Toothpaste is a sticky subject (no pun intended) in my
After nearly six years together, my husband still
refuses to share a tube of toothpaste with me, insisting that my
squeezing-from-the-middle technique — versus his far superior
squeeze-from-the-end route — is completely ludicrous. We even
travel with our own tubes. So when Editor-in-Chief Lori Acken
proposed I sample various pastes you won’t find at the grocery
and detail my findings, I laughed out loud and gleefully
accepted the assignment, if for no other reason than to see the
look on my husband’s face when $60 worth of toothpaste arrived
on our doorstep. I spent two weeks sampling five different kinds
of toothpaste, from high-end pastes to bits and bites, then
chatted with Dr. Nathan Darling of Darling Dental in Glendale to
get an expert’s take on the products I tried. Here are our
Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste
My favorite of the bunch and, much to my
husband’s chagrin, one of the pricier tubes, Marvis products are
made in Florence, Italy, which immediately had my 21-year-old
self swooning. (I studied abroad in Florence.) The paste is a
pure white color and smooth in consistency, and the minty flavor
is indeed strong, but not overwhelmingly so. A favorite of
celebs and fashionistas, one 3.8-ounce tube will run you upward
of $10. So is it worth it?
“[Marvis] is basically a standard toothpaste with
a slightly mintier and flavorful taste,” says Darling. “It’s
definitely a niche product, rather than high-end.” Darling adds
that, when Marvis debuted in the 1950s, the company targeted its
marketing efforts to suave, cigarette-smoking Italians, and the
product took off.
Classic with Rennou
Theodent is pricey. A 3.4-ounce tube costs an
average of $15. But, unsurprisingly, it was my second favorite
of the group. The minty flavor was satisfying, and the paste
itself was easy to squeeze onto my toothbrush. And Theodent is
also fluoride free and made with Rennou, a naturally occurring
extract found in chocolate.
Darling was most intrigued by Theodent and the
science behind the paste, ordering his own tube to sample at
home. He explains that Rennou bonds to enamel and nourishes and
grows the crystal structure of the tooth up to four times
larger, remineralizing the tooth structure and strengthening the
“Now acid has to attack a larger crystal and more
structure,” Darling adds, “so it takes longer to eat away at
that tooth structure.”
Mint-Free Herbal Toothpaste
I consider myself an eco-conscious person. I
recycle, buy organic foods, and choose household and beauty
products with safer ingredients whenever possible. After
sampling Auromere, I’m not so sure toothpaste will make that
list. The putty-like paste is beige in color and chalky in
consistency, and it’s naturally sweetened with pure licorice
root, so the flavor likens itself to black licorice.
Darling’s take? He says the holistic-minded
product is not recommended by the American Dental Association
because it’s fluoride free (as are the others on this list).
Auromere does contain a notable ingredient, peelu, derived from
the peelu trees of the Middle East. Their bark and shoots were
the first-ever “toothbrushes.” “People would peel the bark and
chew on the twigs,” Darling says.
Care Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
Months ago, I tried a charcoal-based face mask
for the first time and, as I tried to remove it, swore up and
down that I’d never try such a product again. The mask
splattered everywhere as I washed it off, leaving my sink and
the surrounding countertop a mess. But there I stood, this time
testing out charcoal toothpaste for this magazine.
The paste itself is, yes, charcoal colored, and
your mouth will turn black as you brush. The directions on the
tube encourage you to “spit responsibly,” but I was met, yet
again, with a sink decorated with gray and black spots.
“Brushing with charcoal has been around since
ancient Roman times,” says Darling, “[but] there is no evidence
that [proves] brushing with charcoal can whiten teeth.” Phew!
I was most interested to sample these, as I
thought they may solve my aforementioned marital conundrum. The
product comes as a two-pack: one container of activated charcoal
toothpaste bits, and one container of naturally whitening
toothpaste bits. You simply place one bit in your mouth, bite
down, and then brush with a wet toothbrush. It was a foreign
concept, but I rather liked the whitening bits, and I think
they’d be great to travel with. I admittedly couldn’t bring
myself to sample the charcoal bits, though, because ... well,
see my Hello Activated Charcoal toothpaste review.
likes that Bite uses reusable glass jars to house its product,
therefore reducing plastic waste. He says the bits contain
sodium bicarbonate, which increases the pH balance of the mouth
and is beneficial to those with acidic or dry mouths. They also
contain kaolin, a natural clay used to remineralize teeth. One
note of caution: Darling says kaolin has been shown to interact
with antibiotics and some heart medicines.