Toothpaste in pill form?

Maybe buying a product designed to clean teeth that goes by the name “Dirty” was not my best idea. However, these “Toothy Tabs” by LUSH do clean teeth pretty well, even if I’m not a huge fan of the flavor.


The questionably named tabs, photo from LUSH cosmetics website.

 The basic idea is that they are more sustainable than regular toothpaste, mostly because of their totally recyclable packaging. Personally, I do not think that regular toothpaste is a spectacularly unsustainable enterprise, but I have to admit that I get frustrated throwing out the aluminum-lined tubes. Especially the really tiny travel-size toothpaste that seems to really be more tube than paste.

The LUSH website states, “Sodium bicarbonate forms the basis of our toothy tabs,” and boy is that ever apparent. My main objection to these little dudes is that you can really taste the baking soda. In fact you could just brush with baking soda. That would work. However, I’ve only tried this variety, and there are several others (take a look, here).

For $4.95, you get enough tabs to last several weeks at least. I think you could cut them in half and still have enough in one 1/2-tab to easily brush your teeth. The directions call for you to “nibble” the tabs between your front teeth, apply water to your toothbrush, and then brush. The baking soda really creates a lot of foaming very quickly so it doesn’t take much, but admittedly nibbling toothpaste is weird.

Is it a cost-efficient purchase? Sort of. Comparing with a very large tube of Crest or Colgate for $3-4, or a medium tube (their largest) of Tom’s of Maine for about $4.50, it is extremely expensive. The same number of brushings would cost over $20–a cost that seems absolutely ridiculous just to avoid putting a little aluminum in landfills. However, the Toothy Tabs box provides about as many brushings as a tiny travel tube, which generally cost $1-2. Because they won’t dry out (I mean, they’re already dry…) or separate, they have the storage advantage over travel tubes, in addition to the environmental consideration.

If you do a lot of traveling, these are a nice airline-security-friendly option. For me, that was the big advantage. There is a nice aftertaste, but the overwhelming baking soda flavor while brushing is repellant!

The best part, though, is definitely the packaging. Completely recyclable, it is also very small–small enough to pack efficiently or even carry around in your pocket or purse if you have a tooth brushing obsession (the whole box is about the size of a Pink Pearl eraser).

I don’t think these will ever totally replace regular toothpaste for me, but I will probably turn to them for traveling purposes, and since I’m getting used to the baking soda flavor, I may consider making my own version at home sometime. Would you try brushing with a “tab”?


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