Can Toothpaste Be Vegan?

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

Veganism is spreading, with many people making an ethically or environmentally inspired shift towards consuming products that aren’t animal-derived or tested on animals. But veganism doesn’t only call for change in the food we eat or clothes we wear. It also warrants change in the dental care products we use. So, can toothpaste be vegan?

Toothpaste is regarded as vegan as long as it doesn’t contain any ingredients obtained from animals and it wasn’t tested on animals. Some animal-based ingredients to watch out for include propolis, cochineal, glycerin (in some cases), and certain flavorings and dyes.

Let’s dive into the details and take a look at some benefits of vegan toothpaste. We’ll also share some of the best vegan toothpaste options on the market.

What Does Vegan Mean?

Close-up on toothpaste

A vegan is someone who practices a way of living that seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purposes. A veganism philosophy also promotes the development and consumption of animal-free alternatives for the well-being of animals, humans, and the environment.

In dietary terms, a vegan fends off all products derived partly or wholly from animals. There are many ways to embrace a vegan lifestyle.

The most common ways exercised by all vegans include adhering to a plant-based diet, avoiding all animal foods like meat, eggs, dairy, and honey, as well as using cruelty-free products (animal-derived substances or products tested on animals and places that use animals for entertainment).

Can Toothpaste Be Vegan?

While some toothpaste brands are vegan, a majority of them are not. The most obvious way a toothpaste can be deemed vegan is if it doesn’t contain ingredients derived from animals. However, this doesn’t mean that a toothpaste without animal-derived ingredients is always considered vegan.

Many vegans avoid products known to have been tested on animals, regardless of whether or not they contain any animal-based ingredients. Let’s look at some animal ingredients to watch out for in toothpaste. They include:


Glycerin, also listed as glycerol, is a viscous liquid added to toothpaste to keep it moist. It can be produced from either plant or animal sources.

It’s often tricky to tell whether glycerin has been obtained from plants or animals unless the product is labeled as vegan. If not, it would be best to ask the manufacturer just to be sure. 


This sticky substance is made by bees when they mix their saliva with their wax. It’s added to toothpaste as a natural alternative to honey. Just like honey, it’s also non-vegan.


The sources of flavorings can be vague, with some toothpaste brands claiming to use natural flavorings, among other ingredients. There’s no real way of knowing whether or not such flavorings are from animals unless you confirm with the manufacturer.


Some colors used in food and sometimes toothpaste are obtained from animals. Cochineal, for example, comes from the insect Dactylopius coccus. It’s a scale insect from which the bright-red dye, carmine, is derived.

Benefits of Vegan Toothpaste

Here are some of the advantages of vegan toothpaste for our oral care and the world at large:

It Avoids Toxic Chemicals

Most vegan toothpastes avoid toxic ingredients like triclosan, parabens, and saccharin — preservatives added to increase shelf life but which have no benefits to your teeth or general health. 

Instead of the harsh toxic substances used by many large companies, vegan toothpaste manufacturers use natural and cruelty-free ingredients such as soda bicarbonate for a whitening effect and tree oil for a refreshing smell.

It Prevents Cavities

Vegan toothpaste is just as effective as regular toothpaste and can protect against cavities. This, however, isn’t because of the vegan aspect of the toothpaste. Anti-cavity protection comes from active ingredients like fluoride, which protects the enamel and strengthens your teeth.

It Freshens Breath

Several vegan toothpaste brands contain mint flavorings or other breath-freshening ingredients like stevia. Remember, the toothpaste doesn’t freshen your breath because it’s vegan. It’s only due to the other ingredients.

It’s Eco-friendly

Vegan toothpaste is an excellent option if you’re thinking of going for a healthy and eco-friendly toothpaste since they are relatively cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.

In fact, many vegan toothpaste brands are now accompanied by eco-friendly kits that include bamboo toothbrushes. Everything in the kit is naturally made; even the shopping bag that the kit comes in.

Are Toothbrushes Vegan?

Top view on natural bamboo toothbrushes

Toothbrushes are vegan, but there are some clashing opinions on whether or not toothbrushes are tested on animals. If you’re interested in sustainability in addition to vegan and cruelty-free living, it will help to know that toothbrushes aren’t exactly eco-friendly either.

A certified cruelty-free bamboo toothbrush (on Amazon) could be the best fit for you. Or, if you’re more into electric toothbrushes, you can try out this cruelty-free electric toothbrush (on Amazon).

There are plenty of cruelty-free and vegan toothpaste options that go well with your new cruetly-free toothbrush. They include the following:

Leave a Comment