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I am not entirely sure why I have not written about this toothpaste earlier. Perhaps I thought that it was not a sufficiently ‘mainstream’ product for many readers to be particularly interested. Over the last few months, however, I have become increasingly aware that more and more people are using it. On occasions when I have visited friends and family members in their homes, and made the inevitable trip to the bathroom, I have noticed that familiar tube sitting among the tooth-cleaning paraphernalia. When a conversation has ensued about the product, I find without exception that its owners are very positive about it. The final nudge to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) came when I realised that Ciao had already set up a product profile for Aloe Dent, as yet lacking a review. So here goes……..
What does it contain?
The manufacturers assure that the toothpaste is made from ingredients which are of “100% natural origin”. Toothpastes, in general, can often contain products such as sodium lauryl sulphate which produces a lather, artificial flavouring, artificial colours, and preservatives such as methylparaben and ethylparaben. Of course, these ingredients and the finished products are tested and approved for dental use and I do not wish to cast any doubt on their value or safety. However, some people have allergies or sensitivities to some of these components and increasingly, consumers are becoming concerned about unnecessary additives, both in the products we eat and those we use on (or in) our bodies. It is of interest that it is possible to manufacture a toothpaste free from these chemical additions. I will provide a full ingredients list at the end of the review, but for the moment I would like to concentrate on the ‘active’ ingredients only. This list - printed on the toothpaste tube and the presentation box - reads as follows:
Aloe Vera - natural soothing gel
Co-Q10 - for healthy gums
Tea Tree Oil - natural antiseptic
Chitosan - attacks bacteria
Silica - natural whitener
Horse Chestnut - for healthy gums
Peppermint - natural flavour
Menthol - natural flavour
For me, three of the ingredients stand out: Aloe Vera, as I have found this to be a superb ingredient in any skin care product given its propensity to soothe and moisturise; Tea Tree Oil, which is an excellent antiseptic; Horse Chestnut which is an ingredient herbalists use to heal and support capillaries and veins and is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
What do I look out for in the store?
You will see a cardboard presentation box - typical of the shape and size for a toothpaste product - which bears rather a lot of quite vivid green print and styling against a white background. The wording “Aloe Dent toothpaste” is printed clearly and sits alongside an image of a cut aloe vera leaf.
Further information about the product is highlighted on the front and rear faces of the box including a list of active ingredients and their purpose; the full list of ingredients, a list highlighting the benefits of the paste, the manufacturers contact address (which has recently undergone a change) and the assuring statement that “this product has not been tested on animals”. You will also see a green strip running along the lower edge of the two sides of the box bearing the information: “100% natural origin, fluoride free, sodium lauryl sulphate free”.
The designs and information printed on the tube closely mirrors that on the outer packaging.
How does it appear/feel/taste?
Take a look at the image of the aloe vera leaf on the toothpaste tube (not the box). Look closely at the depiction of a shadow under the leaf - printed in two shades of green. Now look a the paler shade of green. That is pretty much the colour of the paste. Not unique, but unusual for a dentifrice.
Although it is given the standard description ‘toothpaste’ I would describe it more as a gel. Unlike the smooth, creamy-textured products which are familiar to us all, this is a fairly firm, translucent gel. The smell is fresh and minty. When you begin to brush, you will notice that it is rather less "frothy" than some other brands. For me, this is a huge advantage as I absolutely loathe the feeling of “frothing at the mouth” when I am cleaning my teeth. For some users, though, this could be viewed as a negative characteristic.
The taste is minty. Very minty. Not in the light, sweet spearmint style common to so many pastes. This is a strong peppermint flavour and this, coupled with the addition of menthol means that the taste is quite sharp and biting. For that reason, I think this product is unlikely to suit children and possibly even some adults. For me it is just fine, no sickly sweetness but only an extraordinary freshness in your mouth.
Does it work?
It works very well. I do not have the whitest of teeth and I would not expect miracle results from any dental product but with this paste my teeth are visibly cleaned and brightened and my entire mouth feels exceptionally fresh and clean. I have had gum problems in the past this paste has stood out significantly from any other product in terms of improving gum health. I have noticed a marked reduction in gum bleeding. Although the feeling of freshness is apparent with any paste immediately after brushing I find that it is longer lasting with this product. It is more expensive that some regular toothpastes, but not outrageously so and I find that I need to use only a little so it is quite economical in use.
Where do I buy it?
The first time I bought this paste, it was from a small, independent ‘health food store’ where the shop owner recommended it to me. This turned out to be the only type of shop at that time to stock it. After a while, Holland and Barrett began to sell it, meaning that there would be at least one shop in most towns where it could be obtained. I was delighted to discover recently that Waitrose now stock Aloe Dent, along with the online store, Ocado. Not all of these outlets offer the full range of pastes however, so I am referring here to only the original Aloe Dent.
Expect to pay £3.49 at Waitrose, Ocado and Holland & Barrett.
Anything else of note?
For the purposes of the review, I have discussed only the “Original Triple Action Aloe Dent” aloe vera toothpaste (to give it its full title) but there are several variations in the range namely; Aloe Vera Whitening, Aloe Vera Sensitive, Aloe Dent Children’s Toothpaste and Australian Tea Tree Fresh and White Toothpaste.
As I have already mentioned, I think the mint/menthol flavour could be too powerful for children, but any parent who likes the qualities of the paste may be interested in the Aloe Dent Children’s Toothpaste which is said to have a “cool strawberry” flavour.
The full ingredient list for Aloe Dent (Original) reads as follows:
Vegetarians/vegans should be aware that one of the components, carboxymethyl chitosan, described as being of ”marine origin”, is likely to be derived from the shells of crustaceans such as crabs and prawns. The manufacturer has made no claim that the product is suitable for vegetarians.
This toothpaste does not contains fluoride, which some consumers prefer. However the distributor's website states that the range has now been extended to include fluoride.
The tube contains 100ml of toothpaste.
A small logo depicting an opened cosmetic pot and bearing the cipher “12M” can be found on both the tube and the box. This indicates that the toothpaste should be used within twelve months of opening to perform at its best.
The company who distribute Aloe Dent in the UK are William Ransom & Son based in Hertfordshire using the brand name of “Optima Health and Nutrition”.
William Ransom & Son Alexander House, 40a Wilbury Way, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG4 0AP Tel: +44 (0)1462 437615 Fax: +44 (0)1462 420528 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The company website is: www.williamransom.com/home.asp?nid=152&pid=3
An additional product-specific website can be found at: www.aloedent.co.uk/
The Aloe Dent range includes a range of dental care products other than toothpaste (mouth washes, breath fresheners, floss… more reviews, another time!)
So in summary……
For me, this is a high quality and very effective product and the loyal following Aloe Dent has gained is testimony to this but the nature of the texture, flavour and lack of vegetarian credentials mean that it will not suit everyone.