Getting to know vegan dental products

Day by day veganism is growing popular not only in the west but also in India. The trend of shifting to a vegan diet is increasing especially in youngsters. But there is still a section of society that is not aware of what exactly is veganism? Veganism is broadly termed as a way of living that completely excludes animal exploitation or animal cruelty be it in terms of food, clothing, or any other products. A vegan diet is plant-based and devoid of anything of animal origin which includes meat, poultry as well as dairy products.

What are the ingredients in most of the dental products?

In the zest of waking up and going to work all of us simply squeeze the toothpaste on the toothbrush and complete brushing within a blink of an eye. One hardly knows or is interested to know what are the contents of the toothpaste that we use almost every day! Most of the toothpastes contain the following components-

  • Abrasives like aluminium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, silica and hydroxyapatite.
  • Fluoride in the form of sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride.
  • Humectants like xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, propylene glycol.
  • Detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Anti-bacterial agents like triclosan.
  • Flavouring agents in the form of peppermint, spearmint.

Likewise, the most popular mouthwashes contain alcohol, chlorhexidine, triclosan, povidone-iodine, essential oils, fluorides, xylitol, cetylpyridinium chloride, and many more. Also, the most important dental tool called dental floss contains two major synthetic compounds as their main ingredients i.e nylon or Teflon. Nylon is a fiber-forming substance of a long chain polyamide whereas Teflon is the trade name of PTFE i.e polytetrafluoroethylene. And the other raw materials used are wax, flavoring agents, etc to coat the dental floss.

Thus, few of these contents are sourced from animal derivatives while some are processed synthetic compounds. Both of which have equal advantages and disadvantages! 

woman-brushing-her-teeth-with-vegan-toothpaste

Why should we use vegan dental products?

The trend of veganism as mentioned is increasing day by day. People who follow veganism say that veganism is not just about diet but is a lifestyle, a way of living! Most of the companies have captured this trend and are manufacturing vegan products. How can dentistry be far from this growing trend? Thus, more and more companies are manufacturing dental products which are plant-based i.e vegan, eco-friendly and cruelty-free! The concept of cruelty-free is a little different than being vegan.

The term ‘cruelty-free’ denotes any product that is not tested on animals whereas the term vegan means any product that does not contain animal ingredients or is not derived from animal ingredients. The aim of vegan dental products is to respect animal life since they too have an equal right to live, promote plant-based healthy, toxin-free products, and in a way support our ecosystem to get rid of the excess waste that is created.

Which animal-derived ingredients are used in regular dental products?

As mentioned earlier most of the dental products that we use contain animal-derived ingredients or byproducts of animal ingredients. Most of the toothpastes contain glycerin! Glycerin is a clear, odorless liquid at room temperature derived mostly from animal fat. Glycerin helps to prevent the drying of the toothpastes. Xylitol, which is used as humectant in the toothpaste is also derived from animal ingredients. Wax which is used to coat the dental floss or dental tapes is derived from beeswax and hence is not a vegan product. Also, there are other binders like gelatin, gum karaya, gum tragacanth which are also sourced from animal ingredients.

woman-use-vegan-dental-floss

How to identify vegan dental products?

Vegan dental products contain calcium sodium phospho silicate which remineralizes the tooth and prevents tooth sensitivity. Cocamido propyl betaine and sodium methyl cocyl taurate as foaming agents. Potassium acesulfame as a sweetener. While certain companies use sodium lauroyl glutamate and cellulose as surfactants which are plant-based and gentle. One way to identify vegan oral care products is to check the label for vegan dental floss, vegan toothpaste, vegan eco-friendly dental floss, vegan biodegradable dental floss or vegan toothpaste with fluoride. The other way is to check for the ingredients mentioned above. 

What are the benefits of using vegan oral care products?

  • Vegan oral care products are completely natural; plant based and does not contain any harsh or toxic chemicals.
  • Vegan dental products are free from any of the animal derived ingredients.
  • These products are equally effective as regular toothpastes as they contain vegetable derived glycerin, aloe vera, palm oil derivatives which have anti-bacterial properties.
  • Vegan toothpastes contain stevia as a flavoring agent which makes the toothpaste taste better.
  • Many of the cruelty-free vegan toothpastes are not animal tested.

Highlights

  • Many dental companies are manufacturing vegan oral hygiene products to keep up with the trend of veganism.
  • Many people prefer using vegan dental products as part of sustainable living, or on the part of moral or religious grounds.
  • There are numerous advantages of using vegan dental products like being completely plant-based, natural and free from any animal ingredients.
  • Vegan toothpastes and vegan dental floss are equally effective like regular oral hygiene products.
  • Vegan dental products are economical, ecofriendly, biodegradable, free from toxic synthetic compounds and useful.

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Author Bio: Dr Priyanka Bansode has completed her BDS from the prestigious Nair Hospital & Dental College, Mumbai. She has also completed her Post Graduate Fellowship in Microdentistry from Government Dental College, Mumbai and a Post Graduate Dip. In Forensic Science & Related Laws from Mumbai University. Dr Priyanka has a vast and a diverse experience of 11 years in clinical dentistry and has maintained her private practice of 7 years in Pune. She is keenly involved in community oral health and has been part of various diagnostic dental camps, attended several National & State Dental conferences and is an active member of many social organisations. Dr Priyanka was awarded the ‘Swayam siddha Puraskar’ by the Lion’s Club, Pune in 2018 on the eve of International Women’s Day. She believes in creating an awareness on oral health through her blogs.

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