In response to HOW TO: Find (good) toothpaste in Japan, some people were wondering about other types of Japanese toothpaste (aside from Aquafresh, which was used as an example in the "how to" post). Can you find whitening toothpaste in Japan? What about natural toothpaste? What other Japanese brands are available?
Depending on where you go in Japan, you’ll likely find a varied selection of toothpaste options. Some stores will have more variety than others and larger cities may have a greater selection than what you might find in a small town. Nonetheless, it is always possible to find a myriad of choices online if nothing near you seems appealing.
I want to cover some ingredients and things to look for here, as a general guide - you'll want to check the ingredients list to confirm what a particular type has to be sure of what you're getting inside.
And, if you're wondering about the basic vocabulary for toothpaste, please refer to HOW TO: Find (good) toothpaste in Japan.
Japanese Toothpaste Brands and Makers
The main makers of toothpaste in Japan include: Lion, Kao, Earth Chemical and Sunstar. Some common brands (though not comprehensive, as there are many) are:
Clear Clean クリアクリーン
Pure Ora ピュオーラ
GlaxoSmithKline but under Earth Chemical in Japan:
*Note: there are other brands by other makers, including natural brands, but the list is far too long to write out here.
美白歯磨き or ホワイトニング or ホワイト
Yes, whitening toothpaste is available in Japan, though like most whitening toothpaste (at least in the US), it is the abrasives in it that essentially “whiten” the teeth, not peroxide. I wasn’t able to find any toothpaste with peroxide, and think Japan may have strict rules regarding this (if you know anything about this, feel free to comment).
Though, you can get your teeth whitened at some dentist offices and/or consult them for at-home whitening kits (as far as I’ve been able to find). If you know differently, feel free to add a comment below.
Common Toothpaste Ingredients
calcium carbonate 炭酸 Ca
silica シリカ or 無水ケイ酸
Lubricants (stuff that keeps toothpaste from drying)
glycerol, glycerin 濃グリセリン
Flavoring - 香料 , such as ユーカリタイプ or クールミントタイプ
saccharin サッカリンNa (artificial sweetener)
Other common ingredients
Note that not every toothpaste will contain all of the following ingredients - I gathered these from looking at a variety of different brands and types. Some may be relatively common, such as ethanol.
benzethonium chloride 塩化ベンゼトニウム (antimicrobial)
triclosan トリクロサン (antimicrobial)
sodium monofluorophosphate モノフルオロリン酸ナトリウム (protect enamel from cavities; used in Colgate and Crest)
polyethylene glycol PEG-12 (humectant)
dipotassium glycyrrhizate グリチルリチン酸2カリウム
tocopherol トコフェロール (antioxidant/Vitamin E)
sodium lauryl sulfate ラウリル硫酸塩 or ラウロイルサルコシンナトリウム or ラウリル硫酸ナトリウム or ラウリル硫酸Na
baking soda 炭酸水素ナトリウム
Note: Most Japanese toothpaste does contain fluoride (fluorine). I wrote about it in the previous toothpaste post, but you'll want to look for フッ素 or フッ化ナトリウム. But I've checked, and more often than not I've found it to be included (though you can also get toothpaste without, if you prefer).
Top 10 toothpaste brands found in a Japanese drugstore/supermarket
(According to cosme.net on July 19, 2011)
1. GUM デンタルペースト
GUM Dental Paste
2. アラウ せっけんハミガキ
Arau Sekken (soap) Hamigaki (toothpaste) ← preservative free
3. コープ ノンフォームハミガキノーマルタイプ
Coop Non-foaming Toothpaste Normal Type ← preservative free
Yakuyou (Medicinal use) Shumitect
5. リベルタ 口臭予防はみがき デンティス
Liberta Bad Breath/Halitosis Prevention Toothpaste Dentiste
6. シャボン玉石けん ハミガキ
Shabon Soap Toothpaste ← preservative free
Tobacco by Lion
8. ディープクリーン 薬用バイタル ハミガキ
Deep Clean Medicinal Vital Toothpaste
9. クリアクリーン Change（チェンジ） しゃきっとハーブ
Clear Clean Change Refreshing Herb
Apagard M Plus
Though you can order or find toothpaste such as Tom’s of Maine in Japan, you can also quite easily find other natural and/or additive-free toothpastes in Japan. A few brands include (not comprehensive):
Pax Naturon パックスナチュロン
M mark (Mマーク) by Matsuyama (松山油脂)
So, if you’re in Japan and thinking there is no possible substitute for whatever brand of toothpaste you used in your home country (assuming you can’t find it on Amazon, Flying Pig, Foreign Buyer’s Club, or elsewhere), rest assured that you can find toothpaste to match whatever you are currently using, and there are plenty of other options if you’re looking for something new.
Have you tried toothpaste in Japan? Any favorites?