Product Type: Lush Oral Care
Newest Review: ... too. To use them you just take one from the box, crush it between your front teeth and brush like you would with any "normal" ... more
Clean teeth and fresh breath...without the yucky mint
Lush Sparkle Toothy Tabs
Member Name: sandemp
Lush Sparkle Toothy Tabs
Advantages: Clean teeth, freshen breath, no waste, small packaging, not mint
Disadvantages: Addition of saccharine
Something that most toothpaste manufacturers don't seem to realise is that not everybody loves or even likes the taste of mint. I'm one of those people who really doesn't like the taste of mainstream toothpaste, whether it be spearmint, cool mint, ice blast or just bog standard mint. My dislike of the taste of mint makes brushing my teeth a nauseating business accompanied by much gagging. At least that was the case until Lush brought out their range of solid toothpaste in the form of Toothy Tabs and more specifically the Sparkle Toothy Tabs. My first introduction to these tabs was via a very generous sample I was handed by an assistant in my local store, where I was handed a fairly small box containing not one or two but a total of eight little tabs that gave me four days to test them and decide whether they were worth spending the little extra on, or not. Before I go any further I'm going to tell you that I did, indeed buy a box of these, so you already know that I'm still using them and actually quite like them.
Under normal circumstances the packaging of toothpaste wouldn't really be something to comment on, after all a tube is a tube, but as this is a very unusual type of toothpaste there really is something to say about it. The 12 grams of toothy tabs come supplied in a very small cardboard box that is no bigger than a matchbox. This box is made from recycled cardboard which obviously can be put into the recycling when empty, meaning that it is far more environmentally friendly than your standard tube of toothpaste. The box is opened by pushing the inner box through the sleeve (again much like a box of matches) to reveal a small opening through which the tabs can be dispensed. In terms of decoration the box certainly is functional rather than stylish, being simply black with white writing, telling us that these are Sparkle Toothy Tabs along with an ingredient list and directions for use. What I particularly like about this packaging is how compact it is, it takes up far less room than a standard tube of toothpaste and can be easily slipped into a handbag for freshening up the mouth on a night out. I would also imagine that one of these boxes would be brilliant if space is at a premium when packing your hand luggage for a flight. What I don't like about the packaging is that being made of cardboard it's not at all water resistant and the tabs do not react well to getting wet, which is a bit of a problem considering that they are used in what is probably the dampest room in the home, that is the bathroom. In order to keep mine dry I don't actually keep the box in the bathroom, but instead I keep them in my bedroom.
Within each box there are 12 grams of tabs, which equates to approximately 40 tabs for a fairly reasonable £2.50. Although on first appearance this seems quite expensive for a toothpaste, a small tube of high end toothpaste easily costs the same amount or more. Each tab is fairly small (about the size of a parma violet, if you remember those sweets), a yellowish colour with black specks and has very little scent. To use these tabs you simply put one in your mouth, chew it and then brush with a damp toothbrush. When first putting one in your mouth there is very little taste and certainly no foam but once the toothbrush is introduced it does foam up at least as much as conventional toothpaste if not more.
As I brush my teeth my mouth is filled with a thick white foam that easily lasts the recommended three minutes brushing time. Taste-wise this is very difficult to describe, initially there is very little flavour, but as brushing continues there is a slight hint of citrus mixed with a touch of bicarbonate and salt and then as the end of the brushing time approaches there is a definite flush of pepper that warms the mouth and especially the tongue. After brushing my teeth they feel smooth and clean, my breathe is fresh and the warm tinges my tongue for about five minutes. While I wouldn't say that this is the best toothpaste I've ever used for cleaning and whitening my teeth whilst freshening my breath, it's not the worst either with the bonus that as it doesn't taste of mint, it doesn't make me gag. It doesn't particularly change the taste of either drink or food afterwards either.
==The Green Factor==
As these toothy tabs are the brain child of Lush, it's only to be expected that they contain as few artificial ingredients as possible. Normally I wouldn't bother going through the ingredients individually, but as this is advertised as being a safer, more natural tooth paste and it does contain a few chemicals that I wasn't aware of, I did do some research.
