At my son’s recent two year check-up with the pediatrician, I was asked about his teeth brushing habits. I told him my son loves brushing his teeth with us, he mimics us, BUT he doesn’t spit it out, he swallows it all. I also then told the doctor we buy an all-natural toothpaste because I don’t want him swallowing any harmful ingredients.
The doctor proceeded to tell me that fluoride toothpaste isn’t bad, and he should be brushing with it. Any store-bought toothpaste would be okay. It is even good if he swallows it, since we have well water and not city water. He also mentioned he usually prescribes fluoride pills to a child with well water.
I was shocked that the doctor would say this. In all my 32 years, I have never heard of commercial toothpaste being good for you. I have always been told the exact opposite.
Growing up, my mom always invested in all-natural toothpaste because of the dangerous ingredients found in store-bought toothpaste. It wasn’t the sparkly, foamy type the dentist would give us, but it worked.
Why All-Natural Toothpaste?
I was so excited when April, from https://shapelyways.com/, offered to write a post for me about all-natural toothpaste. What great timing, right after my whole doctor issue. She has gone in-depth about the harmful ingredients in toothpaste. Provides a great alternative recipe, descriptions of the ingredients as to why they are good. She also provides tips for brushing, and suggest containers.
All-Natural Toothpaste Homemade
I tried everything.
Having him spit between quadrants, water spitting practice, using less toothpaste, just to name a few. No matter, my five-year-old was swallowing toothpaste when I brushed his teeth. Previously, we brushed with water, but he was older and I thought it was a good idea to add toothpaste.
To be sure he wasn’t ingesting anything unhealthy, I researched common toothpaste ingredients. I was disheartened with my findings.
Harmful Ingredients in Store-Bought Toothpaste
Your favorite toothpaste could be doing more harm than good. Many popular brands are loaded with toxic ingredients making it important to read their label. Here are some additives you want to avoid:
A controversial ingredient since research supports that synthetic fluoride added to toothpaste prevents tooth decay.
Dentists argue that the little amounts you receive in toothpaste are too small to negatively affect you. But what happens to those levels when you use fluoride enriched toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, drinking water, and foods made with fluoridated drinking water?
The picture above and the commercials you see for using toothpaste, use about 5xs more toothpaste than you actually need.
Children are more likely to use larger amounts of toothpaste.
Since 1997, all fluoridated toothpaste must have this warning label:
“Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
Triclosan is used to reduce bacterial contamination and help prevent gingivitis. Although most companies have removed it because it causes a disruption in thyroid hormones and immunity, technically it is still permitted in toothpaste.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):
You may have been warned to avoid this in shampoo, body wash, and conditioners, but it is also added to toothpaste. It gives toothpaste a foamy texture. This helps it get into all the crevices within your mouth.
Unfortunately, this detergent also causes microscopic tears in the mouth which can lead to mouth tissue peeling and canker sores.
A polyphosphate that can cause mouth irritation. It is used to reduce stains on tooth enamel.
A synthetic liquid substance used as a food preservative. You can also find this in your antifreeze. Yikes! You don’t want this in your toothpaste as it has been linked to damage to the liver, heart and central nervous system. It can also cause skin irritation.
Extracted from red seaweed, this food additive is used to improve texture in products. At first glance, this sounds benign but studies on animals prove otherwise. Carrageenan is linked to glucose intolerance and impaired insulin reaction. It has also been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, ulcers, and colon cancer.
Studies show food dyes are linked to cancer, hyperactivity in children, and allergies. Currently, the FDA is reviewing yellow #5 one of the last 7 approved colors. Blue and red coloring in toothpaste have no benefit to our health.
Sorbitol can cause gastrointestinal distress and have a laxative effect similar to prunes.
Saccharin sodium, a petroleum-based sugar substitute has been linked to cancer in animal studies since the 1970s. Other sweeteners similar to Saccharin are Acesulfame-K, sucralose, aspartyl phenylalanine methyl ester, alitame, and tagatose.
Brush, swish, and spit. It doesn’t seem like we are in contact with these toxic ingredients for very long, but over the course of a lifetime and brushing twice a day, the exposure adds up.
When individuals with weakened immune systems like our children or elderly adults are exposed to these chemicals they can have even more devastating effects.
Most dentists agree that the most important tooth decay preventative is a healthy diet. A diet that reduces sugar, overly processed foods, sugary drinks, and sodas.
