There are two trends I see, particularly among my more “crunchy” friends. By crunchy I mean that they are looking to give products a shot that are “all-natural” and an alternative to mainstream foods, medicines, and hygiene products. Our culture is increasingly open to these kinds of alternatives and increasingly aware of the potentially harmful effects of many products and foods we unknowingly consume.
A second trend I see is that people are more and more interested in the diets and healthy practices of other cultures. How many people have bought themselves some Yoga pants recently, even if they never go to Yoga? India is particularly fascinating, with its ancient culture marinating in the warm lush subcontinent for thousands of years. Most of us know about Hinduism, and Yoga, and Curry, but I had never heard of Ayurveda medicine until my encounter with an herbal toothpaste.
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine from ancient India. It seeks to treat physical, mental and emotional health together using natural substances (like herbs and oils) as well as exercise and meditation. Much of its emphasis is on maintaining health and preventing problems rather than treating symptoms. There is obviously much more that I could say about Ayurveda and its practices, but let me get to the toothpaste.
On their website the company Auromere describes itself as a non-profit, 30 year old community business introducing Ayurveda to the United States. They offer a variety of products in the areas of body care and conscious healthy living as well as books and educational materials.
The Auromere toothpaste is available in 5 varieties: Licorice (which is labeled as the “perennial favorite”), Fresh Mint, Foam-free Fresh Mint, Mint-Free, and Foam-free Cardamom Fennel. They can be purchased as individual tubes, in packs of tubes, or in travel sizes. The going rate from various online sources seems to be a little over one dollar an ounce.
The toothpaste is Fluoride-free, Gluten-free, and has no bleaches, artificial sweeteners, or artificial coloring. A noticeable claim on the website and packaging is that the products are also ‘cruelty-free’, meaning they were not tested on animals.
The ingredient list is lengthy but frankly, it also sounds exotically tasty. It begins with “Fine Chalk” (which serves as the gritty ‘exfoliating’ factor I presume), glycerin, and water, but then you get a long list of the 23 herbal ingredients that make this an Ayurvedic product. Amongst them are cinnamon, licorice, pomegranate, clove, and sarsaparilla. The two that get special attention on the exterior packaging are Neem and Peelu, the “Toothbrush trees”. Twigs from these two trees and their botanical relatives were often chewed by ancient peoples as a means of cleaning their teeth.
The box and tube packaging are positively shouting health at me. An image of a colorful blooming plant curves in on the right of the blue exterior. The tube contains 4.6 ounces, which does not seem like much for the cost, but the box instructs you to use less per brushing than a normal toothpaste. It says it improves sensitivity and removes plaque and tartar, so all the functions you would expect from a store brand toothpaste.
The Auromere paste certainly looks different and tastes different. The color is a brownish-beige , and its consistency is thicker and ‘goopier’ when squeezed onto the brush. The texture in my mouth is somewhat gritty, I assume from the fine chalk and bark components. Also, this paste is noticeably foamier than my usual stuff.
The taste is unlike any dental product I have used. I mean that in both a good way and an alarming way. We are all so accustomed to straightforward mint flavors in toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc. The flavor here is honestly a cacophony of tastes. I certainly detect licorice, and cardamom, and anise, and mint as well but it is not dominant. The aftertaste, and the breath affect, are just different. Personally, I like it. The gritty texture also makes me feel as though it is effectively cleaning.
I think the non-typical taste here might be the biggest turn-off for certain users. I enjoy rich spices and flavor blends, and so I enjoyed it, but someone who does not like these flavors, particularly fennel/licorice, might find the experience unpleasant and look elsewhere.
Amongst the natural ingredients, some shoppers might be surprised to see SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) included in a product like this. SLS is a foaming agent (hence the extra foaming) that some believe strips natural oils from the body, so that may cause them to use another natural alternative.
Finally, the price. As with most natural/organic alternatives, you will pay a bit more to get it. From most outlets I could find, this paste is about 3 to 4 times as much per ounce. To be fair, the instructions do say to use less of it at a time.
Auromere Toothpaste Wrap Up
Auromere toothpaste is a unique alternative to using toothpastes with standard fluoride or even baking soda, salt or other natural toothpastes I have seen. Many people may be attracted to the additional purported health benefits of the Ayurvedic herbs and oils, beyond just the paste’s ability to clean teeth. If the flavors and non-mint breath effect are not an issue, and you are willing to pay for a natural alternative, this may for you.