We Washed Our Teeth With Norma Kamali’s Tooth Soap

There are certain parts of my beauty regimen that are so routine, I don’t even really think about them. My two-step hair custom (roll out of bed, spritz on salt spray, finito) is one of them; my weekly brush cleansing is another (I do it while watching Freaks and Geeks). And, brushing my teeth every morning and almost every night is the last. The latter is a habit we were all forced to master once our first tooth came, and we haven’t really given it much thought since. 

But, when I had a recent interview with fashion designer Norma Kamali, she told me she didn’t use toothpaste. “Okay,” I asked. “But, then how do you care for your teeth?” Kamali went on to tell me that conventional toothpastes have a ton of added sugar in them, so she did some research and came across Tooth Soap. The brand doesn’t add any sugars to its cleansing soap, making it a lot more user-friendly than a typical toothpaste.

Of course, I was instantly intrigued. I’m typically one to believe that natural, organic products aren’t exactly as effective as their chemical counterparts. But, for some reason, I was kind of dying to give this tooth soap a shot. So, I decided to take the product out for a test-drive, effectively shaking up my twice-daily teeth ritual for the first time in 24 years. Click on to see if I survived. (Spoiler: I did.)

1

I have to admit: I was kind of bummed to see that my tooth soap wasn’t actually in bar form. There was something pretty hilarious about the thought of scrubbing my teeth with a product that looked like it came out of my shower, but I digress. 

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Instead of a bar, I was presented with a dropper bottle filled with oily-looking liquid. And, that makes sense. Of the four (count ’em) ingredients in the tooth soap, two of them are oils: olive and coconut. What Kamali’s tooth soap doesn’t include is fluoride. 

Tooth Soap Liquid Tooth Soap, $29.95, available at The Wellness Cafe.

2

The first morning of my little tooth-soap experiment, I woke up and faced my sink. The directions told me to add two drops onto a wet toothbrush and then go to town. I never expected this stuff to foam like typical toothpaste. But, surprise! It totally does.

I brushed normally and was actually taken aback by the taste. The soap is flavored with essential oils, and I pulled cinnamon. Now, I’m typically not a huge fan of cinnamon — Big Red gum is way too spicy for me. But, I was pleasantly surprised by its flavor. It was never overpowering and left my mouth feeling crazy clean.

That was the other thing that surprised me: My mouth actually felt clean. Like, after-dentist clean. I didn’t have that chalky fluoride taste in my mouth, but it was still refreshing.

3

After I finished up my evening routine, I turned again to my tooth soap. But, this time, I wanted to try another tip Kamali told me. She claimed in the interview that she used the tooth soap for oil pulling as well as teeth cleaning. “I swish it around in my mouth, and it pulls the bacteria out of my system,” she told me. “I’ve gotten in the habit of doing that, and I really do think it makes a difference.”

That was all I needed. After brushing my teeth, I kept the stuff in my mouth and swished. I lasted about five seconds before spitting it out, almost gagging and realizing I should probably use a fresh batch of tooth soap — not the one contaminated with the gunk left over in my mouth from the day. Good thinking, Maria.

The fresh batch went over a lot better, and I was able to pull for a full 20 minutes without feeling sick. I spat and went to bed, once again marveling at how insanely clean my mouth felt.

4

At the end of the week, I just kept on using my tooth soap. And, truth be told, I don’t see myself going back to traditional toothpaste. This stuff works just as well and serves a dual purpose.

Embarrassing confession alert: I’ve always had a problem with halitosis, which is just a fancy way of saying that my breath can get a little funky. It’s apparently hereditary — my brothers and father both deal with it as well, no matter how much we brush and floss and chew gum. With the tooth soap, though, I found that my breath was neutralized. It didn’t smell bad, but it didn’t have that cloying, minty scent to it. It literally just didn’t smell like anything — a revelation I was very happy to make.

Has the tooth soap cured me of my side-eye toward all things natural? Not necessarily. But, it absolutely has made me more aware of what I put into my body. My tooth routine hasn’t changed all that much — I’m just using soap instead of paste to cleanse. Nothing strange about that.

Photographed by Meagan Long.

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