You may have been out shopping for a new tube of toothpaste lately, or may have been talking with some vegan friends, or you may see the words “vegan toothpaste” randomly during your internet travels. Did it provoke your thinking, well aren’t all toothpastes vegan? When you make the decision to live a vegan lifestyle, a lot of people don’t realize that there are many things in their lives that they may have to change, anything from their breakfast cereal, shampoo, or shoes! It is sad to see that there are so many objects in our everyday lives that are linked to the use of dead animals or the exploitation of living animals, toothpaste being one of these.
So what makes toothpaste non-vegan friendly? Firstly, many toothpastes are tested on animals. Unless the packaging says specifically that the product is not tested on animals, it probably is. Animal testing is not only cruel, with millions of animals needlessly dying from this cause every year, but it is also unnecessary. Animals are different to humans and many chemicals that pass animal testing end up harming or even killing humans. The opposite can also be true, some chemicals which are toxic to animals are safe for human use. A good way to stop this cruel exploitation of animals is for consumers to stop buying animal-tested products. If products aren’t being bought, the companies will either stop producing such products or change their products to meet the needs and wishes of the consumer.
Another factor which makes toothpastes un-vegan is the ingredients. The main non-vegan ingredient to look out for is glycerine, which is found in most toothpastes and is normally from animal origin (it can be derived from plant sources but unless it specifically says so, it is safe to assume that it isn’t). The remaining ingredients are mostly synthetic or plant derived, which are quite vegan friendly, but many other vegans simply aren’t happy with just that. Many people dislike the use of chemicals in toothpaste, including sodium laurel sulphate (a common ingredient, also known as SLS), SLS is a foaming agent which is used in such products as engine degreasers and concrete cleaners. SLS has been linked to the cause of mouth ulcers and has the potential to cause cancer. If you are concerned about the use of such an ingredient, there are a few low-foaming toothpastes available which do not contain sodium laurel sulphate.
In saying all that, there are quite a few brands out there that do not use any animal-derived ingredients or do not test on animals, available from many major supermarkets, or if not, in health stores. Don’t be satisfied with the label only, many toothpastes “natural” or “healthy” can still contain SLS or other harmful ingredients, so always read the ingredient list to be absolutely sure.
Better still, if you are in doubt about the contents of a toothpaste (or any product), don’t hesitate to contact the producers directly – their contact information is generally located on the packaging. They should be able to tell you in detail about their products and more importantly the chemicals that they add into their products.
We hope this article has provided you with some thought inspiring ideas when you next go shopping for toothpaste.