This is my review for the Boka Ela Mint toothpaste after having used it. I’ll tell you my impressions, thoughts, feelings, and the scientific facts about this oral care product.
Hopefully, this will help you in your decision on whether or not it is the right toothpaste for you.
Disclosure: If you make a purchase after clicking one of our links, we may receive a commission.
Brief history of Boka
Boka was founded by James Hagen in 2016 and his inspiration drew upon his battle with autoimmune disease as a child. He tried numerous conventional therapies and medications but with no results. It was only after he took his health into his own hands by practicing a better lifestyle that he began to improve.
He’s been involved with his parents’ company American Dental Accessories since he was a child. Boka was born through a collaboration with them as he sought to make oral care safer and more effective.
His thoughts were that the average person was uninspired and uneducated about their oral health which is why periodontal disease is still so prevalent. His mission is to use the power of design and voice to encourage better home care.
The products that are available don’t always fit every bathroom’s aesthetic, and the messages can be confusing and clinical.James Hagen
Design is certainly a centerpiece around Boka because we can clearly see it ooze out of how the toothpaste looks. We will go more into that later.
Anyway, the founder has a background in e-commerce, digital marketing, starting consumer brands, and modernizing a catalog company. He also has a MBA from Columbia University.
You can purchase the toothpaste directly from their website, amazon, or any other online distributor for about $12 for a 4 oz (113 g) tube. It is sold as a stand alone tube without a box.
Despite not having a box, the tube does come with tamper-proof packaging which is evident when you unscrew the cap. With the cap off, you can see that it is sealed with a small metal foil for freshness and also to let you know that it’s brand new.
The foil peels off easily so you can start using it right away.
When I first held the Boka Ela Mint toothpaste in my hands, I must say that I really liked how it looked and how it felt.
Rather than a toothpaste, to me it looks more like a luxe cosmetic product. If you don’t read the label, you can very easily mistake it for some kind of face lotion. I’ve placed it next to a whole bunch of skin care products in my bathroom and you can tell it blends right in.
Doesn’t it blend right in?
Well except for the fact that it has a mint green stripe, it does. And no, I don’t use any of those cosmetic products nor are they mine. They’re my significant other’s!
Another thing that stood out to me was how the toothpaste’s plastic tube felt. The plastic felt very smooth and of much higher quality than your typical dentifrices. Once again, it really gives off the aesthetic of a high end cosmetic product rather than a tube of toothpaste.
I think it’s awesome that the product can stand upright unlike most conventional toothpastes. You can see that in the picture above where the other two dentifrices are laying down like they’re dead while the Boka is standing up like a king/queen.
Can you also tell from the picture about the quality of the plastic versus the colgate one? Definitely a much sleeker and nicer material.
It has a total of 25 ingredients but most of them are for flavoring.
- Nano-hydroxyapatite – Used to repair and protect your teeth. It will also decrease sensitivity as well as make your teeth appear whiter.
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – Very mild abrasive for whitening.
- Hydrated silica
- Mentha piperita essential (peppermint oil)
- Mentha viridis (spearmint) oil
- Illicium Verum (Star Anise)
- Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen) leaf oil
- Stevia Rebaudiana Extract Powder – Natural sweetener and sugar substitute.
- Xylitol (birch derived) – Natural sugar alcohol used for flavoring but it also has cavity preventative effects.
- Aloe Barbadensis (aloe Vera) Leaf Juice
- Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract
- Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract
- Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract
- Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract
- Elettaria Cardamomum Miniscula Seed (Cardamom)
- Sorbitol powder
What it’s like using Boka Ela Mint toothpaste
Overall, when I brushed with it, it felt pretty much on par with the other fluoride-free natural toothpastes. This is especially true for the hydroxyapatite based ones. I didn’t really have any complaints with it and because everything felt fine. My teeth felt clean as a whistle.
As with all SLS-free toothpastes, it had very little foaming when I was brushing but that was to be expected. Despite the reduced foaming action, I didn’t really feel like I needed additional toothpaste or anything.
