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If you haven’t jumped on the toothpaste tablet bandwagon, here’s why you should make the switch. “Tablets are a better alternative to traditional toothpaste in terms of sustainability,” says Dr. Lawrence Fung, cosmetic dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental. They’re typically housed in recyclable or reusable packaging, which makes them better for the environment, especially when you factor in that an estimated 400 million toothpaste tubes are thrown away each year in the U.S. alone. “Because they’re formulated without water, they’re easier to transport as well, meaning the overall carbon footprint is lower,” adds Fung.
Besides the obvious win for the earth, the only other distinction between tablets and toothpaste is the texture. “If used correctly, both products can be beneficial,” says Dr. Joshua Perlman, DMD of NYC Smile Spa. “What makes toothpaste tablets different is that the product needs to be chewed, broken down, then brushed with water.”
Both dentists agree that the tablets are ideal to travel with, given they are TSA-friendly, and are much easier to tote around—whether to work, on a trip, or just as a quick refresher on-the-go.
Here, the best toothpaste tablets for a cleaner mouth.
Best Overall: Bite Fresh Mint Toothpaste Bits
Mouth- and vegan-friendly ingredients like coconut oil and xylitol pull out odors and repel bacteria that can cause cavities. Tablets are shipped in glass bottles with 62 tablets (a full month's worth if you brush twice a day, give or take the specific month) and you can reuse the container however you please once you're done. No plastic to be seen here—only healthy teeth and a cleaner planet.
Best Budget: Archtek Toothpaste Tablet
One container contains 60 tablets for an affordable price that'll appeal to shoppers on a budget. In addition to the refreshing cool mint flavor, the tablets help clean teeth thanks to natural cranberry extract (said to reduce plaque) and xylitol, which reduces cavities.
They're also great for jet-setters; travel confidently knowing these tablets will breeze right through security. Backpackers around the world rave that this product is ideal to take on long trips. They also report that they do a great job of keeping their mouths feeling fresh.
Best Charcoal: hello Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste Tablets
Activated charcoal, peppermint, and tea tree oil band together to prevent and treat plaque, control tartar, fresh breath, and whiten teeth. That’s what we call a quadruple win.
Best Whitening: Chewtab Gentle Whitening Toothpaste Tablets
Chomp your way to whiter teeth. These tablets feature baking soda—a tried-and-true classic—which not only removes surface stains from the teeth but also whitens that surface and strengthens tooth enamel. One user raves that it whitened their teeth almost immediately—effectively eliminating coffee stains.
Best Natural: Unpaste Zero Waste Toothpaste Tablets
With no preservatives, animal-derived ingredients, dyes, or fluoride, these tablets are as natural as they can get. The tablets are also soft, which makes it easy to crush and create a paste. Ready to go 100% eco-warrior? Pair these with a 100% bamboo toothbrush.
Best With Fluoride: Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets
There’s a reason topical fluoride is included in tooth care formulas—it strengthens the tooth to prevent tooth decay and cavities. You’ll also be happy to know that the fluoride in these tablets is BDIH certified, sustainable, and ecological. Plus, the ingredient repels discolorations from drinks like coffee and red wine (so drink up!).
Best Flavor: Life Without Plastic Plastic-Free Mint Tooth Tabs
The mint flavor feels cooling and refreshing on the tongue—which is reminiscent of traditional toothpaste, just without the plastic packaging and mess. (If you've ever tried to squeeze toothpaste onto your toothbrush and missed, leaving spots in your sink, you know what we mean.) Just crush with your teeth, brush with a wet toothbrush, and you’re good to go.
Best Mouthwash: Georganics Mouthwash Tablets
There are toothpaste tablets, yes, but there are also mouthwash tablets like this one with sodium bicarbonate, menthol, and a refreshing spearmint flavor. All it takes for fresh breath is one teeny tablet. Dissolve a tablet into a small amount of water—a shot’s worth is enough—then gargle and spit. That’s it! You’ll also love that it's made without fluoride, SLS, and glycerin, meaning this can be enjoyed by the whole family.
What to Look For in Toothpaste Tablets
Clean, Non-Irritating Ingredients
When choosing between toothpaste tablets, Dr. Fung says to opt for products that use cleaner, non-irritating ingredients. “Look for ones with natural sugars like xylitol and sorbitol that have been shown to reduce cavity-causing bacteria, an abrasive ingredient that polishes the gunk off of your teeth like hydrated silica, and something hydrating like coconut oil,” he says. “More importantly, I skip toothpaste tablets that have SLS or other sulfates in them. SLS has been linked to an increase in mouth ulcers, as it’s irritating and drying, and that’s pretty annoying. I also want to make sure that the tablets are safe if accidentally swallowed.”
With that in mind, he also says to look into what kind of preservatives are being used in the formula. “Are they natural or artificial? Preservative systems are very important for all products to reduce the growth of any microbes like bacteria and mold that can make you sick,” he says. “But, we know preservatives like triclosan and parabens aren’t good in topical products, so why would we put them in our mouth?”
No Harsh Abrasives
As Dr. Fung points out above, a toothpaste tablet needs to contain some type of abrasive ingredient in order to physically clean your teeth. However, he urges against using anything that’s too abrasive. “When a toothpaste tablet is too harsh, it can lead to gum recession, sensitivity, cavities, and thinning enamel,” he says.
“Dosage is very important for toothpaste tablets, as you want one that makes sense,” says Dr. Fung. “If it’s too large, it creates more waste than necessary, but if it’s too small, then you’ll have to double up on the tablets to brush your mouth effectively, and that’s not very efficient.” Finding a product with the right dosage that makes sense for you will not only make brushing much less of a pain, but will end up being more cost-effective in the long run.