LUSH Sparkle Toothy Tabs

LUSH ToothTablets
A bottle of Sparkle Toothy Tabs from LUSH

Originally posted on May 4, 2017

Overall rating: 3/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Minimal Waste Scale: 4/5

Cost: $$*

LUSH has created an alternative to toothpaste in a tube in the form of chalk-like tablets that dissolve in water and create a light lather for keeping your teeth nice and clean. The plastic container is made from recycled plastic, and is recyclable unlike most toothpaste tubes. I picked these up over a month ago and I still have half a bottle left.

The flavours highlighted in this version are grapefruit and black pepper. When speaking to one of the sales associates at the store it was mentioned that the taste of the tablet would not interfere with the taste of citrus or fruit so it would be great for people who drink orange juice in the morning. I agree; no mint flavour means there is no strange after taste of mint mixing with citrus when I brush my teeth before eating breakfast which is excellent.

The ingredients in this flavour of Toothy Tabs that do not occur naturally in essential oils are listed below with the common uses in toothpaste for each substance:

dicalcium phosphate – A calcium salt used in modern pharmaceuticals to help make tablets large enough to for swallowing [1]. It is not hazardous in small doses; however, it can be an irritant when large amounts of the pure powdered form are inhaled or exposed to the skin [2].

sodium bicarbonate –  Baking soda. Used in toothpastes for teeth whitening. The mild abrasive quality when mixed with water removes stains from teeth. [3]

sorbitol – A sweetening agent. It gives toothpaste a sweet taste without using sugar and ultimately would not contribute to decay as sugar would. Sorbitol is also used to retain water in toothpastes [4]. It is most likely not used for this purpose in the Toothy Tabs considering their tablet form.

lauroyl sarcosine – According to LUSH UK: “Lauroyl Sarcosine is a very mild surfactant. It is used in tooth care products to dissolve plaque and to clean the teeth more easily, thanks to the foam it produces… Lauroyl Sarcosine is derived from synthetically produced sarcosine, which is a naturally occurring amino-acid. In addition to clean teeth with a nice soft foam, it helps to disperse flavours in the product.” [5]. Other toothpaste brands refer to the cleansing agent derived from sarcosine as sodium lauroyl sarcosinate [6].  The Environmental Working Group details sodium lauroyl sarcosinate as non-hazardous[7].

sodium saccharin – An artificial sweetener which is cheaper to produce than other sugar substitutes [8]. It was once thought to be a carcinogen after studies in the US on lab rats suggested links to bladder cancer. The tumors seen in the rats dealt mainly with a biological mechanism not present in humans. Due to the fact that there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans, saccharin was taken off of the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens in 2000 [9].

Overall LUSH’s Toothy Tabs are a great option for people who like to carry around their oral hygiene supplies and people who are interested in minimal waste. I recommend this for its portability and because the container can be recycled. In terms of safety, as with any product, it is best to understand the ingredients and use at your own risk.

*Note: $=economical $$= on the more expensive side $$$= investment/be willing to dish out some serious money

[1] “Overview of pharmaceutical excipients used in tablets and capsules” Drug Topics, published October 2 2008, http://drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/drug-topics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-news/overview-pharmaceutical-excipients-used-tablets (Accessed May 2 2017)

[2] Robin Wasserman, “Negative Effects of Dicalcium Phosphate” LIVESTRONG.com, last updated August 16 2013, http://www.livestrong.com/article/147763-negative-effects-of-dicalcium-phosphate/ (Accessed May 2 2017)

[3]Stacey Price “Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?”, Colgate.com Oral Care Center, http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/article/does-baking-soda-whiten-teeth-0113 (Accessed May 2 2017)

[4] Amy Freeman, What Is in Toothpaste? Five Ingredients and What They Do, Colgate.com Oral Care Center, http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/selecting-dental-products/article/what-is-in-toothpaste-five-ingredients-and-what-they-do-0814 (Accessed May 2 2017)

[5] “INGREDIENT Lauroyl Sarcosine” LUSH, https://uk.lush.com/ingredients/lauroyl-sarcosine-0 (Accessd May 2 2017)

[6] see both: “What is Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate?” Honestly… The Honest Company Blog, https://blog.honest.com/sodium-lauroyl-sarcosinate/#disqus_thread (Accessed May 2 2017)

and

Keri Gardner, “Chemicals Used in Colgate Toothpaste,” LIVESTRONG.com, last updated June 28 2015, http://www.livestrong.com/article/132738-chemicals-used-colgate-toothpaste/

[7] “SODIUM LAUROYL SARCOSINATE” EWG Cosmetics Database, https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706102/SODIUM_LAUROYL_SARCOSINATE/ (Accessed May 2 2017)

[8] David B. Ryan “Saccharin Safety in Toothpaste”, LIVESTRONG.com, last updated Feb 3 2010,  http://www.livestrong.com/article/79281-saccharin-safety-toothpaste/ (Accessed May 2 2017)

[9] “Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer” National Cancer Institute (online) https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/artificial-sweeteners-fact-sheet (Accessed May 2 2017)

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