If you've read either or both of my posts on cruelty-free toothpaste, you know that I've had a less-than-stellar experience in this category. I've had great success with cruelty-free body wash, shampoo, and face wash, and a bit of a mixed bag in other categories like deodorant and shaving cream. Thus far, however, cruelty-free toothpaste has pretty much been a disaster. Granted, I've only tried two so far, but the Tom's Toothpaste tasted like dirt, and Burt's Bees toothpaste essentially blew up in my hand and I had to throw it out after having only made it through about half of the tube. So, I was a bit discouraged, but far from the point of giving up.
While at Whole Foods, I stood in front of the small section of toothpaste and surveyed my options. Not many. Dozens of options from Tom's, but there's no way I'm trying that again anytime soon. Clearly Tom's has a firm grip on the all natural / cruelty-free toothpaste market. But I did see a handful of options from JASON, whose body wash I've tried in the past (it was just OK). So, I decided to give one of them a try, their Vanilla Mint toothpaste a try. Vanilla and mint are two flavors that I enjoy and it sounded like a winning combination. So, I grabbed the box and took a closer look, and noticed that it said "Fluoride-Free". Huh. I thought all toothpaste had fluoride. So, that seemed kind of weird to me. Having never heard of a fluoride-free toothpaste, I looked at some of the other toothpastes on the shelf, both from JASON as well as from the other brands and a lot of them were also fluoride-free. Still, I'm comfortable with fluoride and looked to see if there was a Vanilla Mint toothpaste with fluoride. But there wasn't. So, I figured I'd give this a try, and I'd look into this whole fluoride-free thing. After doing a few searches and checking out some websites, it seems like the primary issue is water fluoridation. There appears to be quite a bit of concern about fluoride being added to the water supply. If you'd like to find out more about it, there are plenty of sites out there like this one about the "Fluoride Debate." Interestingly, none of these sites seem to address the presence of fluoride in toothpaste as being an issue of concern. Really, it's all about fluoride in the water. In fact, it seems that most tend to feel that the presence of fluoride in toothpaste is still a positive thing. It has been proven to have beneficial effects on your teeth. So, as long as you're using it topically and not ingesting it, all is well. At least that's the impression I got. If I'm off-base here, and you know something about this whole fluoride issue, please enlighten me, as I'm now very curious about it.
Anyway, back to the JASON Vanilla Mint. I'm actually almost all the way through the tube, so I feel like I can give a pretty informed review. Right off the bat, I really enjoyed the taste of it. Neither the vanilla or the mint are overpowering. It is a very pleasant combination of the two flavors. The color paste is a little bit on the beige side, as I've now become accustomed to. And it's certainly more chalky than Crest or Colgate, or any of the 'non-natural' toothpaste. It foams up nicely, so you really don't need to use much. And my teeth look and feel clean after using it. I don't have that strong, fresh minty mouth feel that I typically get with most other toothpastes that are strictly a mint flavor. I think the presence of the vanilla mellows out the mintyness a little bit. My mouth still feels clean, mind you, just not minty fresh.
I really enjoy the JASON Vanilla Mint, and I'm thrilled that I was actually able to find a cruelty-free toothpaste that I like. However, I'm not convinced on the fluoride-free issue, particularly after doing a little bit of research on the subject. I think, for my next toothpaste, I'll stick with JASON, but go with an option that does contain fluoride (yes, they have toothpastes with fluoride, as do Tom's and the other brands).