Toothpaste is among the many household products you use every day that you might have not considered when adapting to a vegan lifestyle. Though toothpaste of course doesn’t contain meat, the majority of brands either use ingredients derived from animals or were tested on animals. That said, many vegan alternatives are available.
Most toothpastes aren’t vegan or vegetarian because they use ingredients derived from/tested on animals. It takes research and careful examination of product labels to ensure that toothpaste is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. However, several brands offer vegan toothpaste that can meet your needs.
So, what are your options if you’re vegan and want to preserve your oral hygiene? It’s important to be aware of a company’s practices and priorities when shopping. Luckily, there are brands committed to using natural ingredients with a focus on being vegan-friendly.
Do Brands Make Vegetarian Toothpaste?
All the toothpaste brands out there are vegetarian because they don’t have meat in their products. However, most of them use animal products, which means they’re not all vegan.
There are two main reasons toothpaste is usually not vegan: because it contains animal products and because it was tested on animals. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the ways toothpaste is rendered non-vegan.
Knowing if the toothpaste contains ingredients derived from animals can be tricky. Often, when you look at the product label, it feels like you’re reading the supplies for a chemistry experiment. Most of the ingredients are not immediately recognizable because of the jargon — the average person isn’t familiar with disodium pyrophosphate or sodium saccharin.
Technically, most of these components are not vegan. In addition, you’ll find vague ingredients, like “flavor” and “aroma”, which don’t specify the nature of the ingredient that adds the taste or smell to the product. This makes it impossible to determine if these listings are derived from animals just by looking at the label.
This is a resinous substance made by bees. It’s a mixture of bee saliva and wax, and it’s sometimes added to toothpaste for its properties that can help improve oral health. However, like honey, propolis is not vegan.
Some dyes contained in toothpaste are derived from animals. For example, red dye is commonly sourced from cochineal insects.
Trying to find information on whether toothpaste was tested on animals is not easy. Most companies are reluctant to share this information, even when you approach them and ask politely. They fear negative publicity. Besides, most toothpaste manufacturers make other products, which are tested on animals.
How to Find Vegan Toothpaste
It may not seem like it, but the truth is that most toothpaste isn’t vegan because it contains animal-derived ingredients and was tested on animals.
Toothpaste typically contains ingredients like abrasives, detergents, coloring agents, anti-decay agents, and flavoring. Some of these ingredients are derived from animals, making them not suitable for vegan consumers. Always read the ingredients to know what’s contained in the product.
When you’re out shopping, read labels carefully and watch out for some of the most common animal-sourced ingredients, including:
- Glycerin: Also called glycerol, glycerine is found in many more products than you might realize. What is less known is that it’s sourced from animal fat or vegetable oil. If a company doesn’t disclose the source of the glycerin, or if you cannot find this information through your research, it’s probably advisable to avoid the toothpaste altogether.
- Bee Pollen: Often confused with honey (which is flower nectar), bee pollen is a mixture of nectar, bee saliva, and plant pollen. You’ll usually find it in deodorants, shampoo, and some toothpastes. When looking for vegan toothpaste, you should ensure it doesn’t use bee pollen. A good way to avoid such a product is to opt for toothpaste made with natural ingredients.
Sadly, including ingredients derived from animals is not where manufacturers stop. Most of them also use animals when testing their products. This cruel exercise renders the toothpaste non-vegan.
In general, most popular toothpaste brands you grew up using cannot pass the test for vegan certification.
Best Brands of Vegan Toothpaste
Thankfully, with a bit of research, you can easily find alternatives to toothpaste that uses animal products. Some smaller brands target the vegan market with specialized products made by hand. And as the number of people opting for vegan and cruelty-free products grows, larger companies are also developing vegan options.
Here are a few vegan toothpaste brands you can try:
This natural toothpaste (on Amazon) doesn’t contain artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives, or added sweeteners. The United Kingdom-based Oral Health Foundation lists mint and aloe vera Kingfisher toothpaste in its “approved products” catalogue.
Colgate offers a toothpaste called Colgate Zero (on Amazon) that is vegan and cruelty-free.
Ben & Anna Toothpaste
Explore something different with this toothpaste delivered in a jar. You can find Ben & Anna toothpaste with and without fluoride. It’s vegan and, like the rest of their products, has never been tested on animals.
Green People Toothpaste
Green People is an organic consumer and skincare products producer with a range of toothpastes that are cruelty-free and vegan (on Amazon). They offer flavors like Citrus and Aloe Vera, Minty Cool, Peppermint and Aloe Vera, and children’s varieties.
Toothpaste typically doesn’t come with animal-derived ingredients obviously displayed on the label. Chances are they contain animal products if the toothpaste is not explicitly marketed as vegan.
Before you buy toothpaste, check the ingredients carefully to ensure you’re getting a product that is suitable for your health and also conforms to the vegan-friendliness checklist.