I might be a bit “obsessive” when it comes to packing well. I enjoy a well-packed carry-on — one that’s not only light but also takes into account things like minimizing liquids. Which is how I came to start brushing my teeth with dirt — well, The Dirt — when I travel.
Vagabondish is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read our disclosure.
Let me explain.
For years, I’ve pared down my travel kit with the obsessiveness of a hoarder, but in reverse. It started when I was traveling the Caribbean and Mexico for two weeks every month. I decided to shave my head. This was partly out of comfort since no hair means less heat retention, but it also meant I could pack less in my toiletries bag (no more shampoo or giant cans of Aquanet!).
I started packing only a sliver of emergency soap on the off-chance that my hotel didn’t have any (rare). But, for the most part, I relied on my hotel’s free bath products. And I got by just fine.
But, I still had to pack liquid toothpaste. Which really put a crimp in the goal of downsizing my liquids. This is important because, frankly, the fewer liquids I carry on, the more room I have in my tiny, TSA-approved Ziploc bag for bottles of bourbon. Amiright?
Then, I found out about The Dirt — a non-liquid “Trace Mineral Tooth Brushing Powder.” So, of course, I disappeared down the rabbit hole to find out what the hell powdered toothpaste was. I read way more reviews and science and the Wikipedia page for “bentonite clay” than any person should need to read in a lifetime.
Then I bought some. This is what I’ve found so far …
The Dirt Tooth Powder Review
The Skinny on The Dirt Powdered Toothpaste
So … what is it? The company describes The Dirt tooth powder as:
… an all natural and fun alternative to toothpaste! Our powder is made with ingredients so safe you could eat them.
To use, simply tap a damp toothbrush into a jar of The Dirt and watch it stick to your brush like magic! Brush as you normally would, to reveal healthy clean teeth naturally!
The company goes on to say that it’s:
Easy to use
100% Natural Ingredients
A little goes a long way! Up to 6 months of servings in one large jar.
Tastes great naturally (no GMO-derived Xylitol)
No corn, soy or gluten
That’s all stuff my teeth like to hear!
What’s In It?
I opted for the Super Mint flavor which contains only all-natural ingredients including:
I was skeptical that dipping a damp toothbrush in a jar full of fine powder would result in a sticky, gunky mess. But, it’s surprisingly clean and straightforward to use.
You wet your toothbrush and tap off the excess water. Then, dip the damp bristles into the jar of The Dirt. Finally, tap off the excess powder and brush as normal.
I expected it to feel gritty like trying to dry-brush with sidewalk chalk. But the natural moisture in your mouth is enough to make it feel like you’re brushing with regular, non- powdered toothpaste. It’s not quite as silky smooth as toothpaste, maybe 80% as smooth. The difference is negligible.
How Does It Taste?
The Dirt has a smooth, subtle mintiness that doesn’t feel like it’s carpet-bombing my mouth.
In a word: delicious! After my first use, I realized just how chemically most commercial toothpaste tastes. The Super Mint flavor of The Dirt has a smooth, subtle mintiness that doesn’t feel like it’s carpet-bombing my mouth with CRISPMINTYFRESHNESS!!! to get it clean.
By comparison, the Sensodyne I’ve been using for a few years has a slightly astringent mouthfeel. Like it’s working a little too hard to get my teeth and mouth clean.
The Dirt Tooth Powder Dentist Reviews
Like I said, I read way too much about this. I should, right? Since I’m considering abandoning the 100% ADA-approved fluoride-rich brand-name toothpaste I’ve been using for years. I wanted to hear what dentists had to say.
Most of the reviews and interviews with dentists pointed out two main things. First, the primary active ingredient in The Dirt is bentonite clay. It’s a time-tested, all-natural substance. “The real benefit of bentonite clay is that it is abrasive enough to remove the plaque, but not so much so that it will do damage to your enamel,” William Graves, DMD told Self magazine.
To get scientific: silica is a common abrasive used in many brand-name kinds of toothpaste. While tooth enamel is in the middle of the Mohs Hardness Scale at a 5, silica is a 7 (talc hits 1 on the scale, 10 is for diamonds). Clays such as bentonite score around 2 on the hardness scale, making them much less abrasive than silica and unlikely to ever damage tooth enamel. This is, of course, a good thing.
BUT, The Dirt is intentionally free of fluoride. According to the American Dental Association, this is a vital component to help protect your mouth against cavities. It’s been proven to remineralize weak spots in tooth enamel. A spokesperson for the ADA, Dr. Kim Harms, told Yahoo, “The number one big star, the ingredient that can reduce 25 percent of cavities, is fluoride. That’s what you always want to look for in your toothpaste.”
In an interview with Yahoo Beauty, makers of The Dirt countered, “We eschew fluoride in our products, as one of our core beliefs in maintaining good health is to source the nutrition your body needs from whole foods, minerals, and herbs.” They went on to cite European countries like Denmark, Holland, and Sweden tap where water has never been treated with fluoride.
So, fluoride works. Anyone who knows what they’re talking about in the dental world agrees that it works. But, at what cost?
The Dirt Tooth Powder: Before and After
I’ve always taken good care of my teeth: brushing daily, flossing (most of the time), and making sure not to drink too much coffee. Still, the whiteness of my teeth has faded over time. So, I’m not expecting teeth-whitening miracles from using The Dirt. I’m just hoping that it helps.
As for the all-important “before and after” shots … check back in about a month. I’ve only just started using The Dirt, so it’s too early to tell how much of a difference it will or won’t make.
Buy The Dirt Tooth Powder
The Dirt Tooth Powder isn’t cheap. A six-month jar direct from The Dirt website is about $30.
THE DIRT MINERAL TOOTH POWDER: Our all natural tooth brushing powder is an all natural and fun alternative to toothpaste! Simply tap a damp toothbrush into a jar of The Dirt and brush normally to reveal healthy & clean teeth.
CRAFTED WITH NATURAL INGREDIENTS like bentonite clay, natural baking soda, and essential oils that provide great flavor. Our tooth powders come in three refreshing flavors - Super Mint, Sweet Spice & Cinna Mint
GLUTEN FREE & ALLERGEN FRIENDLY: Great for people sensitive or allergic to corn, soy or gluten. The Dirty tooth powder is fluoride, SLS, paraben, and glycerine free. Use with our tongue scraper and mouthwash for optimal benefits!
ORAL HEALTH HERO － Save your teeth and gums with Uncle Harry's tooth powder. Our concentrated powdered paste encourages healthier tooth enamel by nourishing teeth with calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It also helps maintain a naturally alkaline pH that is best for oral health and dental hygiene.
SIMPLE TEETH WHITENING － Contains a blend of calcium carbonate and sea salt to lightly polish enamel and gently remove stains from food and beverages. Mustard seed powder gently brightens the surface of the tooth and revitalizes the appearance of gums.
FRESH BREATH － This remineralizing tooth powder is enhanced with powerful essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus, clove, wintergreen, and oregano to keep your mouth fresh and optimally pH-balanced all day long.
DENTIST RECOMMENDED- total oral care for gum and enamel health. Can be used as an antiseptic gargle. WHITENING TOOTH POWDER- soft polishing effect for whitening teeth and removing stains. High alkalinity to keep bacteria out of your mouth for longer amounts of time.
REMINERALIZING TOOTH POWDER- helps remineralize teeth with calcium, strontium, boron and other trace minerals found in natural salts and calcium carbonate.
LASTS LONGER THAN 2X TOOTHPASTE- our tooth powder packs a PUNCH! A little dab goes a long way. DENTIST RECOMMENDED. Vegan, non GMO and organic ingredients (and it’s edible!).