So I thought I found my dream toothpaste--Tom's of Maine fennel paste. When I read about it, I thought it was perfect--fennel (licorice) flavored, WITH flouride, but WITHOUT SLS (some chemical that makes toothpaste foamy--I don't have any specific problems with it, but why use it if I don't need it?), and NO artificial sweeteners. And it had some sort of natural abrasive for whitening, which I thought could be great. Regular whitening chemicals make my teeth hurt. A lot.
Although most stores carry Tom's of Maine products now, I couldn't find any drug stores or grocery stores that had this *specific* toothpaste in it. So I resorted to ordering a couple tubes online from drugstore.com (while also strategically ordering other products we needed to make sure I got free shipping. I never order stuff online unless I get free shipping!).
Two big things about this toothpaste: It is barely licorice-y at all. It tastes like nothing. And secondly, although it doesn't taste like anything specific, it is SWEET. I mean, I guess it's not sweet compared to your regular Colgate and Crest products (in fact it's probably much less sweet than those), but for a product that has "no artificial sweeteners," it is tooth-achingly sweet. I'm sure I'm biased because I've been using the fennel toothpaste from Trader Joe's for the past few weeks and it's only the slightest bit sweet, but when I first put this in my mouth it tasted disgustingly candy-like. And the fact that it didn't have any fake sugar in it made me think...is there REAL sugar in this instead?? How can it possibly be this sweet without any fake sugar in it???
Of course, the ingredient list doesn't include SUGAR or CORN SYRUP on it or anything. But it does list "natural flavorings" which makes me suspicious. Hey...just because they're not sprinkling refined white sugar into this toothpaste, it doesn't mean there's no sugar in there. And just because it's not sugar on its own doesn't mean it's okay to brush your teeth with. I'm pretty sure whatever germs cause my cavities wouldn't reject naturally occurring sugar because they prefer refined sugar. I mean...I wouldn't brush my teeth with 100% fruit juice with fluoride added to it, right?
So I'm a bit torn. What's worse? Brushing your teeth with no flouride, or brushing your teeth with flouride+sugar? I've been trying to force myself to get used to this Tom's toothpaste, but I don't know if I can get over the sweetness that I know is real sugar. It also doesn't freshen the breath at all since the fennel is so weak. Luckily, Tom's of Maine has a great satisfaction guarantee where they'll refund the price of all their products and even pay for shipping back to them. I may end up taking them up on that offer.