A Word of Warning
Controversy can surround tooth products. If this is an area where you aren’t comfortable trying a make-your-own version that is understandable. There are some all-natural kinds of toothpaste that avoid the worst ingredients. It is important to use your intuition when it comes to your family’s health.
I am not a dentist or a doctor. If you have any concerns regarding your teeth, the person to consult is your personal dentist who knows your detailed oral health history.
Since using homemade toothpaste, my husband and I don’t experience peeling mouth tissue or canker sores, my teeth aren’t sensitive anymore, and my family continues to have healthy dental check-ups.
Here is our family’s all-natural toothpaste recipe. To be on the safe side, we decided to continue brushing our son’s teeth with water until he was able to spit out after brushing.
Over the years we have tried many different versions and every time I see a new recipe, I compare it to ours to see if we might need to tweak our latest version.
To help with the cost and simplicity of homemade all-natural toothpaste we buy our ingredients in bulk. I like to make this recipe once every 6 months and refill our shaker jars from it.
The last two ingredients are optional and add more minerals to the powder.
Grind any ingredients that are too coarse. I used a clean coffee bean grinder to give my Celtic Sea Salt a fine texture. A mortar and pestle work as well.
Add all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.
Use a wooden spoon to really work all the ingredients together and eliminate any clumps. You could also run the dry ingredients through a sifter.
Now you’re ready to bottle your mixture. This is a good time to try your powder and see if you need to adjust any of the ingredients. If you are making toothpaste, you would add your liquid ingredients at this point.
All-Natural Toothpaste Homemade
Making your own toothpaste is easy and convenient once you have all the ingredients you need.
Below is a list of ingredients that can be used in all-natural toothpaste. With a little experimentation, you can customize a toothpaste that fits your family’s needs.
Ingredients for Homemade All-Natural Toothpaste
Some of the ingredients used in all-natural toothpaste are naturally abrasive. I find that if you have a base ingredient that is smooth like clay, it helps ‘soften’ the toothpaste.
Toothpaste should have a pH level of 7 or higher. All the ingredients listed below beside the essential oils are alkaline. You want to stay away from acid ingredients that can erode tooth enamel. Use Essential oils sparingly, if at all.
Soft Base (1 Part):
Bentonite Clay: A clay-rich in trace minerals that can help remineralize your teeth. It is a natural polisher that isn’t too abrasive and has strong absorption properties.
Bentonite clay doesn’t react with metal but binds to it. If you have amalgam fillings known to leach mercury molecules, bentonite clay will bind with these and absorb them. It doesn’t break down the mercury but binds to any free mercury in your mouth.
Kaolin Clay: A fine light clay. For those who have a concern with bentonite coming in contact with metal fillings, this clay is a better choice. It has milder absorption properties.
Polishing Base (2 Parts):
Baking Soda: If I run out of natural tooth powder, I will brush softly with baking soda. Straight baking soda and aggressive brushing can harm enamel, but when it is diluted with the softer ingredients it is safe and helps whiten the teeth.
It also helps neutralize acids in the mouth. If the mouth becomes acidic from the foods you eat, it can cause your teeth to demineralize. Teeth and bones release minerals to neutralizing acids in the body.
Bonus Tip: When you eat or drink your mouth becomes slightly acidic. This causes your tooth enamel to soften. Wait 30 minutes after meals before brushing. This allows your saliva to normalize alkaline levels.
Liquids (½ Part or to desired thickness):
Adding liquid ingredients turns the above powders into a paste. If I were to make toothpaste, I would only add oil, but many recipes call for water. With the addition of water, paste only lasts about 7 days unrefrigerated. Oil alone gives a pasty texture and lasts much longer.
Coconut oil: Your bathroom temperature will determine how thick your paste is since this oil is solid at room temperature. Make sure to run hot water down your sink after spitting or spit out in the trash.
There is some evidence that coconut oil limits cavity-causing bacteria, but that isn’t the main reason to use it. It is also good for the microbiome in your mouth.
Fractionated coconut oil: It doesn’t solidify at any temperature. It is a more processed oil that has had the lauric acid removed. It doesn’t contain as many benefits as extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil, but it won’t solidify in your pipes either. (Lauric acid is a medium-length long-chain fatty acid so it won’t harm your enamel)
Mineral Additions (1/8th Part):
Fine Ground Sea Salt: If your preferred brand is too coarse, you can grind it in a clean coffee bean grinder or use a pestle and mortar. Sea salt is rich in minerals and trace elements and when finely ground helps keep teeth white. (Polishing Base)
Spirulina: A mineral-rich algae that is high in calcium and phosphorus. This will give your toothpaste a grayish-green color. (Soft Base)
Cacao powder: Not to be confused with cocoa powder. Cacao is the raw, bean-like seeds that chocolate is made from. It is rich in minerals.
