Simple, Effective Homemade Toothpaste
When I became pregnant with my first child I began to research the ingredients in everything that I put on and in my body. Given the amount of questionable ingredients in most toothpastes, I decided it had to go. I prefer to use store-bought toothpastes that I can find in a metal tube or a glass jar. Today, there are lots of options. But when I run out and need something quickly, this homemade toothpaste is effective, it’s inexpensive, and it’s ridiculous easy to make. And it tastes like mint chip ice cream. What’s not to love?
My dentist says my teeth look good and to keep up what I’m doing (this, plus flossing). However everyone’s teeth are different so if you have questions or concerns always check with your dentist.
There are two main reasons to avoid conventional toothpaste.
The first is that many big toothpaste brands contain a series of questionable ingredients. Even if you don’t ingest toothpaste, toxins can be absorbed by the lining of your mouth. These ingredients can include:
- Titanium Dioxide, potentially cancer causing, added to make toothpaste appear white, not to actually do anything for teeth.
- Triclosan, a pesticide and hormone disruptor, added for its antimicrobial properties but can actually promote drug-resistant infections.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a detergent also used in shampoos, cleaners and soaps, used to make toothpaste foam up. It does nothing for teeth and research suggests it’s an irritant on gums.
- Food coloring, linked to ADHD in children, added to make toothpaste blue or green. It does nothing for teeth.
The second reason is that even when you buy “natural” toothpaste, many still come in a plastic tube. In most cities, toothpaste tubes and their caps are not recyclable. Nor are they biodegradable; they take around 700 years to break down. This means every tube of toothpaste we’ve ever used, from our childhoods until now, is still perfectly intact, sitting somewhere in a landfill or on a beach or in the ocean.
When I make my own toothpaste, I can avoid toothpaste tubes altogether. I use a jar that can be reused over and over again - tube free and trash free. A jar is a much more pleasant experience anyway: I can always get the last bit out and my kids don’t squirt it all over the sink.
Making your own toothpaste is easy.
- Coconut oil, has antibacterial properties, initial research suggests it helps to reduce the bacteria that cause cavities.
- Baking soda, effective for whitening teeth and removing stains, maintaining a neutral pH in the mouth, mildly abrasive to help polish teeth.
- Essential peppermint oil, for flavor.
In a small bowl add the three ingredients together and mix until smooth:
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 20 drops peppermint oil, depending on preferred flavor. (You can also use cinnamon, tea tree or fennel oil, or the flavor of your choice. Use a few additional drops oil for a stronger flavor.)
It’s that easy.
When I started making this for my kids I followed the above recipe and added 1 teaspoon of xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is antibacterial and shown to decrease the incidence of cavities. It makes the toothpaste sweeter and masks the salty tang of baking soda.
Usage & Storage
Store in a glass jar. Because coconut oil melts in heat, the toothpaste will be harder or softer depending on the climate. It doesn’t foam like conventional toothpaste but the usage remains the same -just scrape a pea sized amount on your toothbrush and brush away.