Hive of bees: bee products can be in toothpaste and so not vegan

Is All Toothpaste Vegan?

Unfortunately, not all toothpaste is vegan. Many high street brands still use ingredients from animal products, and some even use ingredients that are tested on animals.  

However, toothpaste brands have started to follow environmentally-friendly trends and are moving towards the cruelty-free approach! Many of the toothpaste giants are making vegan alternatives to their other toothpaste products in response to trends. But that does not mean that all toothpaste products are vegan.

Reasons why some toothpaste brands may not be vegan:

  1. Animal-based Glycerin
  2. Non-Recyclable Packaging
  3. Bee Products
  4. Animal Testing

1. Animal-based Glycerin

Glycerin is often added to toothpaste to give it its’ texture. Although glycerin can be found in plant-based sources, many businesses find it cheaper to extract glycerin from the fat deposits found in animal bones, such as pigs and cows, instead.

But glycerin can be vegan! Plant-based alternatives to animal-based glycerin can be created but at a higher financial cost.

The process puts triglyceride-rich vegetable fats under pressure with a strong alkali. This causes the glycerine to split from the fatty acids. This creates an odourless, sweet liquid when mixed with water.

2. Non-Recyclable Packaging

Toothpaste tubes are a big pollutant for the planet. Many squeezy toothpaste tubes are not recyclable because they combine different materials together,  including aluminium, to keep the toothpaste fresh. 

This single-use packaging will therefore end up in landfills. When being transported to landfills, reports have shown that when the plastic is light, it can be blown away into rivers and seas.

This can damage the natural habits of sea life and cause great harm to their ecosystems. Although plastic is vegan, recyclable packaging is better for the environment.

Using alternatives that promote recyclable packaging will help to reduce the amount of waste heading to landfills. At Brush Fresh all of our toothpaste tablets come in plastic-free recyclable packaging.

3. They Contain Bee Products

Toothpaste brands love to add propolis to their products. Propolis extract is said to have antimicrobial properties and so toothpaste acts against tooth plaque build-up, as well as killing germs and bacteria. 

Propolis is a waxy substance that bees form when trying to seal gaps in their hive to deter intruders. It is formed when bees mix their saliva with beeswax compounds from plants.

This animal-based product is taken and separated when extracting beeswax, and is therefore not vegan.

Woman brushing teeth with non-vegan toothpaste

4. They Use Animal Testing

Perhaps the most important point to note is that many brands still use ingredients that test on animals.  

Reports have shown that in 2010, 3.7 million animal testing procedures took place on individual animals. Laws have been put in place since to reduce this statistic, however, animal testing can still occur. 

Huge high-street brands, such as Colgate, have failed tests put in place by Logical Harmony to determine if a company is against animal testing. 

They have released a statement regarding this:

‘Animal testing is only conducted where specifically required by regulatory agencies or where alternative testing methods are unavailable to ensure the safety of our products. In such limited instances, the tests are conducted only at contract testing facilities that meet both government standards and the more rigorous requirements established by Colgate with input from animal welfare groups.’

Progress is being made regarding animal testing, but this does not mean that it has stopped. Purchasing from brands that promote cruelty-free and vegan products is the best alternative.


We have seen that many high-street toothpaste brands do not practise vegan approaches to the manufacturing process of their products.

Some brands have started moving towards vegan-friendly products, although the company overall does not apply cruelty-free nature to all of their products. The Vegan Trademark coined by The Vegan Society has started to introduce this to individual products to encourage companies to start introducing vegan items to their range.

However, there are amazing and refreshing vegan toothpaste alternatives available on the market

Brush Fresh Co. is founded and run by a group of UK-based dentists, who specialise in environmentally-friendly and sustainable dental products. From biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to zero waste toothbrush tablets, our product range has been designed to put both your dental health and the environment first. For more information and dental care advice, head over to our blog page or get in contact with us here.


Written by Luthien, for Brush Fresh Co.

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