Deciding to commit to a vegan lifestyle is no small thing. Whilst the discussion around this is often focussed on food and clothing, the reality of sourcing, identifying and replacing day to day products with vegan alternatives is a tremendous undertaking. Whilst this may seem like a daunting task, it’s a positive step in determining shopping choices and looking deeper into what actually goes into the items that we take for granted.
Toothpaste may not necessarily be on the radar when considering vegan options but it is important to note that many toothpastes on the market do not meet the requirements for being certified vegan, and not necessarily for the reasons that you might think. Whilst big name brands are gradually adapting to provide a vegan option, the majority of traditional toothpastes are not vegan and it’s not easy to tell which unless they have a certification.
It’s important to note that ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ do not mean the same thing. A product that is marked as cruelty-free means that animals were not harmed or used whilst producing a product. A vegan product will have no animal derived ingredients, nor will it have involved animals at any point along the production process.
For a product to be certified vegan, it needs to be clear of both animal products and any animal testing. Although it isn’t as immediately obvious that a product such as toothpaste would not meet these standards, there are things that a vegan conscious shopper will look out for when buying a vegan toothpaste.
Glycerine, derived from animal fats, can often be found in traditional toothpastes. It holds water to keep the formula from drying out and is also used in moisturisers and some foods. The good news is that glycerine can also be found in vegetable fats and this has been steadily replacing the need for animals being used.
Another product found in many toothpaste is propolis. Whilst it has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it is derived from bees which make the resin like substance as a sealant for their hives.
Chitosan is an antibacterial ingredient that is derived from shellfish such as prawns, crabs and lobsters. Whilst it isn’t as common an ingredient as, perhaps glycerine, it does form the base of many natural toothpastes.
The main concern, however, is the problem of animal testing which is undertaken by a shocking number of big named brands. The chemicals and ingredients that go into these products are required, by law, to undergo animal testing. In the EU, animal testing on cosmetics has been banned since 2013. This does not mean that the same brands do not send animal tested products to countries where it is mandatory. Perhaps more worrying is that some companies can test chemicals and ingredients under REACH regulations.
Short answer, yes. Very slowly, we’re seeing consumers taking more of an interest in cruelty-free products. More importantly, manufacturers are finally taking note of the increasing demand for vegan products and the responsibility to ensure they are meeting the needs and expectations of the modern, eco-conscious shopper.
There are various plant based and natural ingredients, with real health benefits, that easily replace chemicals and animal products found in traditional toothpastes. This begs the question, why aren’t more big brands doing just this? Cost certainly plays a part, as do international rules concerning hygiene products and animal testing.
At truthpaste, extensive research is ongoing to find the best ingredients with specific oral health benefits that have never been tested on animals. Nature has a lot to offer when it comes to protecting your teeth and gums. A great deal of time and research goes into the health benefits of each natural essential oil that we use. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits of our ingredients are well documented. We don’t believe that health should come at the cost of harm to animals and we are very proud to have the Vegan Society seal of approval on our jars.
Why do we use this carrier oil in Truthpaste?
In Ayurvedic practice, Calendula is used for oil pulling in much the same way that you would with coconut oil. The antiseptic properties work to prevent gingivitis and plaque build up. Studies suggest calendula can help to repair the soft tissue of the gums whilst actively fighting plaque.