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Toothpaste tablets: Your next big thing?

May 24, 2021
Have you heard of toothpaste tablets, or “unpaste” as they’re known by some brands? They’re gaining traction among eco-conscious consumers, as well as those seeking oral care alternatives. Learn about some pros and cons.

Personal care product consumers have a strong interest in sustainability and clean label characteristics in their purchases. Reusable and eco-safe products fill shelves at retailers. Yet traditional toothpaste tubes are hurting the environment, largely due to the packaging materials. The tubes are made of aluminum and plastic, and they cost significant resources in terms of time, effort, and recycling. Toothpaste tubes disintegrate into microplastics over time, which is a threat to the environment and human and animal health.

As a result, toothpaste tablets are emerging as a viable solution. Toothpaste tablets are small, bite-sized chewables that can be chewed into a paste before brushing, and they’re showing similar efficacy as traditional toothpaste. With tablet manufacturers using recyclable or reusable packaging, they’re also gaining popularity among environmentally conscious consumers.

Diversity of toothpaste tablets drive sales

Toothpaste tablets make use of toothpaste formulations, including xylitol, calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and tartaric acid derivatives, without the inclusion of water. They are packed in a similar manner to medicinal pills. Toothpaste tablets are available in both fluoride and nonfluoride formulations. They are free of preservatives such as parabens and can have a long shelf life in adequate storage conditions. Also, the product can be popular among users looking for natural products.

Eco-friendly tablets beginning to replace conventional toothpaste

Toothpaste tablets are known for being an eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste. These products also offer benefits in terms of portability and resistance to temperature changes. Therefore, users don’t have to carry around bulky toothpaste tubes, nor do they have to worry about the paste going dry when they forget to close the cap. Chewable toothpaste tablets are a good option for maintaining adequate oral hygiene levels while traveling. The containers can be easily stored in small bags, and consumers can use them even without a toothbrush for a fast cleansing.

Toothpaste tablets are still not well known among consumers and they’re not easily available at large retailers. Furthermore, toothpaste tablets have not yet been approved by organizations such as the American Dental Association due to a lack of adequate clinical trial data. In fact, fluoride-free products do not have a very good reputation in the oral care sector due to the potential for an increased risk of cavities. Also, consumers may not be comfortable making the change from toothpaste to tablets.

Key trends to watch

Toothpaste tablet manufacturers are keeping an eye on consumer demands and have launched a number of vegan and all-natural offerings. Manufacturers such as Denttabs and Hello have developed products that are free of artificial sweeteners, fluoride, sulfates, and synthetic dyes and flavors.

Fluoride alternatives such as nano-hydroxyapatite are gaining attention in the industry. Flavor options include berry, mint, and charcoal. Products aimed toward patients with tooth sensitivity and demineralized enamel are expected to find consumer interest in the future.

Beware: Toothpaste tablets are an acquired taste

While toothpaste tablets have the potential to become a household staple, the journey is not likely to be fast or smooth. The need to chew the tablets before brushing can be off-putting, especially for people who suffer from dry mouth. Ample saliva or water is necessary.

Further, toothpaste tablets can be costly compared to tubed alternatives. This is expected to hold back sales despite the environmental benefits of tablets. Manufacturers can make inroads with investments into clinical trials to generate scientific data, while collaborating with dental health professionals to promote these products.

Healthy dietary habits, including low sugar, low acid foods, and flossing, are important for consumers to get the best results with toothpaste tablets. They’ll also be helping to save the planet, one tablet at a time.

Sudip Saha is the cofounder of ESOMAR-certified business intelligence and consulting firm, Future Market Insights (FMI). The insights presented here are based on a latest report on Toothpaste Tablets Market by FMI.