April 2020 Update: Now all this is available in Spearmint, too!
Background: In March of 2015, Dr. Bronner’s (finally!) introduced its All-One Toothpaste. With 70% organic ingredients, no synthetic foaming agents, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or fluoride, it only has the good stuff. And it’s vegan and cruelty-free. Available in Peppermint, Cinnamon, and Anise (and now Spearmint!).
Customers had been asking for years for a toothpaste. They’d always heard: “You can brush your teeth with Castile soap.” Which is absolutely true. And if you are hiking the Appalachian Trail or in some other remote venue where space is scarce and you need a does-it-all product, the Castile Soap is exactly that. However, it tastes like, well, soap.
From the outside, Dr. Bronner’s seems to move as slow a snail through peanut butter when it comes to launching new products. It comes down to the great responsibility to get things right, so that customers know we’re not throwing products on the market just to catch a trend or see what sticks.
So quietly, methodically, various folks at Dr. Bronner’s have been exploring toothpaste, researching ingredients, pondering flavor. For years I would come home with plain white tubes marked “5b”, “13”, “7/21”, testing out the latest toothpaste rendition. As we narrowed in on the recipe, Karina Tettero, our marketing specialist, became the toothpaste guru, and nary a soul could pass her office without getting snagged for a toothbrushing or four.
Here’s what’s special about the All-One toothpaste
It’s SLS free
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), though not a carcinogen, can irritate sensitive skin. When my second born started having chronic canker sores, I found in my research one little tiny note in an article that said there was a slight suspected link between toothpastes containing SLS and canker sores. So off I went scrounging up an SLS-free toothpaste and what a difference it made for my second and later for my third. I will tell you here that there is not a large body of research to support this idea, but it applies to my kiddos and that’s what matters to me. SLS is put in toothpaste as a cleaning agent and because it makes all those lovely, meaningless bubbles.
It’s Fluoride Free
I’m going to sit on my hands a bit here because any mention of fluoride is apt to send me up on my soapbox about the ethics of fluoridating the water supply. I can brush my own teeth, thank you. However, because most of the public water supply in the U.S. is fluoridated (67% as of 2012, according to the CDC), there is a lot of fluoride to be had. Not only is it in the tap water, but also in anything made with the tap water, whether it was made at home or in a factory. There is such a thing as over-exposure to fluoride, resulting in dental fluorosis, a permanent staining of the teeth. Also, fluoride poisons if swallowed. If that sounds extreme, go check out the warning labels on a tube of fluoridated toothpaste – DON’T SWALLOW IT. This is especially important in kids under 6, which until last August I had in my house, because they are more prone to swallowing their toothpaste. However, swallowing aside, in my house, with the fluoridated water, we are all getting a steady dose of fluoride.
It’s 70% Organic and Fair Trade
Organic means free of GMO’s, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge and irradiation, all important for a product that gets scrubbed into potentially absorbing gums, tongue, and cheeks. Fair Trade assures that every person who contributed to the ingredients and production of this product was treated fairly, paid a living wage, and other good stuff.
It does not foam as much
Oh, my. Do we ever like our bubbles. Here’s a few things to consider: Bubbles do not indicate cleaning power. They are only there to be pretty. Bubbles do not make toothpaste work better. Our love affair with bubbles explains why SLS, the queen bee of bubbling surfactants, is in so many toothpastes. Bubbles aren’t worth it. We don’t need them. They come at too steep a steep price. This toothpaste foams more than many others in the natural realm, but without synthetic foaming agents, it does not have that overflowing mouthful of bubbles.
It tastes different
These toothpastes are flavored with pure essential oils, which taste different than their synthetic counterparts. They’re more intense and more like their natural source. You’ll find you need less toothpaste than you needed before. The three (now four!) flavors are vastly different from each other. The Peppermint and Spearmint are traditional and super fresh. The Cinnamon trends towards the lively and spicy side. The Anise (the favorite of two of my kids) is on the mellower, sweeter side.
Toothpaste Ingredients (minus the flavors):
Organic Glycerin, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrated Silica, Calcium Carbonate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Potassium Cocoate (made with Organic Coconut Oil*), Organic Mentha Arvensis (Menthol) Crystals, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Flour*, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Organic Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf / Stem Extract
*Certified Fair Trade Ingredient
Plus the flavors:
Anise: Organic Illicium Verum (Anise) Seed Oil
Cinnamon: Organic Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon) Oil
Peppermint: Organic Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil
Spearmint: Organic Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) Oil
I’m really undecided about which is my favorite. I like them all, but I find myself pulled towards the two mints. Every time I finish a tube of one of them, I’m ready to switch to the other, but then I’m back again. Fortunately, I have lots of toothbrushing opportunities in my future to work it all out!