How do toothpaste tablets work? What you need to know

There’s a new-ish trend in the teeth-cleaning industry that can make brushing your teeth convenient and environmentally safe — toothpaste tablets, or a toothpaste formula that comes in a disc-like form, similar to gum.

Toothpaste tablets are designed to keep your teeth clean and freshen your breath, and they’re easy enough to allow you to brush after every meal, which is something professionals recommend to keep your smile white and bright.

How do toothpaste tablets work?

It’s pretty simple! Just place a tablet into your mouth, chew it up, and let your saliva turn the tablet into a paste-like substance similar to toothpaste. You can also use water if you don’t naturally produce enough salvia. Next, brush the paste onto your teeth with a toothbrush or use your tongue or finger to brush the paste over your teeth and tongue.

The benefits of toothpaste tablets

There are many benefits of toothpaste tablets. Toothpaste tablets are a low-waste product, meaning they can be used and recycled easily, which means non-biodegradable plastic tubes don’t end up in our nation’s landfills. Toothpaste tubes may not seem like a likely source of waste, but Americans throw out around 400 million tubes annually, according to Recycling International.

Toothpaste tablets are also pre-portioned, so you’ll have the right amount to brush your teeth with no waste (and no more rolling up tubes to get that last bit out). This comes in handy if you spend a lot of time eating out and want to brush after lunch or if you travel frequently. Toothpaste tablets will make it through airport security as well, so if you don’t like to check a bag, you can bring them with you in your carry-on.

person at dental visit
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

What do the experts say?

Many experts recommend toothpaste tablets as an alternative to toothpaste tubes, especially if you’re sharing with the whole family. “Everyone should use toothpaste tablets,” Dr. Lawrence Fung told Today. “They are very easy to use and taste and perform just like regular toothpaste.” Fun also said tablets are a great way to avoid cross-contamination of germs if everyone is touching the same tube.

Others are skeptical due to a lack of research data and the fact that many tablets don’t contain fluoride. “There’s a lack of scientific evidence on how good toothpaste tablets are in terms of oral health,” said Dr. James Fernando, dentist and research fellow at Melbourne Dental School. “Toothpaste should be able to remove plaque [and] prevent gum disease and tooth decay, and fluoride is a big part of that. There’s not much clinical data out there on toothpaste tablets.”

Toothpaste tablets are a welcomed alternative to traditional toothpaste tubes if you want to help protect our planet and if you travel frequently. In fact, their manufacturers are actively finding ways to get rid of aluminum and plastic altogether. They’re also easy and convenient, so you are more likely to use them, which any dentist will tell you is the way to go. As of now, toothpaste tablets are not approved by the ADA, and many are fluoride-free, so if fluoride is a must, do your homework to find a brand that contains it.

Toothpaste tablets are slightly more expensive than a tube of regular toothpaste. If you need to find ways to save money, it may be best to skip the tablets in lieu of a toothpaste brand that’s as eco-friendly as possible. Still, if you’re more inclined to use a tablet after every meal, it could save you money on future dental work.

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