Immediately after I dispensed the Boka toothpaste onto my sonicare toothbrush, what I noticed was its color. This toothpaste has a very translucent or clear color to it when compared to others, which look more opaque.
The picture above doesn’t do it much justice but I promise you, it looks less “white” and a lot more transparent. The reason for the translucency is most likely due to this toothpaste being free of titanium dioxide.
You can compare that to a photo of davids toothpaste above. The color looks more opaque white in comparison. You’ll know what I mean once you squeeze some of your boka out on the toothbrush.
Perhaps a side by side video comparison will make it more obvious.
It smells minty and rightfully so since it has peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, and menthol. The mint smell is not overwhelming nor does it singe your nose hairs.
It tastes minty while brushing and during the first couple of seconds, I did get a rush of mint that traveled to the back of my throat. However, after that one instance it never happened again.
It’s more minty than the davids toothpaste but less minty than your typical breath mint. In other words, even if you dislike mint flavored things, I think it should still be ok.
You know what the taste reminds me of? To me, it tastes very much like wrigleys doublemint gum.
Since it lacks SLS, it has very little foaming when you’re brushing and that gives you less of a mouthfeel if you know what I mean. It tends to thin out as you’re brushing since it’s SLS-free but that is to be expected.
Despite the Boka toothpaste not being as thick, its NOT watery.
I like to do the upside down toothbrush test to evaluate the consistency. When I did it, it did not drip off the toothbrush head so it’s good enough in my book.
Benefits to using Boka Ela Mint toothpaste
The Boka Ela Mint toothpaste is fluoride free and they claim that its made with all ingredients that you can trust. It trades the fluoride for nanohydroxyapatite (nHAP) which may sound foreign but it is by no means alien to the human body.
Our bones and teeth are literally composed of hydroxyapatite (HAP) [Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2]. It is often referred to as bone mineral or tooth mineral and is essentially composed of the minerals calcium and phosphates.
The toothpaste isn’t made of ground up teeth but uses a synthetic nano sized version of hydroxyapatite. You can think of it as a synthetic enamel paste.
Anyway, the main point that we’re trying to get across is that this product is a remineralizing toothpaste because it contains nano-hydroxyapatite. All of its anti-cavity benefits along with a couple of other perks are derived from the inclusion of nHAP in its formulation.
We will be giving a brief overview of what nano-hydroxyapatite can do for your teeth. You should check out our comprehensive guide on nHAP if you want to learn more in depth.
Repairs teeth by reversing small cavities
Nano-hydroxyapatite can repair enamel and reverse small cavities by remineralizing the demineralized tooth structure.
The first stage of tooth decay is demineralization, which is when the tooth loses minerals. Hydroxyapatite toothpastes can reverse this process by adding minerals back into it. Essentially you can repair your tooth simply by brushing with this toothpaste.
Since our teeth are literally made of hydroxyapatite, boka toothpaste which contains the nano version of it can repair the tooth directly. It does so by inserting the hydroxyapatite directly into the demineralized parts of the tooth.
Nano-hydroxyapatite can protect your teeth from acidic insults by forming a sacrificial barrier which also serves as a mineral reservoir.
Since HAP is the same substance as our enamel, it is highly biocompatible and will bond to it. Brushing with it will often form a synthetic layer of enamel that covers over and protects your teeth. You can also think of it as a sacrificial layer because when you eat sweets or acidic foods, it will be the first layer to dissolve and not your enamel.
The dissolution of this protective layer will leave the enamel underneath unscathed. What also occurs is that when the synthetic layer dissolves, it releases the minerals calcium and phosphates which can be used for further remineralization.
- These minerals can be used to remineralize your teeth.
- The phosphate can also act as a buffer by decreasing the acidity in your mouth. Studies have shown that phosphate is one of the buffering systems in the mouth.
Due to the release of calcium and phosphates, you can also think of this protective layer as a reservoir for minerals. It serves a dual purpose and both of them provide a wondrous effect for our teeth.
Decreases teeth sensitivity
Individuals with chronic dentin hypersensitivity often have wide open tubule orifices or enlarged ones. This is in contrast to people without any sensitivity, who have natural smear plugs which block all of the orifices.
