Toothpastes with and without microbeads

Toothpastes with & without microbeads

Toothpastes in the UK do not contain microbeads

As of June 2018, toothpastes containing microbeads can no longer be sold within the UK, doing so is illegal.

Rinse-off cosmetics, that included toothpaste as well as many other products such as face washes could not be produced arter January 2018, and sales stopped in June as a result of the government ruling.

This means that any toothpaste you buy from a reputable retailer in England, Wales or Scotland should not contain microbeads. It is now illegal for these products to be sold.

If you are buying from an online marketplace there is a possibility that a third-party seller has imported a foreign product, but if you want to be sure check our list below of toothpastes that do not contain microbeads.

What are microbeads?

Microbeads are tiny plastic particles, usually smaller than 2mm in size. For years they have been included in various industrial and consumer products, including cosmetic products like toothpaste, face scrubs and body scrubs.

The UK government has passed legislation that bans the use of microbeads in cosmetic products from July 2018.

If you would like to know more about microbeads, The Story of Stuff has a good page on them with FAQs and an explainer video:

In the past microbeads from toothpaste have been found embedded in people’s gums

In 2014 dental hygienist Trish Walraven spotted that plastic microbeads from Crest toothpaste was being embedded in patients’ gums, prompting her to launch her own investigations.

She found that these blue specs (which were microbeads) don’t dissolve in alcohol or acetone, and that Crest avoids stating overtly that they are using polyethylene on their ingredient list on the tube.

Ms Walraven also noted that the beads were getting trapped in the sulcus surrounding teeth. 

Image from dentalbuzz.com

This caused public outrage and a petition to ban the use of microbeads garnered more than 300,000 signatures and in 2016 the UK Government pledged to ban them in cosmetic products. 

How to tell if a product has microbeads

In few instances will a manufacturer make it abundantly clear on the packaging of a product whether it contains microbeads or not.

On most occasions you are going to have to have a good read through the list of ingredients on the packaging or companies website.

Look out for the following words:

  • Polyethylene
  • Polyethylene terephthalate
  • Polypropylene
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Polystyrene
  • Nylon

These are the most comment plastics that make up microbeads.

If the cosmetic product you are looking at has these ingredients, it is highly likely that it contains microbeads.

You want to AVOID cosmetics with these ingredients.

Toothpastes that DON’T contain microplastics / microbeads

As we mentioned at the start of the article, the toothpastes on sale in the UK don’t contain microplastic / microbeads.

However, below you can find a comprehensive list just to be on the safe side. Part of the microplastics problem is that, at present, manufacturers aren’t legally required to list ingredients. So even if you know the chemical names for microplastics, you may still not be able to spot them on an ingredients list simply because they are not included! It’s worth double checking against a list if possible, although as we’ve said UK toothpastes don’t contain them now.

Electric Teeth list of natural toothpastes

There are plenty of natural toothpastes on sale now, many of which we are in the process of reviewing. We haven’t seen these on any other lists, but needless to say these do not contain microplastics:

