brush toothpaste tablets ($13.13, amazon.com). "Over the course of your lifetime, the average person will use anywhere from 200 to 500 tubes of toothpaste. When you multiply that by the population of a country—well, you see where we are going here."
These tabs are actually pretty convenient and just as easy (if not easier) to use than regular toothpaste. Pop one in your mouth, crush it with your teeth, and then brush as usual. You'll feel a little fizzing and foaming. They're also beneficial to use if you're traveling: You can keep some in your car, purse, or carry-on luggage and freshen up on the go, since they don't require a toothbrush or water. (That means you're not only reducing your plastic use, but you're saving water when you use them, too.
The fact that you can use them easily throughout the day also makes them helpful for keeping your mouth at a healthy, alkaline state, DiPonio says. "Throughout the course of the day, your mouth naturally goes through states of remineralization and demineralization," she explains. "In order for the natural remineralization to take place, your mouth must be in an alkaline state, not an acidic state. Sipping on coffee and tea, and snacking on sugary food all day pretty much ensures that our mouths are always in an acidic state." It can take hours, she continues, for the body to naturally balance itself out, but toothpaste tablets can quickly reboot it. DiPonio recommends just crushing a tablet in your mouth and swishing for 10 to 15 seconds for a quick alkalizing after a meal or coffee.
Toothpaste tablets also may contain healthier ingredients than conventional paste—and are often natural alternatives to traditional, chemical-packed paste. Crush & Brush, for example, is free of known endocrine (or hormonal) disruptors like sodium lauryl sulfate and triclosan. "Conventional toothpastes, and even other natural toothpastes typically containing foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate, are known to have strong irritants that can cause health issues such as contact dermatitis," DiPonio says. "Preservatives and stabilizers are also very common in mainstream brands, and they're often not as harmful, but some studies suggest that glycerin can inhibit your natural remineralization process." (Conversely, activated charcoal, organic spearmint, and peppermint are some of the main ingredients in Crush & Brush.) Still not convinced to make the switch? DiPonio puts it this way: "It's very easy to make a few small but critical changes in your everyday routine that will help lessen your environmental footprint."