In an attempt to bring teeth cleaning back to basics and provide people with a more natural method to polishing those pearly whites, tooth tabs and toothpaste powder have infiltrated the dental market in the past few years. We review Lush’s ‘Toothy Tabs’ to see if they are worth the hype.

I first encountered Lush’s ‘Toothy tabs’ in August of 2016. I remember it well. It was three days before Leeds Festival, and I was frantically shopping for last minute toiletries that I could utilise to maximise the space in my tiny rucksack. That is when I laid eyes upon the ‘Dirty Toothy Tabs’, an alternative to toothpaste that you just had to pop in your mouth and add a swig of water to. Perfect! I thought. Then, flash forward to the first night in the tent where I excitedly reached for my new toothpaste and I find that the matchstick-like box had become wet from the condensation and all the toothy tabs had dissolved into this foamy white gloop on the tarpaulin floor.

Three years later, I am now reunited with my minty foe and ready to give them a go for the sake of the AlterEco readers.

The packaging has had an upgrade since my first purchase and are now contained within a small plastic bottle. “I must not have been the only one,” I thought to myself. Nine seconds into my inspection of the new tabs, a Lush employee is quick to ask me if I’m alright. I mentioned about the new plastic containers, to which she replied, “oh yeah but you can bring them in, and we’ll recycle them for you.” 

They now come in a range of flavours and colours, but I reached for the ‘Dirty’ flavour again as they are said to bear the closest resemblance to ordinary toothpaste in taste.

At £6.50, the Toothy Tabs are pricier than a regular tube of toothpaste, but they are supposed to contain high-quality natural ingredients and be easier for on the go.

In my opinion, the texture bears a striking resemblance to a Trebor extra strong mint. Powdery in texture and can easily be broken or crumbled into smaller chunks.

To use the tabs, you are supposed to crush them between your teeth and brush the powder into the surface of your teeth with your normal toothbrush, adding water if you wish. Without, the tabs are quite dry and gritty. They do foam but the bubbles do not last very long and quickly turn to a runny liquid that dribbles down the sides of your mouth and chin.

Adding water to them does not really help as the tabs are hard to dissolve. The tablet also sloshes around quite a bit, making them hard to get a hold of and polish your teeth with.

After rubbing my tongue against my teeth, they do not feel as clean as ordinary toothpaste makes them feel. There still seems to be a film on them from food and excessive coffee build up from the day. I still feel as though my teeth are in need of a further clean.

One thing I will say about them though, is that they are extremely minty. Almost as though you are eating raw mint leaves. They have an almost burning sensation on my tongue. I am assuming that the natural flavouring ingredients are more concentrated than in regular toothpaste. My breath did smell minty fresh afterwards and continued to linger in my mouth over the next few hours.

According to the website, the Dirty tabs are said to contain, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar, Sorbitol, Kaolin and a number of different mint oils. One ingredient missing from them however is fluoride. 

According to the NHS website, toothpaste that contains fluoride is the most effective way of preventing tooth decay. Once fluoride has been absorbed by the enamel on teeth, it bonds with calcium and phosphate to produce fluoroapatite, which acts as a stronger defence towards decay.

(However, it has been noted that fluoride can cause a number of health issues when consumed in excess so please monitor your fluoride consumption).

Overall verdict: Toothy Tabs are not worth it. The lack of clean feeling is quite disappointing, and it will leave you wanting to brush your teeth again. As they now come in a plastic bottle, the once eco-friendly tooth tabs have lost their largest selling point over regular toothpaste. They are also marketed to be more convenient, but I struggle to see how they are as you still need a toothbrush to use them.

However, Lush also sell mouthwash versions of the tabs for the same price and, given the strength of the Toothy Tabs’ flavour, I can imagine that these would work quite well.