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We Tried the New Toothpaste Tablets — Here’s Our Review

April 11, 2024
Courtesy of unPaste

Toothpaste is one of those products we just don’t think about that much. We have our brand, we buy more whenever we’re running low, rinse and repeat. But seeing these new brands of toothpaste tablets popping up on social media and in podcast ads got us feeling intrigued, so we decided to investigate.

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What are toothpaste tablets?

As the name suggests, these are little tablets that take the place of toothpaste. When it’s time to brush, you pop one of these in your mouth and start to chew (but don’t swallow). As the tablet begins to break down, you wet your toothbrush, and then brush your teeth. The tabs foam up slightly as you brush. Your regular oral care habits apply here: brush twice a day, and continue to floss, too.

Advantage of toothpaste tablets

The main reason why you might consider switching to tablets: sustainability. Toothpaste traditionally leaves a lot of waste behind in the form of an estimated 1.5 billion plastic tubes per year. According to an article in the British journal Nature, it takes about 500 years for just one toothpaste tube to fully biodegrade.  

The tablets are packaged in containers that are either refillable, reusable, recyclable, or compostable. (Small metal containers, for example.) 

One company, Bite, claims to have diverted 75,000 pounds of plastic waste in 2022. Another, unPaste, uses compostable packaging made from paper and cornstarch, printed with organic ink made from soy.

Ingredients: What you need to know

Aside from seeing these products on your social feed, you may find them in the goodie bag you take home from the dentist, alongside a new toothbrush. Azadeh Akhavan, DDS, a dentist based in New York City, includes them in her patients’ take-home bags — though she also includes a sample of regular toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association. The tablets are not ADA approved yet.

Here are some ingredients in the tablets, and what you need to know about them.

  • Fluoride. Some tablets have them, others don’t. “There is controversy over fluoride mostly because high levels can cause toxicity,” says Dr. Akhavan. “Fluoride levels in the water in the United States are strictly regulated, as are amounts in toothpaste. It’s not at all toxic if it’s used appropriately as it exists in toothpaste. However, when children swallow fluoridated toothpaste, the fluoride can cause white stains in the child’s permanent teeth and stomach aches. 

“A toothpaste without fluoride is essentially not doing much for your teeth,” she adds. “But really, toothpaste is a vehicle for fluoride to strengthen your teeth and it’s why the ADA has not approved toothpastes that do not use fluoride.” 

  • N-HA (nano-hydroxyapatite). Instead of fluoride, some manufacturers are opting for hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral in the tooth enamel; i.e., the harder protective outer covering of the teeth. “Initial research shows it can be as effective as fluoride in strengthening and remineralizing teeth. This could be a great alternative or addition to fluoride in our goal to prevent tooth decay,” Dr. Akhavan says. However, the ADA has yet to determine the efficacy and safety of using N-HA as the sole ingredient. “It takes years of retrospective studies that determine the efficacy and adverse outcomes of new ingredients in oral health products,” Dr. Akhavan notes.
  • Baking soda. “Sodium bicarbonate [baking soda] is an excellent ingredient in that it’s non-abrasive while removing stains, and it’s basic. It prevents erosion and an acidic salivary environment,” Dr. Akhavan says. 
  • Xylitol. Some tablets also contain this natural sweetener, which prevents the binding of bacteria to teeth, Dr. Akhavan says. 
  • Charcoal. Like some natural toothpaste brands, some of the tablets contain charcoal. “I don’t love charcoal as an ingredient, due to its abrasive quality. Its whitening benefit is outweighed by how abrasive it is,” says Dr. Akhavan.
  • Silica. “Silica is also very abrasive, and so I try to avoid the product if silica is one of the first few ingredients,” she warns.
  • Citric acid. “I also don’t like citric acid in the tablets because any acidic flavoring will amount to some erosion,” Dr. Akhavan says.

Our review of the toothpaste tablets

We tested three brands of toothpaste tablets; here are our findings. All three worked well in terms of offering a clean feeling and a minty taste. Along with the sustainability issue, these would be useful for times when you have access to water but not a sink, such as when you’re camping.


  • What we tried: Bite-sized naturally whitening toothpaste bits 
  • Fluoride? Fluoride and fluoride-free options available
  • Notes: These tablets foamed the least out of the brands we tried
  • Price: 
    • Toothpaste bits: fluoride free, $8/month or $32 (4-four-month subscription) or one-time purchase
    • Toothpaste bits, with fluoride: $8/month, $32 (4-month subscription)
    • No single-purchase option


  • What we tried: Toothpaste tablets in peppermint, watermelon strawberry, and charcoal mint 
  • Fluoride? No. N-HA only
  • Notes: These tablets offered the best foaming out of all of the brands we tried
  • Price: 
    • Subscription: 4-month supply for one person, 248 tabs, $8.50 per month or $34 
    • One-time purchase is $45; one-month trial size is $13


  • What we tried: Mint tabs (also available in cinnamon)
  • Fluoride? Available with or without
  • Notes: These tablets fell in-between the other two in terms of level of foaming
  • Price: 
    • $13 for 125 tablets (2-month supply, with or without fluoride)
    • 4-month supply with fluoride: $22 (250 tablets)

Cost wise, by comparison, we found Crest toothpaste for $7.70 for two 4.3-ounce tubes at Target. This is a total of 9.6 ounces, or 272 grams. The recommended amount of toothpaste is about the size of a pea, or about .25 grams (far less than you see in toothpaste commercials). Doing the math for this toothpaste, that adds up to 1,088 brushing sessions, or 544 days if you brush twice a day. Factoring in 30 days per month, that’s an 18-month supply for $7.70. Of course, your mileage may vary. Factoring in the sustainability issue, and the convenience of the tablets showing up at your door thanks to a subscription, which is a better deal depends on your personal preferences and budget. 

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