As most dentists will tell you, any toothpaste that encourages teeth-brushing is a job done. But as a twice-daily activity (hopefully), knowing what it is exactly you're putting in your mouth is essential. While fluoride or fluoride-free remains a common debate, for those who seek a more natural cleaning experience, below are eight pastes we scoped out that are sure put a healthy smile on your face.
Launching Kingfisher's fennel flavored toothpaste at a homeopathic conference back in 1988, founder Richard Austin keeps all-natural ingredients at the forefront of his practice. (He also started the U.K.'s leading whole foods store, Rainbow.) Fluoride- and gluten-free, the vegan toothpaste is made with fennel, lemons, aloe vera and tea tree. While it definitely tastes like fennel, the surprisingly pleasant flavor leaves your mouth feeling clean without the use of intense mint. Kingfisher Fennel sells online and at health stores around the U.K. for around £3 per five-ounce tube.
Super foamy and lightly abrasive, Auromere's licorice-flavored Ayurveda herbal toothpaste is one of my favorite among the group. Deep-rooted in holistic medicine, Auromere was founded 30 years ago as a small community-owned business. With a brand name that translates as "the science of life," Ayurveda is an ancient Indian art centered around disease prevention and healing through the power of nature. Ayurvedic Licorice Toothpaste sells online for $6 per four-ounce tube.
With a mild but intriguing taste, Weleda's calendula toothpaste is great for anyone who doesn't like classic flavors like cinnamon or mint. I found that you do have to put an extra dollop on your brush to really get a good lather going (unless you follow their instructions to apply with a dry brush), but it did leave my mouth feeling pretty fresh—considering it is peppermint-free. The calendula flower, known for its anti-viral properties, combines with naturally-disinfecting my to keep your mouth super clean. Weleda Calendula toothpaste sells online for $7 per three-ounce tube.
Nature's Gate Creme de Anise toothpaste has a strong licorice flavor, not for the flavor fainthearted. As their name implies, their exclusive "AntioxiDental Blend" is made from healthy ingredients like cranberry, pomegranate, white tea, grape seed, aloe and ginger. The all-natural toothpaste sells online and specialty drug stores for around $5 per six-ounce tube.
In our profile of Botot a few years ago, the gillyflower-based blend is likened to the "first few chews of Big Red gum." Invented by Dr. Julien Botot in 1755 for King Louis XV of France, Botot is often considered the world's first toothpaste. The old-school polish sells online from Unica Home and Canoe for around $11 per 2.5-ounce tube.
Made with mostly thyme, sage and chamomile, Vademecum's Fluor & Plantes' minty mix really gets your mouth feeling sparkly for those in the pro-fluoride camp. Vademecum Director of Research and Design, Claudia Hundeiker tell us fluoride "works by promoting a chemical reaction in tooth enamel that draws in replacement minerals including calcium." Fluor & Plantes sells online for around €3 per 2.5-ounce tube.
A more commonly known option, Marvis' slightly foamy Jasmin Mint toothpaste adds a touch of floral flavor to tone down the mint. The Italian brand doesn't keep their polish completely natural, but makes it using a "long, precise, traditional method" that gives it a thick consistency and intense flavor. Their nearly four-ounce tube sells everywhere from C.O. Bigelow to Barneys for around $12 per beautifully-designed package.
Made by the luxurious French skincare brand Darphin, Denblan toothpaste ingredients include an appealing mix of papaya, pineapple, lichen extracts, mint, fennel and parsley oils. Containing fluoride, Denblan's blend promises to whiten teeth with its highly revered anti-cavity formula. A 2.6-tube sells online for $20.