The very first ingredient listed is Dicalcium Phosphate Anhydrous, which sounds pretty scary but on Googling proves to be the anhydrous form of a compound that is often added to toothpastes as a tartar control agent or a dietary supplement added to foods. From the limited research I have done, there is no evidence that there are any health problems associated with this compound and indeed even ingesting it will be of limited benefit rather than harm.
Next in the list is Sodium Bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, which is often added to whitening toothpastes due to its gentle abrasive qualities. As well as helping clean your teeth with it's abrasive action it also "softens" water which will help make any foaming action more effective. Following on from the sodium bicarbonate we have cream of tartar, a by-product of the wine making industry commonly used in baking, I'm really starting to wonder whether the creator of these tabs simply got all their baking ingredients out and then played with them. As well being used in baking Cream of Tartar (or Potassium bitartrate to give it it's scientific name) can also be used as a cleaning agent. As with the previous two ingredients I can find nothing to suggest this causes health issues (much as you would expect from something that is commonly added to food).
I'm now becoming positive that the inventor had a baking cupboard just like mine as the next ingredient is glycerine, another completely safe product that I'm assuming is used to hold the different dry ingredients together in a tablet form. The next ingredient, Lauroyl Sarcosine, sounds a lot more scary, but is again considered safe and is used as a foaming agent (a very effective one in this case). Kaolin, a mud otherwise known as China Clay is also in the mix, although I personally can neither see or taste it. Although it is used as a cleansing agent in other Lush products, in this case I believe it is used to add bulk.
The next batch of ingredients are all to add flavour and breath freshening qualities and include lemon peel, lemon oil, limonene (occurs naturally in essential oils), black pepper oil, grapefruit oil and black pepper. These all work together, along with the ubiquitous "flavour" to produce an unusual but not unpleasant taste that I far prefer to any mint flavour. It's worth noting here that the black pepper is fair trade, meaning that the growers get a fair price for it. It's also worth pointing out that if you are allergic to grapefruit (like my mother) then this is not suitable for you. Citric acid is also added to this mix, where as well as helping preserve the tabs it also imparts lemon-like fragrance along with citral, the component of many citrus oils that provides the scent.
The final ingredients are fine sea salt which is cleansing and antiseptic along with again having a mild abrasive action to help clean your teeth and Sodium Saccharine an artificial sweetener. Over the years there have been concerns about the safety of sodium saccharine, with it causing cancer in rats. Although further research has stated that it does not cause cancer in humans, saccharine is a sweetener that I do try to avoid and to be honest I'm a little disappointed that Lush felt fit to add it.
All in all, while most of the ingredients are natural and from what I can gather safe, I am disappointed by the addition of saccharine, which is only really there to make the taste more palatable. I do, however, like the fact that the packaging is made from recycled cardboard which can be either recycled or composted when empty and the fact that there is no waste. As each tab is perfect for one three minute brushing there's no worry that I'm using too much (or not enough) and no struggling to get the last little bit out of a tube. So these are far more environmentally friendly than conventional toothpaste and also much kinder to me. In common with all Lush products these are also suitable for vegetarians, and indeed these are also suitable for vegans. As a final bonus I can use these safe in the knowledge that no bunnies have been harmed just so I can have clean teeth as these haven't been tested on animals.
Lush Sparkle Toothy Tabs are an innovative and pretty decent way of cleaning your teeth. They taste reasonably good, have a mild citrus flavour with a kick of pepper that warms the mouth. They also make my teeth feel very clean and smooth, although I really can't say that I've seen a huge improvement in whiteness. The packaging is also a brilliant concept, it takes up barely any room in my toiletry bag, leaving more space for other essentials (such as mascara). I also love the fact that there's no chance of using too much or too little, each tab is perfect for one tooth-brushing (don't try using half though, because half doesn't produce enough foam). Once you get used to the concept of a "dry" toothpaste, these are brilliant and so much better for the environment. Oh and I simply love the fact that they don't taste of mint, it's brilliant that someone has finally realised that not everybody likes the taste of mint.
So I'm going to give Lush Sparkle Toothy Tabs four stars out of five, as I love everything about them apart from the addition of sodium saccharine and would recommend everyone give them a try. Once you've got used to the fact that they taste of citrus rather than mint, they are simply wonderful.
Summary: Innovative tooth cleaning product that actually works
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