Scanning labels to make sure a product is vegan can be difficult—especially considering many companies sneak animal-sourced ingredients into products under names you might not even recognize. But taking the time to go through those lists is more than worth it. Knowing exactly what’s in the products you’re using not only ensures you’re keeping your body happy and healthy—it also betters the lives of animals. And what better place to start than with your toothpaste?
The next time you’re shopping for toothpaste, make sure the kind you’re taking home doesn’t contain any of these four common animal-sourced ingredients.
4 Non-Vegan Ingredients Commonly Found in Toothpaste
Glycerin—also known as glycerol—is in many products. What you might not realize, though, is that it can be sourced from vegetable oil or animal fat. That’s why if the company doesn’t disclose which one it is, it’s probably best to avoid it altogether.
2. Bee Pollen
Not to be confused with honey—which is regurgitated flower nectar—bee pollen is made up of “pollen grains mixed with nectar or honey and digestive enzymes secreted by worker bees,” says Pollen Natural Energy. It’s commonly used in shampoos, deodorants, and—you guessed it!—toothpastes.
If you’ve never heard of propolis, you’re not alone. The tree sap is used by bees in order to seal their beehives, and because it’s typically taken from the beehives, it’s not vegan-friendly.
4. Bone Meal
Yep, even bone meal—which is made from dried animal bones that have been crushed or ground into a fine powder—has somehow found its way into toothpaste. It’s often labeled as “calcium phosphate” and is used as an abrasive to help remove plaque and stains on your teeth. There are also vegan versions under the same name, so just be sure the kind you’re using isn’t derived from animals.
The Best Vegan and Cruelty-Free Toothpastes for Sparkling Clean Teeth
While many varieties of toothpaste aren’t vegan-friendly, there are a handful of great options that will help keep your oral hygiene in check. Here are five of the best vegan toothpastes on Amazon to add to your shopping cart.
This is my go-to toothpaste, and here’s why it should be yours too. It whitens your teeth and keeps your breath fresh, all while being free of peroxide, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, microbeads, triclosan, gluten, and dyes. The brand is also a Peta-certified vegan and cruelty-free brand. Also cool? The mint that’s used in it is grown by farmers in Oregon.
This tube of vegan toothpaste is just as pretty as it is effective. Stored in a 100% recyclable bottle, it uses ginger and turmeric essential oils that can help with inflammation, and effectively removes plaque and prevents cavities while being super gentle on your gums. It’s also SLS-free, triclosan-free, and fluoride-free.
Tom’s of Maine is all for bettering the environment, and this whitening and fluoride-free toothpaste is great for your teeth, the planet, and the animals. It only uses naturally-sourced ingredients, letting you keep your pearly whites clean without the help of any harmful chemicals.
Using natural, vegan, and effective ingredients, this toothpaste is safe for the entire family. Another huge plus? It lacks GMOs, gluten, glycerin, thickening agents, foaming agents, parabens, sodium sulfates, and fluoride, as well as artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives.
This vegan and totally natural toothpaste contains Himalayan pink salt to help kill bacteria in your mouth and fight off bad breath. It’s also anti-inflammatory, has a fresh mint flavor, is gentle on sensitive teeth, and is free of parabens, CMIT, MIT, PEG, triclosan, mineral oils, tar coloring, and sodium benzoate.
You can count on JASON to only use natural botanicals like parsley, spearmint, and blue green algae to clean your teeth and freshen up your breath. This natural and organic product is free of flouride, SLS, propylene glycerol, parabens, gluten, and harsh chemicals.