What Is Toothpaste, Really?

What Is Toothpaste, Really?

Not all toothpastes are created equal.

Most toothpastes are composed of the same 5 main ingredients: a cleaner, a sweetener, a foaming agent, a protectant, and water. There are many ingredients that can fulfill each of these critical functions, but which ingredient is used makes a difference.

Beyond this, mass produced toothpastes contain synthetic and chemical ingredients which unsurprisingly aren't sustainable and natural products. Ingredients like Xanthan Gum, which is commonly used as a thickener and has been proven to aggravate our digestive systems, and sodium lauryl sulphate, a foaming agent which can cause canker sores or ulcers in some people, are often on the list for big brand toothpastes.

The Tusk Difference: Only 7 Natural Ingredients

 At Tusk Toothpowder, we are proud of our ingredient and process transparency. Our products contain only 7 ingredients, all of which are natural, chemical-free, and ethically sourced. Let's take a look at them a little closer!


#1: Cleaning Agent

First is the cleaning agent, called an abrasive – this is what the bristles scrub against our teeth in order to remove plaque. Common abrasives used are calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts and silicates. 

Here at Tusk, we choose calcium carbonate – a naturally occurring mineral that can be used as a dietary supplement, proven to be great for cleaning teeth without harming them. This is what most natural toothpaste products use.

#2: Sweetener 

Second is the sweetener.  This might sound contradictory; we all know that sugar is bad for our teeth! However, polyols (or sugar alcohols) are sweeteners, commonly found in vegetables and fruit. Polyols are great for toothpaste because they sweeten without contributing to cavities. The most commonly used sweetener is sorbitol.

At Tusk we choose to use Xylitol and Erythritol – providing the same beautiful sweet taste as sorbitol, but they are also are proven to fight cavities. That’s a bonus in our book! (Source)

#3: Foaming Agent 

Third is a foaming agent, called a surfactant. Foaming is important because this allows us to easily move the toothpaste into every nook and cranny in our mouths. In traditional toothpastes, the most common surfactant is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. But this ingredient can irritate the mouth and cause canker sores. 

We have instead opted for Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, which is derived from coconuts. It helps to spread our toothpowder while being gentle on the mouth.

#4: Protectant

Fourth is the protectant, or scientifically referred to as the remineralizing agent. This ingredient fights against tooth decay by creating a protective layer, making our teeth more resistant to acid decay and cavities. Most commonly used for this is Fluoride. The issue is that fluoride is highly toxic to humans at reasonably low levels (in adults 40-80mg/kg body weight), little ones being especially vulnerable (Source). Regulations help make this ingredient safer, but we prefer not to take that risk at all!

That’s why at Tusk, we have chosen to use Calcium Hydroxyapatite.  It has shown to be just as effective as fluoride in protecting our teeth and has no toxic effect in the human body! Click here to read more in depth on our secret ingredient.

#5: Water

Finally, traditional toothpastes contain water and Glycerin  in order to create a paste or gel. But, there is some research that notes that glycerin can coat the teeth and prevent remineralization. At Tusk we have found it easy to avoid these ingredient altogether since our toothpowder is not a gel. Simple! This also means our product takes up less room, is more sustainable, and makes it easier to travel with. Winning!

#6: Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium Bicarbonate, commonly known as Baking Soda, fights bad breath by raising the pH of our mouths, making a less friendly environment for bacteria growth. Sodium Bicarbonate also whitens the teeth by removing stains.

#7: Essential Oils

Essential Oils are added to create a fresh taste in the mouth. We offer both peppermint and eucalyptus. Fun fact: they also serve as an antibacterial.

That's it!

 None of that harmful, chemical stuff. With only these 7 ingredients, Tusk Toothpowder offers a healthy, natural clean. Minimize your footprint + maximize your health.