Biodegradable Toothpaste: Your Environmentally Friendly Options

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website.
Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

When picking your favorite toothpaste brand, you may not give much thought to the environmental friendliness of the ingredients in the product. Often, people choose toothpaste with ingredients that suit their needs and preferences. But are they good for the environment?

Many conventional oral care products use ingredients like triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate, which harm the planet. The ingredients never disappear, eventually making their way into waterways, which effects nature. Tom’s of Maine and Dr. Bronner’s are two great environmentally friendly brands.

Besides ensuring your habits don’t damage the environment, you also want to look at other factors, such as taste and the health of your teeth and gums. So toothpaste that satisfies both environmental friendliness and your health is a golden pick.

What Are the Main Ingredients in Toothpaste?

Toothbrush with tooth paste

If you brush twice a day, have you ever paused and wondered which ingredients are contained in the toothpaste? What are those things that make toothpaste effective for cleaning your teeth?

Most toothpaste brands use similar ingredients. As a result, these are some of the common ingredients you will find in nearly all toothpaste options on the market.


This cavity-fighting ingredient in your toothpaste helps strengthen the enamel and prevent tooth decay. Any toothpaste tube with an ADA seal contains fluoride.

You’ll find two types of fluoride in dental products: sodium fluoride and stannous fluoride. Sodium fluoride prevents tooth decay, while stannous fluoride prevents gingivitis, tooth decay, and lowers tooth sensitivity.

Potassium Nitrate 

For people with tooth sensitivity, potassium nitrate is an ingredient that helps to reduce tooth sensitivity. A small study comparing the effects of toothpaste containing potassium nitrate significantly helped decrease sensitivity.

To get results, you should use toothpaste consistently. For example, if you brush twice daily, it could take a couple of weeks to notice any change.

Zinc Citrate

This reduces the accumulation of plaque, a film that covers the teeth and contains bacteria. Plaque absorbs calcium from saliva and turns it into tartar. Using toothpaste with zinc citrate reduces the number of bacteria in the mouth, preventing some common problems associated with tartar buildup.  

Calcium Carbonate

Toothpaste also contains abrasives to clean teeth and get rid of stains. Calcium carbonate is one of the abrasives in most toothpaste brands. You might notice changes in toothpaste with this ingredient in a few days. However, calcium carbonate is mild and can be used in frequent brushing without issues. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Some kinds of toothpaste add hydrogen peroxide because it effectively reduces stains. However, in high concentrations, hydrogen peroxide can damage the enamel. So in toothpaste, the ingredient is added in small amounts to ensure it does not cause damage. 

Are Toothpaste Ingredients Harmful to the Environment?

Toothpaste is made with different ingredients, some of which can harm the environment if disposed of poorly.

Not many ingredients are as impactful to the environment as cellulose gum, which is used as a stabilizer to form the gummy look of toothpaste. Also, substances like Brilliant Blue FCF are another culprit you should worry about.

Brillant Blue FCF

Brilliant CFC is used as a colorant, which adds blue color to toothpaste. This is a common ingredient in Colgate toothpaste and features in some cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. What is known about Brilliant CFC is that it’s harmful to marine life.

It remains in water even when it goes through sewerage systems. So using a small amount of toothpaste will not hurt, but as more people use it, the impact will be too real to ignore.

Helidone Pink

Helidone Pink, another toothpaste ingredient, is toxic to marine life. You can find it in all kinds of toothpaste as a colorant. This poisonous substance can remain in the soil for more than a year before it degrades, which means it’s always there because people constantly add waste to the sewerage system.

Sodium Pyrophosphate

Another example, which could be considered more extreme, is sodium pyrophosphate. The substance contains phosphor, which can build up algae growth in water and sewerage systems.

When algae builds up, it increases CO2 released into water, which creates a dead spot. This means animals in water slowly suffocate and will die, disrupting a natural ecosystem.

Besides, most toothpaste brands come in plastic packaging, which ends in landfills or waterways if disposed of poorly. Plastic is a significant threat to marine life, so there’s a need to embrace biodegradable options for packaging.

Is Toothpaste Compostable?

One of the biggest challenges of managing waste from toothpaste products is that it’s pretty challenging to compost the waste. This is because while you can remove the plastic tubes and other packaging materials, the leftover toothpaste can become a major problem.

Recycling toothpaste is uncommon, as most companies focus on packaging materials like plastic and metal.

Most of the materials used in making toothpaste are natural. This makes most of the ingredients suitable for composting, some even beneficial. In addition, toothpaste is classified as a good processing residual, which means it can work well in composting.

The first challenge in composting is getting the toothpaste from the tubes. When extracted from containers, toothpaste waste is mixed with other waste, resulting in composting.

Is Toothpaste Renewable?

This question depends on the type of toothpaste you’re talking about. Natural toothpaste can be considered a renewable resource, as nature cannot be reinvented.

In addition, natural toothpaste is minimally processed, maintaining ingredient purity. This means the ingredients allowed in natural toothpaste are from a renewable resource you can find in nature, and no petroleum products are added. You’re better off when you stay closer to nature.

Some ingredients in commercial toothpaste make the products non-renewable, and they can cause damage to your health.

Which Brands of Toothpaste are Environmentally Friendly?

Woman holding colorful eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste

To ensure you’re using toothpaste that will not threaten your health and nature, you should focus on the ingredients used in the product. You can find many options on the market, so focus on fluoride-free products.

While fluoride prevents tooth decay, it’s also linked to kidney, brain, and gum toxicity. Here are some of the brands you can find that offer toothpaste that is good for your health and the environment.

Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine toothpaste (on Amazon) is a brand that promise whitening and anti-cavity benefits. In addition, the product has an American Dental Association seal. It offers all the benefits of whitening toothpaste without preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors.

Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste (on Amazon) is a widely available brand that also produces cleaning products and biodegradable soaps. The toothpaste is fluoride-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and comes in recyclable packaging. In addition, most of the ingredients are organic and non-toxic to the environment.

Nature’s Gate

The brand offers a whitening gel free of fluoride, artificial colors, and sweeteners.


This brand makes recyclable toothbrushes and also sells certified organic toothpaste. Their toothpaste is made from coconut oil and chamomile. It’s cruelty-free, natural, and is contained in BPA-free packaging.


While it seems like an easy decision when shopping for toothpaste, you must look beyond your needs and consider a brand that pays attention to environmental friendliness.

You can find toothpaste containing natural ingredients that don’t threaten your health and the environment. Good toothpaste should also be contained in recyclable packaging.

Leave a Comment