3 January 2018

Glycerin Free Toothpaste (ft. Earthpaste, My Magic Mud, Uncle Harry's, Miessence + Coral White)

This past December marks five years since I first switched to glycerin free toothpaste, so it seems timely to share my experiences with several different glycerin free options today.  There’s a lot of information out there about the negative effects of glycerin in toothpaste and other oral care products, and while I've realized that concrete evidence is questionable – and can mainly be traced back to a single book on the subject ­­– I still choose to avoid glycerin in my oral care products.  The theory is that glycerin creates a film or coating on the teeth that prevents them from remineralizing, thereby leaving them weaker and more susceptible to decay.  Proven or not, anecdotally I can tell you that I was dealing with a lot of cavities shortly before making the switch to glycerin free products, and when I eliminated glycerin, the majority of those issues stopped almost immediately. 

There aren’t a ton of glycerin free toothpastes on the market right now, but there are a lot more to choose from than when I first started looking 5+ years ago!  Since glycerin is a large component of what gives toothpaste its usual texture, most of these have quite a different mouth feel to conventional products.  They're also, for the most part, not white, and they don't lather.  Keep reading for all the details…


To me, Earthpaste will always be the original, OG glycerin-free toothpaste.  (I first reviewed it way back in 2013!)  I used exclusively Earthpaste for at least three years, so I’ve gone through countless tubes and tried every flavour except the newest charcoal one.  Made by Redmond, the same people who make Redmond Clay and Real Salt, Earthpaste is made with just six to eight (depending on the flavour) basic ingredients: purified water, food grade redmond clay, xylitol, Redmond real salt, and essential oils.  Earthpaste is brown, looks like clay, and it doesn’t lather at all, but it does do a good job cleaning the teeth and, at least with the minty flavours, leaves my mouth feeling fresh.  The consistency is a little thin once you start brushing, so I find you need to use a little more paste than you would with a more standard toothpaste.  My two favorite flavours are the Wintergreen and Unsweetened Spearmint, which are the two mintiest.  I’m not a big fan of the Lemon as I found it didn’t leave my mouth feeling fresh enough. 

Another one with minimal ingredients, Miessence’s toothpaste is made with just aloe vera juice, baking soda, sea salt, stevia, non-GMO xanthum gum and essential oils.  It’s white and, despite containing no lathering agents, it seems to foam up a tiny bit as you brush.  It's ultra minty, so if you’ve ever complained that natural toothpastes aren’t minty enough, this is the one for you – it’s super fresh and the mint taste is strong -- to the point that I catch a big whiff of spearmint every time I open my bathroom cabinet!  (If mint isn’t your thing, there are a couple other flavour options too.)  I found this toothpaste tasted very salty at first, but after a couple weeks, I got used to the taste and stopped noticing any saltiness.  The main downside to Miessence is that you need to order it online and directly from the company.  

Deodorant in a pot doesn’t make me blink anymore, but toothpaste in a jar did take some getting used to!  According to Uncle Harry’s you’re safe to dip your brush right in the jar, but I don’t like the chance of introducing water, so I prefer to scoop out a small amount with a separate utensil instead.  Similar to Earthpaste, the Uncle Harry’s toothpaste is clay-based and contains no lathering agents.  Instead of regular water, however, the formula uses colloidal silver water, which offers extra antibacterial benefits, and ionic minerals to nourish the teeth. 

In terms of taste, Uncle Harry’s is quite potent.  In addition to the spearmint, the paste also includes peppermint, eucalyptus, clove, wintergreen, and oregano and the hotter essential oils are definitely noticeable.  I can only brush with a tiny amount of toothpaste or else it burns my tongue.  Similarly, I do my best to keep the paste from touching my lips as it has a tendency to burn there too.  The toothpaste performs well in terms of how it leaves the teeth, but because of the extra caution needed to avoid burning/discomfort, I do sometimes find it a bit of a chore to use. 

I’ve also been using Uncle Harry’s Liquid Remineralization for Tooth Enamel, a rinse made from ionic minerals, sea salt, and essential oils, which I feel offers the benefits and good parts of the toothpaste, minus any downsides.  The liquid is supposed to be swished around the mouth for five minutes after brushing and is intended to protect tooth enamel by neutralizing acids and bacteria in the mouth, supplying calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous for strong teeth, and promoting an alkaline pH in the mouth.  The process reminds me of oil pulling, though obviously not with an oil, but I find it both more pleasant and satisfying than dealing with an oil.  The rinse tastes strong and a little salty, but I don't experience any of the burning I get from the toothpaste.  I can’t speak to definite results here, but I’m sold on the ingredients and the rinse leaves my mouth feeling nice and clean.    


My Magic Mud is a whitening toothpaste made with coconut oil, bentonite clay, diatomaceous earth, and activated charcoal and I like it a lot.  I’ve used powdered activated charcoal for tooth whitening before, but I’ve never been diligent enough to notice much in the way of results.  Adding the charcoal into toothpaste makes it super easy to use and I do think it’s had a slight whitening effect on my teeth. 

I’ve only used the Peppermint flavour so far – although I’ve got Spearmint and Wintergreen waiting in the wings – and it’s very nice and minty.  The paste is black, as you might expect from the activated charcoal, and, as such, it takes a little more thought and effort than lighter colored toothpastes, so it's one I typically only use at night.  If you drip any on your clothes, it will leave a grey mark.  It also takes a little extra effort to clear your mouth (and sink!) of any and all black residue.   

Beyond the messiness, my only complaint is that My Magic Mud has an unfortunate tendency to separate in the tube.  With my first tube, I’d periodically get a squirt of clear liquid before the paste, and cracking into my second one just today, I needed to shake it A TON to remix everything together. 

In terms of texture/consistency, Coral White reminds me the most of conventional toothpaste.  It’s beige and pasty and, since it's the only one of the five with a lathering agent (sodium cocoyl glutamate), it definitely foams up the most.   Like the Uncle Harry’s, Coral White’s approach is based on the idea of neutralizing acidity in the mouth, feeding calcium and minerals to the teeth, and restoring a more alkaline pH.  The formula claims to whiten teeth and includes coral calcium, rich in ionic coral minerals, as well as hydrogen peroxide, goldenseal, ginkgo biloba, echinacea, and ginseng for overall mouth health. 

I like how the Coral White performs, but I wish it had a stronger mint flavour.  The taste is very sweet and, as you've probably figured out by now, I typically prefer something a little fresher.  It would probably be great for kids or anyone preferring a milder mint flavour.  I'm about halfway through the tube now and I'm also not convinced the Coral White has had any whitening effect on my teeth.

The Bottom Line
It’s great to see glycerin-free toothpaste options becoming more widely available!  None of these are bad -- I think all five are decent options for anyone wanting to forgo glycerin -- but my two favorites at the moment are the Miessence and My Magic Mud.  They’re the two mintiest and also the ones with the best texture/consistency in my opinion.  I’ll always have a soft spot for Earthpaste too, which I largely credit with turning my mouth health around all those years ago, and I'm sure I'll cycle back to it again in the future.  
  
What do you think of glycerin in toothpaste?  

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2 comments:

  1. These sound great! I'm particularly interested in the activated charcoal one - I always seem to find it in powder form and any pastes I've seen has crap in it I don't want. I'll need to check this one out! :-)

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    Replies
    1. YES! I'm right there with you -- no time for messy powders or bad ingredients! If you're near a TJ Maxx, I keep seeing the My Magic Mud at our Canadian equivalent the last few months, so you might get lucky :)

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