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The 5 best zero-waste toothpastes

Anyone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint knows that sometimes even a small change in habits can make a big impact. The best zero-waste toothpastes come in a variety of effective forms — from tablets to powder — and are packaged in recyclable or reusable containers.

The main thing you'll need to decide is which kind of toothpaste you prefer:

  • Paste: Likely the most familiar in terms of texture, this type comes in either a recyclable metal tube or a reusable glass jar. The latter is more environmentally sound, but when you consider that you need to use (and keep track of) a scooper to get the product onto your brush, it may not be quite as user-friendly.
  • Tablets: Toothpaste tablets are pricey but worth it if you're looking for a truly sustainable oral care option. Often packaged in glass jars or compostable bags, they're travel-friendly and pre-portioned to minimize product waste. Just note that the brushing experience may take the most getting used to.
  • Powder: This type of toothpaste comes in a glass jar and requires you to dip your damp toothbrush inside to get it to stick, which means it's fairly messy and not the most sanitary option if you're sharing it with others. However, a little goes a long way, which means the soft, abrasive powder can be very cost-effective.

No matter what type you go with, they should all be effective at plaque removal, which is why you'll find baking soda is commonly included. Many options also include cavity-inhibiting xylitol, along with a variety of refreshing flavors usually sourced from essential oils (like peppermint). Most are fluoride-free, but since the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a toothpaste with fluoride, you may want to go that route instead. Either way, it's a good idea to talk to your dentist before making any changes to your routine.

Products that get recycled do need to be clean, or else they can get tossed out at the recycling plant and still end up in a landfill. So, if your goal is to go truly zero-waste, keep in mind that reusable packaging is always the better option.

With that in mind, I've rounded up the best zero waste toothpastes on Amazon below.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

1. The tablet toothpaste

Packaged in a reusable glass jar with a metal lid, these toothpaste tablets combine the cleansing and antibacterial properties of baking soda, xylitol, and peppermint oil with the tooth-strengthening power of calcium phosphate. Free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), glycerine, and fluoride, these tablets have a minty taste that Amazon reviewers described as “refreshing," though you can also choose from cinnamon, vanilla mint, or bubble gum.

The featured jar will give you a one-month supply (for brushing twice daily), but you can get also get a much larger quantity of Chewtab refills in 100% compostable bags and make it even more sustainable by transferring them to a jar you already own.

One reviewer says: "I was looking for a way to kick the plastic toothpaste tube. I've tried a few different toothpaste tablets and these are my favorite. I appreciated that the original jar and the refills all arrived in planet friendly packaging. Based on other reviews, I knew to chew them with my front teeth before brushing. I very much like the flavor and I find I prefer these tablets to my regular toothpaste."

2. The powder toothpaste

A small jar of this tooth powder will last an impressive six months, leaving teeth clean and protected. The hard-working ingredients include antibacterial and antimicrobial bentonite clay, which works with baking soda to gently remove plaque. This sweet spice flavor combines cinnamon and nutmeg with the essential oils of sweet orange and cardamon. The tooth powder is also available in "cinna mint" and "super mint" flavors, and all three are fluoride-, SLS-, and glycerine-free. Bonus: the reusable, glass jar has an airtight lock that will not only make it spill-proof, but will give you many other ways to use it down the road.​ ​

One reviewer says: "I bought this as an alternative to toothpaste that come in plastic tubes, and I am very impressed so far. Seriously, my teeth feel and look cleaner - rather like just having had them cleaned at the dentist office. I bought the 6 month supply and am looking forward to seeing how they look at the end of the jar."

3. The paste toothpaste

The mineral-rich kaolin clay and coconut oil in this Georganics toothpaste create a smooth texture that's similar to the stuff in a traditional tube. The formula also includes calcium carbonate, baking soda, and spearmint oil. The non-foaming product comes in a glass jar with a recyclable metal lid, and a tiny wooden spatula. It's SLS-, glycerine-, and fluoride-free, and it's a popular option on Amazon with more than 1,700 five-star ratings. This paste is available in four other flavors, including orange, and tea tree. ​According to reviewers, one jar should last one person for about two months.​ ​

One reviewer says: "First off it's not a sweet toothpaste, which can be a bit disconcerting, and the texture is different from normal toothpaste in that it doesn't foam up. But once you get it wet and start brushing, it melts into a thick liquid that is really good at cleaning your teeth...You are left with a lovely clean feeling and neutral smelling mouth, without any weird aftertastes. Having tried this, would never go back to 'conventional' toothpaste again."

4. The fluoride toothpaste

It can be surprisingly challenging to find a decent zero-waste toothpaste with fluoride, but these tablets by Denttabs have earned plenty of praise on Amazon, with more than 1,000 favorable reviews. Besides fluoride, you'll also find mint and baking soda on the ingredient list. This option is SLS- and glycerine-free, and with 125 pieces, it's more wallet-friendly compared to the WELdental tablets (just note that it's only available in a compostable paper bag, so you'll want to have a glass jar ready to store them in).​ ​

One reviewer says: "This was my first time trying toothpaste tabs. It's hard to find one... with fluoride that is also plastic free. While this is not very foamy, I knew that before ordering. I really love it... It takes minimal water on the toothbrush to get going, and my mouth feels much cleaner than using a regular toothpaste. I notice a big difference on my tongue, which doesn't feel filmy at all like it can with regular tooth paste."

5. The tube toothpaste

Some traditionalists might still want the experience of a tube, and this Davids natural toothpaste provides a creamy, "thick enough" texture that has earned more than 1,600 five-star ratings from Amazon reviewers. It will arrive to you in sustainable and FSC-certified packaging, and both the metal tube and the included (and very handy) steel winding tool are recyclable. The formula is fluoride- and SLS-free and includes calcium carbonate, xylitol, baking soda, and peppermint oil.​ ​

One reviewer says: "Absolutely love this toothpaste. I bought it since it is the closest to a zero-waste toothpaste tube available, with the cap being the only plastic part. The key is very helpful to get the remaining toothpaste out... The taste of this toothpaste is great as well."

Studies referenced:

Ghassemi, A., Vorwerk, L. M., Hooper, W. J., Putt, M. S., & Milleman, K. R. (2008). A four-week clinical study to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of a baking soda dentifrice and an antimicrobial dentifrice in reducing plaque. The Journal of clinical dentistry, 19(4), 120–126.