As you’ll read in our first-ever blog post, most toothpastes on the market are not vegan.
Many people (including some long-time vegans) are shocked to find this out!
You see, toothpastes need humectants: gooey moisturizing ingredients that keep the toothpaste from drying out inside its tube. For many many years, glycerin has been the go-to humectant for toothpaste and other personal care products like soaps, lotions, conditioners, surface cleaners, and more.
But what many people don’t realize is that conventional glycerin is derived from animal fat. In fact, throughout history, oral care pioneers used several different animal products to make their own toothpaste.
Let’s dive into that history to understand why animal byproducts became so prevalent in self-care items....and discover how the Davids formula pushes the envelope and uses vegetable glycerin to provide the best vegan toothpaste out there.
a glimpse into the history of toothpaste
To better understand how animal fat became the go-to humectant in toothpaste, let’s take a look at the history of toothpaste.
Dating back to 3,000 BC, ancient Egyptians developed toothpastes made from oxen hooves, eggshells, myrrh, pumice, and water. It’s also said that ancient Chinese toothpaste mixtures were composed of ground fish bones, while ancient Greeks and Romans used crushed bones and oyster shells to create their pastes.
While none of these sound particularly appealing or gentle on the enamel, they had the right idea. In fact, pumice mixtures are still used by dental professionals to clean and polish patients’ teeth, and conventional toothpastes are still using animal products to achieve the desired consistency and polishing effect. When you see that old mixtures used oxen hooves and fish bones, it’s not so “out there” to think about animal fat in most toothpastes (and so many other household products)!
However, when our founder, Eric, was on his four-year journey of perfecting the Davids formula, it was very important to him to create a vegan toothpaste that preserves the consistency, quality, and efficacy of non-vegan toothpaste. At the time, Eric was frustrated by the not-so-great ingredients used in toothpaste, even the “natural” toothpastes on the market.
He wanted to create the best natural vegan toothpaste out there....one that sustains nature+you by respecting animal lives, utilizing ingredients sourced and derived from nature, and effectively working to remove plaque, whiten your teeth, and freshen your breath.
This was no easy feat....no wonder it took four years to perfect the Davids formula!
how is Davids’ glycerin different?
After all that talk about animal fat, you might be wondering how our plant-based toothpaste even contains glycerin.
We use vegetable glycerin in our vegan toothpaste. It’s made with vegetable oil derived from soy plants that are processed into a pure, food-grade ingredient. During processing, the glycerin separates from the fatty acids in the oil to form the syrup-like liquid that gives your vegan toothpaste it's thick and creamy texture.
Davids is also a certified cruelty-free toothpaste. You’ll notice that all of our tubes sport the Leaping Bunny certification, which is the only globally-recognized seal confirming that the development of the product avoids animal testing at every step.
On top of this, the vegetable glycerin in Davids is produced domestically in the US, while many other companies import vegetable glycerin from around the world (typically from Malaysia). This further reduces the carbon footprint of our sourcing and manufacturing process....and also allows us to support American jobs!
is glycerin bad for your teeth, or does glycerin cause demineralization?
There is an old internet rumor that glycerin coats your teeth and causes your teeth to demineralize….simply untrue. The next time you see this posted online, contact the person who did a cut/paste on this misinformation, and ask them to provide the study that shows this to be true….there is no study showing this. If this false rumor was true then there would be an epidemic of people having demineralized teeth, since it’s one of the most common ingredients in toothpaste.
The reality is actually the opposite! Glycerin works to moisten your mouth which helps remineralize your teeth!
so, what does glycerin actually do?
On top of giving your vegan toothpaste its gooey consistency, our vegetable glycerin also works to:
- prevent / reduce dry mouth: glycerin is proven to moisten your mouth by activating your salivary glands. Because dry mouth is a result of under-performing salivary glands, glycerin works directly to prevent and/or reduce this condition! By doing so, it consequently enhances your taste, aids your digestion, and neutralizes harmful acids in your mouth.
- reduce bacteria: dry mouths are the perfect place for bacteria to thrive, so preventing dry mouth alone reduces bacteria buildup in your oral microbiome. Glycerin is also known to be bacteriostatic, meaning it prevents the growth of bad bacteria in your mouth which could otherwise lead to enamel damage, gum disease, and/or tooth decay. On top of that, its ability to reduce bacteria also helps to provide you with effective vegan teeth whitening.
- enhance our essential oil flavors: in addition to enhancing your taste, glycerin also enhances the flavors of our mint oils! Did you know that mint oils not only taste amazing and leave behind minty-fresh breath, they actually aid in reducing bacteria in your mouth as well? Research shows that peppermint oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, allowing it to fight bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in your mouth.
- keep our ingredients from separating: this is important because all of our ingredients are intentional, and each one plays a key role in reducing plaque, whitening your teeth, and freshening your breath. We want them to be evenly distributed throughout your mouth when you brush, and glycerin helps us accomplish this.
Who knew a little bit of vegetable oil could go such a long way? Spoiler alert: Eric knew, which is why he was able to craft the best vegan toothpaste out there (with help from numerous industry experts, of course).
give vegan toothpaste a go
Now that you know vegetable glycerin can achieve all the greatness of animal-derived glycerin, why not give it a go? After all, our specific vegetable glycerin is gentler on the planet, respects animal lives, and supports American jobs while carrying all of its oral care responsibilities.
We may be biased, but we think that’s pretty impressive. Why don’t you see for yourself? Find out why so many people are switching to our natural vegan toothpaste.