You can find cacao nibs in your local health food store and grind them to a fine powder. You can also buy raw cacao powder that is made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans. The raw seeds contain compounds that reduce cavities and strengthen tooth enamel. (Soft Base)
Flavor (1/16th Part):
Xylitol: It has the ability to reduce cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Many anti-cavity chewing gums are sweetened with xylitol for this very reason. Make sure to use fine ground or grind your own. (Soft Base)
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and can cause an upset stomach in some individuals. If you find this to be the case, stevia could be a better choice.
Stevia: Non-sweet toothpaste can take some getting used to and maybe a deterrent for children. A small amount of stevia can add to your soft base and give homemade toothpaste a more palatable taste. (Soft Base)
Essential oils: While natural and healthy, they are also very powerful and are good additions if added lightly. Only use food-grade essential oils in your tooth powder. These oils offer fresh flavors and antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Use essential oils sparingly. The mouth is full of good and bad bacteria. A high concentration of essential oils can lower your healthy bacteria levels disrupting your oral microbiome. They can also be acidic causing the pH of your recipe to go too low.
Essential oils are not recommended for children’s toothpaste.
Essential oils: Anise, orange, tea tree, peppermint, thyme, clove, sage, myrrh, eucalyptus, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Containers for All Natural Homemade Toothpaste
I call what I make toothpaste but more accurately it is a tooth powder. By adding liquid ingredients you can change tooth powders to pastes that can be stored in a jar or refillable tube.
I keep our tooth powder in this little shaker jar from Dollar Tree. It gives the perfect amount of tooth powder with 1-2 shakes.
Other containers that work equally well are antique salt shakers.
Bonus Tip: When you shake these out into your hand try not to tap the lid on a wet hand. It causes the powder to stick to the lid holes and clog the shaker up.
If you are worried about ingredients coming in contact with the metal lid, this shaker on Amazon has a plastic lid and is also moisture-proof.
A small jar with a lid could be used as well and then you could use a small scoop or tap a little out into the palm of your hand to dip your brush into.
By adding coconut oil to your dry ingredients, you will make a paste.
These refillable 100% silicone tubes are perfect for homemade toothpaste.
Or again you could use a glass jar with a lid.
How to Brush with All Natural Homemade Toothpaste
Either a regular toothbrush or an electric toothbrush work with homemade toothpaste and powder.
A pea-size amount of homemade toothpaste on your preferred toothbrush is just right.
If you use tooth powder, shake once or twice into the palm of your hand, about 1/16 tsp, wet your toothbrush, dip into the powder, and swirl around until it is all absorbed. Brush as usual!
Dr. Mark Burhenne, from askthedentist.com, says, “Toothpaste isn’t necessary for normal dental health.”
If you use a commercial brand of toothpaste, homemade natural toothpaste will take some getting used to. It won’t foam up or taste extra sweet, but it will give your health a boost.
What’s your favorite toothpaste? Have you ever tried making your own toothpaste and if so what are some of your favorite ingredients?
Homeschool mom of 4 boys, April uses her love of teaching and learning to help women focus on new habits and a positive mindset to achieve lasting health and weight loss. She shares the tips and tricks she’s learned (and is still learning!) so women have practical tools and resources to work towards their healthiest self. As important she provides encouragement and a plan to get back on track when life doesn’t go as planned. Connect with her at shapelyways.com
- 2 Cups Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Bentonite Clay
- 1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
- 1 Tbsp Sea Salt
- 1 Tbsp Spirulina
- Grind any coarse ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients together and mix well.
- Bottle tooth powder and store in a dry, cool cupboard.
- Tip: Keep a salt shaker full of tooth powder in the bathroom and use 1-2 shakes in the palm of your hand.
- Tip:Run toothbrush under water and swirl around in the palm of your hand until all the tooth powder is absorbed.
I make most of my own personal care and skin care products and have been for about 5 years now. I first discovered coconut oil, and how many uses it really has. Coconut oil got me looking into other ingredients and recipes I could do at home. I started out making...