Fauna & Flora International List of Toothpastes that don’t contain microbeads

  • According to GardenAndGreen.co.uk, this list of toothpastes without microbeads comes from Fauna & Flora (although we were unable to locate it ourselves on their website):
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Active 12 hour protection toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Active whitening fluoride toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Complete care extra fresh toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Complete care toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Complete care whitening toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Fresh & minty toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc High definition white illuminating mint toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc High definition white tingling mint toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Iso-active whitening toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Milk teeth toothpaste
  • Aquafresh GlaxoSmithKline Plc Multiaction whitening toothpaste
  • Arm & Hammer Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Advance white baking soda toothpaste
  • Arm & Hammer Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Advance white intense fresh toothpaste
  • Biotene GlaxoSmithKline Plc New formulation fluoride toothpaste
  • BlanX Coswell S.p.A. Classic whitening toothpaste
  • BlanX Coswell S.p.A. Intense stain removal toothpaste
  • BlanX Coswell S.p.A. White shock formula non abrasive toothpaste
  • BlanX Coswell S.p.A. White shock intensive whitening treatment
  • Boots (Own brand) Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Smile kids ages 6+ spearmint toothpaste
  • Boots (Own brand) Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Smile kids toothpaste ages 2 – 6
  • Boots (Own brand) Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Smile sensitive freshmint toothpaste
  • Boots (Own brand) Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Smile total care toothpaste
  • Boots (Own brand) Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Smile whitening freshmint toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Deep clean whitening with baking soda
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Max fresh cool mint toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Max fresh toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Max white one optic toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Max white shine toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Max white toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Maximum cavity protection plus sugar acid neutraliser kids toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Maximum cavity protection plus sugar acid neutraliser toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Maximum cavity protection plus sugar acid neutraliser whitening toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Sensitive pro relief enamel repair toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Sensitive pro relief plus whitening toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Sensitive pro-relief toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Toothpaste for kids 4-6 years mild flavour
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Total pro gum health toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Total pro gum health whitening toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Cavity protection toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Advanced white toothpaste
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Max white one luminous toothpaste sparkling mint
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Toothpaste for kids 0-3 years mild mint
  • Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company Total interdental toothpaste
  • Corsodyl GlaxoSmithKline Plc Daily extra fresh toothpaste
  • Corsodyl GlaxoSmithKline Plc Daily original toothpaste
  • Corsodyl GlaxoSmithKline Plc Daily whitening toothpaste
  • Dentu-Crème GlaxoSmithKline Plc Denture cleansing toothpaste
  • Euthymol Johnson & Johnson Original toothpaste
  • Hello Kitty Sanrio Co., Ltd Strawberry gel toothpaste
  • iWhite Sylphar NV Whitening mouthwash
  • iWhite Sylphar NV Whitening toothpaste
  • Janina Brodie & Stone International Plc Ultra white enamel repair whitening toothpaste
  • Janina Brodie & Stone International Plc Ultra white extra strength toothpaste
  • Janina Brodie & Stone International Plc Ultra white maxiwhite super strength whitening toothpaste
  • Janina Brodie & Stone International Plc Ultrawhite sensitive whitening toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble 1 2 3 toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble 3D white brilliance toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble 3D white luxe healthy shine toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble 3D white vitalize toothpaste enamel protect
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Complete extra fresh + mouthwash toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Complete mouthwash + whitening toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Pro-expert all-around protection toothpaste – mild mint
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Pro-expert plaque control toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Pro-expert premium gum protection fluoride toothpaste mint
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Pro-expert sensitive + gentle whitening toothpaste
  • Oral B Procter & Gamble Pro-expert whitening toothpaste
  • Pearl Drops Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Instant white
  • Pearl Drops Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Pro-white
  • Pearl Drops Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Restore white toothpaste
  • Pearl Drops Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Ultimate whitening toothpaste
  • Poligrip GlaxoSmithKline Plc Flavour free
  • Rapid white Li & Fung Ltd Blue light tooth whitening system
  • Rapid white Li & Fung Ltd Instant whitening system
  • Rapid white Li & Fung Ltd Instant whitening toothpaste
  • Regenerate Unilever Enamel science advanced toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Basics toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Extracare fresh & whitening toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Extracare sensitive & whitening toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Freshmint toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Kids toothpaste 0-3
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Kids toothpaste 3-6
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Sensitive enamel toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Sensitive toothpaste
  • Sainsbury’s (Own brand) J Sainsbury plc Whitening toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Complete protection extra fresh
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Daily care toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Extra fresh repair & protect toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Extra fresh toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Gentle whitening fluoride toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Iso-active foaming gel whitening fluoride toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Pronamel daily toothpaste for children 6-12 years
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Pronamel daily toothpaste mint
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Pronamel extra freshness toothpaste – fresh mint
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Pronamel gentle whitening fresh mint toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Repair & protect daily toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Whitening repair & protect toothpaste
  • Sensodyne GlaxoSmithKline Plc Classic toothpaste
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Everyday value toothpaste
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Kids strawberry toothpaste
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Original freshmint toothpaste
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Original sensitive toothpaste
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Original whitening toothpaste
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Steps toothpaste 3-6
  • Tesco (Own brand) Tesco PLC Steps toothpaste 6+
  • The Breath Co. Dr. Harold Katz, LLC Fresh breath toothpaste mild mint
  • Thomas & Friends Grosvenor Consumer Products Ltd Sparkling fruity gel fluoride toothpaste
  • UltraDex Peri Products Ltd Low abrasion toothpaste
  • UltraDex Peri Products Ltd Recalcifying & whitening toothpaste
  • White Glo Barros Laboratories Pty Ltd Coffee & tea drinkers whitening toothpaste
  • White Glo Barros Laboratories Pty Ltd Professional choice whitening toothpaste
  • White Glo Barros Laboratories Pty Ltd Sensitive forte + whitening toothpaste
  • White Glo Barros Laboratories Pty Ltd Smokers formula whitening toothpaste

Other resources for checking microbead and microplastic content of products

  • The Beat The Microbead website seems to have the most comprehensive lists, although it doesn’t have lists for UK products at the moment.
  • Fauna & Flora International has a Good Scrub Guide which you can download from this article. This only lists face and body scrubs, but there is another PDF Quick Guide available from this article that lists other bathroom products.
  • The Story of Stuff project has a good Ban the Bead page with a nice explainer video
  • In 2016 Greenpeace published this article examining what different companies are doing about microbeads. Within the article is a link to this PDF  which provides a visual representations of what various companies are doing and their commitment to change.
Jon Love

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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17 thoughts on “Toothpastes with and without microbeads”

    • Hi Brendan.

      Thanks for the comment. At this time we have not created such a list. We hope to do this in the near future. We will be sure to update this article once it is available.

      Reply
      • I bought a tube of Oral B Complete plus Extra white today from Tesco, I’ve used it and there are lots of small blue beads in the wash basin! they don’t dissolve, are these micro beads? I know you said that they are now band, but these look very like them. Its doesn’t mention any of the chemicals in your list on the ingredients. The tubes are being sold at £1 and I wonder if they are selling off stock with beads?

        Reply
        • Hi Nigel.

          They are not allowed to ‘sell off products’ with microbeads as far as I am aware.

          I am not scientifically aware of all the ingredients and their makeup (everything learned is through self-education) and precisely what these blue beads might be.

          I would suggest making contact with Oral-B (https://www.oralb.co.uk/en-gb/contact-us) to see if they can explain.

          Reply
  1. Hi, Thank you for posting and it is really good information. I am a student and doing the research about microbeads and I want you to question that we use toothpaste about 1 or 1.5cm every in the morning, and I like to know how many microbeads in that Centimeter of toothpaste. it will helpful for my project if you have the answer. Thank you.
    Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      Thank you for the question, but I am afraid I cannot answer this for you.

      Toothpaste in the UK is now supplied without microbeads in it as it is against the law to supply paste with this in it.

      I would suggest you direct that question to a manufacturer of a toothpaste that does still produce a paste with microbeads to see if they can advise.

      Reply
    • Hi Roy,

      I cannot say for sure without making contact with Colgate, which I suspect you may have done, however I suspect the Colgate micro cleaning crystals are another form of polymer based ingredient, going by the information published here by Colgate.

      Reply
    • Hi Jilly,

      Best way to share it at present is to pop the link into a tweet/facebook post etc depending on how and where you want to share it.

      Reply
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