I've seen toothpaste tablets and powder kicking about for a couple of years now but I instantly bucketed them into something someone would only use travelling. That was until I tried Pärla, a toothpaste in tablet form, and I'm finally converted for good.
1.5 billion tubes of toothpaste go into landfill or the ocean each year
Created by award-winning dentists Dr Rhona Eskander, Dr Simon Chard, and Dr Adarsh Thanki, Pärla is a solution to the growing climate crisis, which toothpaste contributes to in a huge way. The brand reports that 1.5 billion tubes of toothpaste go into landfill or the ocean each year with the plastic taking an average time of 500-700 years to dissolve. It's the reason why Pärla pledges that by switching from a toothpaste tube to a toothpaste in tablet form, you can actually make a big difference.
So what exactly is a toothpaste tablet? When it comes to Pärla, it's essentially a dehydrated form of toothpaste that does everything the toothpaste in your regular squeezy tube does — it's just used differently. To use Pärla, simply chew the tablet for five seconds, wet your toothbrush (many dentists recommend an electric one), and brush as normal. The tablets come in a small jar, and you can pay for refills (which come in a compostable pouch) every four months with the aim of reducing as much waste as possible. The tablets are also made in the UK, reducing the brand's carbon footprint.
The main reason a lot of people are put off by solid (or powder) toothpaste is because it doesn't foam. But that's something we've just gotten used to over the decades, similar to how we have gotten used to foaming shampoos and foaming cleansers. These products don't need to foam to do their jobs, or to increase their efficacy — we've just come to expect it from them. According to the brand, this foaming comes from the use of palm oil, which is contributing to the deforestation and why it's not included in the tablets. In addition to this, many people find that solid toothpastes aren't very refreshing and can leave your mouth feeling a little chalky, which is where Pärla's smart formulation comes in and makes all the difference.
Among many other effective ingredients, Pärla Pro contain hydroxyapatite, an ingredient that helps to remineralise the teeth; potassium citrate, which works to reduce teeth sensitivity; and calcium carbonate, which helps to gently remove plaque and prevent surface staining. The formula also contains fluoride, which has recently been removed from various toothpastes in an effort to become more "healthy". This is a misconception, and the dentists from Pärla think that removing the ingredient is a big mistake. Fluoride is the most effective treatment against tooth decay, which is why it's proudly a front and centre ingredient in Pärla.
My overall thoughts on Pärla toothpaste tablets is that, yes, they're different from regular toothpaste and do take time getting used to. For me, the environmental benefits hugely outweigh the slightly odd first experience. Despite the lack of foam, my teeth feel just as clean as they do with regular toothpaste, and I find the aftertaste of Pärla Pro is actually fresher. I also found that my teeth were much less sensitive and generally felt great.
All in all, yes Pärla (£5 a month) is more expensive. No, it doesn't foam as much as a toothpaste. So, why make the switch? One reason that is becoming more and more critical every day: the environment.