When there are no smear plugs and the tubules are open, you’ll have a propensity towards being sensitive. External stimuli can enter into the tubules and either interact with the nerve or components within it. The ultimate result is pain or discomfort.
How the nano-hydroxyapatite works in reducing the symptoms is by inserting itself into all of the tubules. Brushing with it over time will eventually occlude nearly all of the tubules, thus effectively blocking stimuli.
Yes, studies have shown that using it can reduce teeth whitening sensitivity. The study compared whitening with HAP and without it. Of course the one that used hydroxyapatite had less sensitivity. If you normally have sensitive teeth, you should consider switching to this.
Studies have shown that hydroxyapatite can reduce plaque formation on the enamel surfaces.
It acts as more of an anti-adhesive rather than an antibacterial in reducing plaque. That means it does not “kill” the bacteria but merely prevents them from sticking to your enamel.
- The hydroxyapatite can directly bind to the bacteria.
- It also binds to the enamel pellicle receptors, thus preventing bacteria from binding to it.
Essentially, when you brush with this, it covers over the entire tooth thus leaving no space for the bacteria to attach to your tooth. The result of this is less plaque on your enamel surface.
Makes your teeth appear whiter
This toothpaste won’t whiten your teeth chemically but it can make them appear whiter.
How nanohydroxyapatite makes your teeth appear whiter is by turning the surface smoother and glossier. This has to do with how it remineralizes your teeth by inserting itself into demineralized regions.
Since it fills in all of the voids, it makes the tooth smoother which is why a lot of patients reported a “smoothness” feeling from using it. The hydroxyapatite is naturally whitish in color so you essentially see a layer of whiteness over your teeth.
Safe to use
Most importantly, hydroxyapatite based toothpastes are very safe to use with practically very little side effects. It is highly biocompatible and biomimetic since it is identical to what our teeth and bones are made of.
In fact, nothing bad happens if you happen to swallow it because it simply dissolves into calcium and phosphate. If you ingest it, the stomach acids will break it down.
- Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 + 8 H+ → 10 Ca2+ + 6 HPO42- + 2 H2O
Since calcium and phosphate are essential minerals, our bodies will reabsorb them to be used elsewhere once it reaches the intestines. As a matter of fact, there are many people who take calcium hydroxyapatite as a form of calcium supplement.
In other words, if you happen to swallow it you can think of it as taking a calcium supplement. We’re not saying you should purposely eat it.
Aside from that studies have found that hydroxyapatite cannot possess immunotropic or allergenic characteristics. Therefore you can’t be allergic to it.
Is Boka toothpaste a valid alternative to fluoride?
Boka Ela Mint toothpaste with hydroxyapatite is a valid fluoride alternative because it possesses many of the same anti-cavity benefits.
In fact, it is the only type of natural remineralizing agent that can protect your teeth from tooth decay. All of the other natural toothpastes with xylitol, charcoal, herbal and etc do not have these anti-decay benefits.
The hydroxyapatite will enhance remineralization and inhibition demineralization just like fluoride. The only thing that HAP can’t do is strengthen the teeth by converting hydroxyapatite to fluorapatite. That is a unique property to fluoridated toothpastes.
Nonetheless, the remineralization efficacy for both toothpastes have been shown by studies to be roughly equivalent. The conclusion was that HAP was non-inferior in regards to reversing cavities. Therefore nano-hydroxyapatite toothpastes are a valid alternative to fluoridated toothpastes.
In other words, yes the Boka toothpaste can be used in lieu of fluoride and it does get the dentist seal of approval. Well, at least from me since it isn’t technically recognized by the ADA (American Dental Association) just yet.
Overall, I have to say that this is a good toothpaste and you can consider it dentist approved. If you want to give it a try, step right up and go ahead.
Who I think this product is for:
- Fluoride free alternative that can still remineralize teeth.
- Aesthetically looks very good.
However, I can also see why it may not be for others even though it’s personally not an issue for myself.
- Could improve upon zero waste packaging.
- There are some preservatives and surfactants within this toothpaste.
And that concludes the Boka Ela Mint toothpaste dentist review.