Do Travel-Friendly Toothpaste Tablets Really Work?

A host of chewable tabs that promise a brighter, healthier smile have hit the oral care market, but do they work? The AEDITION asks the experts.
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Written by Samantha Stone
11.13.2020
Do Travel-Friendly Toothpaste Tablets Really Work?Ollyy/Shutterstock

We all know we are supposed to brush our teeth at least twice a day, and good oral hygiene is more important than ever with face coverings leading to a rise in ‘mask mouth’ concerns. When it comes to getting the best cleanse, we’ve covered that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones, and there are some exciting natural oral care brands looking to shake up the space. But perhaps one of the most interesting dental innovations as of late is the rise of toothpaste tablets. Chewable tabs that promise a brighter, healthier smile have burst onto the market as a travel-friendly and environmentally conscious alternative to traditional toothpaste tubes. But do they work? The AEDITON asks the experts.

What Are Toothpaste Tablets?

As you may have guessed, toothpaste tablets are chewable versions of conventional toothpaste. Like traditional tubes, they clean the teeth and come in a variety of flavors (think: spearmint, peppermint, and even strawberry).

Instead of being a gel or liquid, the solid tabs often look like a breath mint or piece of gum. When bitten into, they crumble into a powder. To activate into a minty paste, take a small sip of water or use a wet toothbrush. From there, you can brush like you usually would. “I recommend breaking up the tablet completely by chewing,” says Stacy Spizuoco, DDS, a New York City-based cosmetic dentist with Onsite Dental and clinical instructor at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. “You should wet your toothbrush and brush for at least two minutes.”

While it may take a bit of practice to get used to the activation process, it’s a very familiar and effective experience once you do. “It took a few days to get used to chewing my toothpaste, but the end result was a mouth full of foam and clean teeth,” says Alina Lane, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in New York City. “When used with a good electric toothbrush and proper brushing technique, toothpaste tablets can be a comparable substitute for traditional paste.”

It should be noted that if patients have missing teeth or a misaligned bite, they may have difficulty chewing the tablets. For those groups, Dr. Lane recommends sticking with traditional toothpaste.

The Benefits of Toothpaste Tablets

While they have similar efficacy from an oral hygiene perspective, toothpaste tablets differentiate themselves in a few ways:

  1. Less Waste: Over one billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills every year in the United States alone. Toothpaste tablets often come in recyclable glass jars and/or compostable packaging that help eliminate waste. “Tablets are okay as everyday toothpaste. They contain the same ingredients as traditional tube toothpaste,” Dr. Spizuoco says. “The main difference is the elimination of a tube that is not environment friendly and messy.”
  2. Convenience: Because there are no leaky liquids involved, tablets are portable. For everyday on-the-go use, you can store a single-use tablet instead of having to carry a tube with you. For air travel, you don’t need to worry about buying TSA-approved tubes — or another toothpaste explosion.
  3. Clean Alternatives: In keeping with the eco-conscious theme, there are an array of clean varieties in the chewable toothpaste category. Brands check a variety of ‘free of’ boxes (think: cruelty-free, dye-free, preservative-free, sodium lauryl sulfate-, and/or fluoride-free) and often use natural ingredients like sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, menthol, or xylitol.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste Tablet

When choosing a toothpaste tablet, Dr. Lane usually suggests opting for one that contains fluoride. “I generally recommend any toothpaste with fluoride to help with remineralization of the enamel,” she says. “Some patients with no cavities and no-sugar diets may get away with a natural toothpaste without fluoride, but most of the general public will benefit from fluoride.” In terms of ingredients to avoid, Dr. Spizuoco says sodium lauryl sulfate, which is responsible for bubbling and foaming, can be harmful to the gums.

If you’re ready to give a toothpaste tablet a try, below are few that may very well convert you for good:

Bite Toothpaste Bits

AEDIT-Bite Dr. Lane and Dr. Spizuoco are both fans of these all-natural tablets that come in refillable glass jars. Dr. Lane has tried both the Mint Charcoal and Fresh Mint flavors (they also come in Berry) and appreciates the plastic-free design. To take your eco oral care game a step farther, Bite also has mouthwash tablets, plastic-free floss, and bamboo toothbrushes. $12 for 62 tablets, bitetoothpastebits.com

DentTabs Toothpaste Tablets

AEDIT DentTabs Dr. Spizuoco also recommends the DentTabs tablets because they are formulated with fluoride, which can help remove plaque and tartar to prevent tooth decay. They come in plastic-free packaging and offer a two-month supply. The brand also offers eco-friendly toothbrushes and refill bottles. $11 for 125 tabs, amazon.com

Hello Toothpaste Tablets

AEDIT Hello Housed in a tin container that is portable, reusable, and recyclable, the Hello tablets are another plastic-free alternative to traditional toothpaste. Coconut oil, fresh mint, and activated charcoal combine to remove surface stains, brush away plaque, and freshen the breath. $9 for 60 tablets, ulta.com

The Takeaway

If you’ve been brushing your teeth with traditional toothpaste all of your life, toothpaste tablets may take a bit of getting used to. But, once you adjust, dentists agree that they are a great alternative to regular pastes. The tooth tabs are convenient, efficacious, and good for the environment — definitely something to smile about.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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SAMANTHA STONEis a freelance writer for AEDIT.

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