What Is Myrrh Toothpaste and What Are Its Benefits?

By Erica Loop in Healthy Feeling

You love classic mint toothpaste, but you're ready to upgrade and diversify your stash of dental care products. As you search the aisles for new, exciting options, you come across something that seems kind of special—myrrh toothpaste. If this naturally infused alternative is new to you, you may be curious to learn what it's all about and how it can spice up your routine.

What Is Myrrh?

To begin your deep dive into myrrh toothpaste, you'll want to start with the main ingredient: myrrh. If the word sounds familiar but you're not quite sure where you've heard it, you're likely not alone. This sap-like resin substance is old school—as in the biblical mention of frankincense and myrrh.

According to Kaiser Permanente Health, myrrh comes from the desert climates of the Middle East and northeastern Africa. Encyclopedia Britannica describes the myrrh tree—which comes from a family of incense trees—as small, thorny, and flowering. The Arabic root of the word "myrrh" is murr, meaning "bitter." Not surprisingly, myrrh is bitter and aromatic.

Of course, this shrubby tree doesn't conveniently fit into a toothpaste tube. For medicinal and personal care products, myrrh is used in the form of a reddish-brown resin harvested from a gummy sap on the tree's branches, stems, and bark. It can also be distilled into an essential oil. According to the American Botanical Council, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists myrrh resins, oil, and extract as an approved food additive and flavoring.

A smiling woman with palm trees in the background.

What Are the Benefits of Myrrh?

Among other products, this earthy scented resin or oil is often infused into toothpaste. But why? A 2021 research review published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research explains some of the potential medicinal benefits of myrrh, including anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. Another 2021 study published in the Saudi Dental Journal concluded that, among participants who underwent tooth extraction, those who used a mouthwash with myrrh extract showed significantly improved wound healing compared with the control group.

Some toothpastes combine myrrh extract with other naturally derived ingredients, such as propolis. Propolis is a sticky bee-made byproduct. Humans have used propolis for millennia to heal wounds and treat viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. A research review in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that propolis may decrease the permeability of dentin—the yellowish part of the tooth beneath the outer enamel layer. By combining the powerful healing properties of nature, products such as Tom's of Maine Propolis and Myrrh toothpaste in fennel can help to optimize your oral health.

When Should You Use Myrrh Toothpaste?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that is often added to toothpaste and other dental care products. It can strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the risks of dental decay, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). While the ADA notes that fluoride is generally safe, some people may prefer an alternative oral care product that doesn't contain this ingredient.

If you would rather not use a fluoride toothpaste, consider exploring myrrh and propolis options. These ingredients can help to support your dental health without the use of fluoride and come in a variety of exciting, earthy flavors, such as fennel and cinnamint.

Two wooden toothbrushes in a glass jar.

If you have a history of oral sores, infections, or other dental issues, always talk to your dentist before adding a new dental care item to your routine. They can help you choose the best products for your individual needs.

Want to learn more about innovations in toothpaste? Check out this brief history about the origins of toothpaste and tooth brushing as we know it.

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The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

Myrrh toothpaste isn't your typical dental care product. If you're exploring the idea of going fluoride free, check out the benefits of this age-old option!