Activated charcoal plastic-free toothpaste in a glass jar placed next to an eco-friendly wood toothbrush on a Monstera leaf, all placed on top of a light-colored wood table.

Why Should You Consider Plastic-Free Toothpaste?

May 23, 2023

Eliminating unnecessary plastic in your life can have tremendous benefits for you, your family, and the environment. Since you’re reading this article, you may be familiar with “plastic-free toothpaste” or “non-plastic toothpaste.” Read on to learn about the benefits of using plastic free toothpaste and a recommendation for one of the best plastic free toothpaste.

Almost unheard of a decade ago, plastic free toothpaste—also referred to as no plastic toothpaste, or non plastic toothpaste—is becoming mainstream! It’s never been easier to find plastic-free toothpaste products for sale. In fact, plastic-free toothpaste is now sold in powder, paste, and biteable tablet form. In addition, you can also make your own plastic-free toothpaste fairly easily, which allows you to have 100% knowledge and control over the ingredients you’re ingesting. You may even save money too! 

Regardless of whether you choose the DIY approach or not, there are still various benefits from choosing plastic-free toothpaste. Here are four.

1. Reduce Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Mass-market toothpaste has traditionally contained too many toxic ingredients—including fluoride, triclosan, saccharin and preservatives like sodium lauryl sulfate. While plastic-free toothpaste with fluoride is available, there is much debate about the health risks from water fluoridation and general fluoride use. With my family history, however, I choose fluoride toothpaste for my family. But, when my kids were first learning how to brush their teeth (and ingesting lots of toothpaste), I chose fluoride-free toothpaste for them. And there has never been more fluoride-free toothpaste options!

To address many fluoride toothpaste concerns, a growing number of mass-market no-plastic toothpastes use natural ingredients like coconut oil, activated charcoal, baking soda, and food-grade essential oils that have antibacterial and/or antimicrobial properties. Talk to your dentist about whether this would be a good option for you.

2. Reduce Microplastics Exposure & BPA Exposure

Too many toothpaste products are not only packaged in plastic but they also contain plastic ingredients like microbeads, or microplastics! 

Historically, the FDA has allowed a certain amount of microplastics in toothpaste. Since they reportedly help clean given their abrasive and exfoliating properties, many toothpaste brands  include plastic microbeads

Microbeads in toothpaste pose health risks because microplastics can release toxic chemicals, get stuck in your gums, and bypass water treatments systems and thereby pollute our drinking water and food web. Given how long it takes for plastics to biodegrade, some of these microplastics accumulate in our bodies, wildlife, and contribute to ocean pollution, which contaminates our seafood. 

These microplastic ingredients and plastic toothpaste packaging have often traditionally contained BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor. Beware of BPA-free products, however, since BPA substitutes are too often not safer.

Furthermore, toothpaste tubes can’t be recycled easily. Most toothpaste in a tube is made of multi-layer plastic that doesn’t easily biodegrade. For this reason, and because toothpaste sticks and clings to the inside of the tube, toothpaste tubes are too often not recyclable.

3. Save Money With DIY No-Plastic Toothpaste

The best plastic-free toothpaste is arguably that which you make at home, giving you full control over what ingredients you use and where you source them from. 

Making your own DIY no-plastic toothpaste with a recipe like this one is one of the most environmentally friendly solutions. You not only eliminate plastic packaging, but you also make use of household ingredients you may already have on hand like coconut oil, sea salt, essential oils, and baking soda. This will probably save you money, too!  

If DIY no-plastic toothpaste interests you, confirm with your dentist that this approach is okay for your dental health.

4. Decrease Your Environmental Footprint

You know the phrase, “What goes around comes around?” Decreasing your environmental footprint works like that too. 

It’s no secret that toothpaste tubes are wasteful. Even “traditional” toothpaste companies recognize this. According to Colgate-Palmolive, up to 20 billion toothpaste tubes a year get thrown out

By purchasing or making your own plastic-free toothpaste, you can not only benefit yourself greatly, but also help to decrease your carbon footprint and overall environmental pollution. 

Learn More

In addition to the above benefits of choosing plastic-free toothpaste, there may be additional perks of choosing plastic-free toothpaste with  certain natural ingredients since the oral cavity is directly linked to the microbiome

To learn how I balance the conflicting evidence and expert opinions on fluoride, I share my toothpaste selections for my family in Ruan Living’s D-Tox Academy’s Pillar 5 Self-Care Detox. A one-page “cheat sheet” on practical nontoxic toothpaste products is also included in the D-Tox Academy Pillar 5 Diet Detox Shopping Guide.

If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to explore all Ruan Living Offerings, which can help you learn not just how to safeguard yourself from toothpaste with toxic chemicals, but also how to reduce your toxic exposure in various other areas of your life.

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About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


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