We know we should brush our teeth at least twice a day to remove food debris and prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. This helps prevent cavities, gum disease and keeps our breath fresh.
However, there may be times when it’s not practical or easy to brush your teeth — when you are travelling, for instance. In these situations, there are some alternatives to brushing teeth with toothpaste.
When brushing teeth with toothpaste is not an option, try rinsing your mouth with water. This will help to remove food that’s left behind that bad bacteria likes to feed on.
It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water between meals too. This keeps your mouth, gums and body hydrated.
Chewing sugar-free gum is useful too. Chewing encourages your mouth to produce saliva which contains special enzymes that deal with the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
Dental flossers are useful for removing the food debris that gets stuck between your teeth. When food gets trapped in the crevices around your gums it can cause irritation and the gums may swell as a result.
Also, you can carry toothpaste tablets and chew one when necessary.
What are toothpaste tablets?
Toothpaste tablets, also known as ‘tooth tabs’, are a practical alternative to brushing your teeth with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
Toothpaste tablets contains similar ingredients to regular toothpaste: usually fluoride which helps protect your teeth, and abrasives design to remove plaque from the teeth.
The tablets may also contain flavourings or colourings that help freshen the breath.
The water content that would be in your regular tube has been removed and the active ingredients are pressed into a tablet.
How to use toothpaste tablets
Pop a tablet in your mouth and chew. The tablet mixes with your saliva to form a paste. If you have access to a toothbrush and water, this is ideal as you can wet your toothbrush and brush for two minutes like you would using regular toothpaste.
Next, rinse your mouth to remove any grittiness and residue. If you do not have access to a toothbrush and water, the chewing action and the abrasives in the ‘tooth tab’ will help shift the plaque on your teeth.
Do these new tablets work better than regular paste?
The jury is still out. There is not enough research at the moment to prove whether toothpaste tablets are more or less effective than regular toothpaste.
What are the advantages of using ‘tooth tabs’?
One of the key advantages of a toothpaste tablet is that they have the potential to prevent billions of plastic toothpaste tubes ending up in landfill and the oceans of the world.
Some manufacturers are actively researching more sustainable tube packaging while others are focusing on developing toothpaste tablets as an alternative.
Just like the shampoo bars that are now available, the packaging for these new tooth tablets is designed to be environmentally friendly such as compostable card, or easy to recycle like tin or glass.
If you would like to reduce the amount of plastic in your bathroom, tooth tabs could be an option. However, like switching to shampoo bars, you may need time to adjust to the habit.
Another benefit: toothpaste tablets are also a great option when you are travelling and can be taken in your carry-on luggage. If brushing your teeth at work or the gym is not currently an option, carrying a pack of tooth tabs could be a great solution.
And, because the companies developing tooth tabs are focused on sustainability and our environment, most of the brands opt for natural ingredients and try to avoid preservatives and parabens.
Most still contain fluoride which is an important mineral and key ingredient used to protect your teeth.
It’s always a good idea to check for fluoride and to make sure that you are happy with the ingredients listed on the pack. There are a lot more options available for people who are gluten-free or prefer their cosmetics and health products to be cruelty-free. There are also some vegan options too.
What are the disadvantages?
As previously mentioned, more research is needed into the effectiveness of new tooth tab products — and currently, they are more expensive than regular tubes.
However, your smile is priceless and so is our planet. If you need access to a more portable and practical way of brushing teeth and want to reduce your use of plastic, then tooth tabs could be the option.