As I’ve been moving towards a more natural, toxin-free, zero-waste lifestyle, I figured the next area I needed to address was oral care.
Conventional toothpastes are chock-a-block full of toxic ingredients that can have a huge impact on our health over the long-term, plus, toothpaste tubes are just plain wasteful. They’re generally sold in not just the tube, but a box as well. While the box is recyclable, the tube is very difficult or impossible to recycle and will likely end up in landfill.
According to Kate Nelson (a.k.a Plastic Free Mermaid):
Toothpaste tubes are made of “mixed materials,” a.k.a lots different materials stuck together, which makes them impossible to recycle no matter how many “recyclable” symbols are printed on them.
By making your own toothpaste, you can pop the toothpaste in a glass jar that can be washed and reused over and over again! No plastic tube. No rubbish. No landfill. I also use an organic bamboo toothbrush called Brush with Bamboo that’s the only toothbrush I’ve found with 100% certified plant based bristles. Most toothbrush brands use a percentage of nylon in their bristles, but do not disclose this.
You may be questioning why anyone would switch from a perfectly good conventional toothpaste, which saves the time and hassle of making one’s own, and keeps teeth perfectly clean. WELL, I’m no a dentist or a doctor, but from what I’ve read about the ingredients found in most store-bought toothpastes, it was enough to persuade me to move away these toothpastes, and make my own. The questionable ingredients I came across included:
- Fluoride – A very controversial ingredient. I personally don’t use fluoride toothpaste, and I also try and filter it out as much as possible from my tap water. It’s been found that excessive exposure to fluoride has been linked to a number of health issues, such as dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, thyroid problems, and neurological issues.
- Glycerine – A sweet, colourless liquid, this controversial ingredient can actually be found in many natural toothpastes. Some research says it can coat teeth and prevent them from benefiting from the minerals in saliva.
- Triclosan – An antimicrobial chemical that’s been linked to a number of health and environmental problems (dioxins leak into the water supply, and when mixed with sunlight, can have severe impacts on the environment). It’s often found in things like antibacterial soaps and products. Triclosan is believed to contribute to health problems like hormonal issues, allergies, and cancer. According to Dr. Axe;
Triclosan is a major player when it comes to the problem of antibiotic resistance
- Surfactants – A chemical often found in conventional shampoos, many toothpastes contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. These chemicals are added to toothpaste to make it foam. Some research has found that SLS can cause mouth ulcers (canker sores) and stomach issues.
- Sweeteners – Ingredients like sodium saccharin, sorbitol, aspartame, saccharin and other artificial sweeteners are commonly used in toothpaste to improve the taste, yet there’s no evidence to show that these sweeteners are even safe to use in the mouth. Xylitol has been shown to contain some positive benefits for oral health; it kills bacteria after they ingest it because they aren’t able to metabolise it (bacteria are attracted to xylitol because it’s a sugar-alcohol). I rarely use xylitol in my recipes, and prefer to sweeten my toothpaste using natural pure ground stevia leaf, or herbs like clove, mint and sage (all naturally antibacterial!)
- Artificial colours/dyes – FD&C Blue 1 is just one example, and is a synthetic dye produced from petroleum, which can accumulate in the body over time, causing an array of health issues.
Natural Probiotic Toothpaste
Brushing with a probiotic toothpaste can help add GOOD bacteria to dislodge and remove the decay-and disease-causing bacteria.
- About 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2-3 tbsp of baking soda
- 1-2 tbsp bentonite clay
- 1 capsule of organic probiotics
- 1 capsule of prebiotics
- 2 tsp of ground stevia (or 1 1/2 tsp xylitol)
- 1/2 tsp clove powder (can blend dried cloves to a fine powder)
- 1/2 tsp ground dried sage (can source fresh, dry, and grind)
- 2 tsp ground dried mint (can source fresh, dry, and grind) OR 15-20 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Melt or slightly soften the coconut oil.
- Mix in all the other ingredients and stir well. If using semi-hard coconut oil, use a fork (make sure no metal utensils are used, as it will interact with the bentonite clay) to mix together, or if using completely melted coconut oil, you’ll need to stir the mixture several times while it cools to keep the baking soda for separating and falling to the bottom.
- Pour the mixture into a small glass jar, and let it cool completely. Store at room temperature.
- Dip toothbrush into the toothpaste and scrape a small amount onto the bristles. Brush as normal.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.
Have you made your own toothpaste before? How did it go?! Share below in the comment.
Lots of love,
Wells, Katie. (January 23, 2019). How to Make Natural Toothpaste. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/1772/natural-toothpaste/
Lauren’s Zero Waste Homemade Toothpaste Recipe. Trash Is For Tossers. Retrieved from http://trashisfortossers.com/my-zero-waste-homemade-toothpaste-recipe/
Homemade Baking Soda Toothpaste. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/homemade-baking-soda-toothpaste/
Brazier, Yvette. (February 21, 2018). Why do we have fluoride in our water?. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154164
Be Aware! Glycerin in Dental Products is NOT your Friend! (May 9, 2019). Nature Made 4 U. Retrieved from https://naturemade4u.com/blog/be-aware-glycerin-in-dental-products-is-not-your-friend/
Price, Annie, CHHC. (February 29, 2016). Triclosan: Is this Hazardous Toxin in Your Toothpaste?. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/health/triclosan/
Toxic Ingredients Commonly Found in Toothpaste. (January 13, 2017). Radius. Retrieved from https://madebyradius.com/blogs/good-to-know/toxic-ingredients-commonly-found-in-toothpaste
Straus, Rebecca. (May 4, 2016). 4 Toothpaste Ingredients To Avoid At All Costs. Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/health/a20509868/4-toothpaste-ingredients-to-avoid-at-all-costs/
Sophie. 3 Ingredient Homemade Toothpaste. (March 3, 2015). Wholehearted Eats. Retrieved from https://www.wholeheartedeats.com/simple-homemade-toothpaste-youll-never-html/
Axe, Dr. Josh, DC, DNM, CN. (June 19, 2014). Homemade Probiotic Toothpaste. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/beauty/homemade-probiotic-toothpaste/
Gerber, Stephanie. (Updated: December 7, 2020). DIY Remineralizing Toothpaste with Probiotics. Hello Glow. Retrieved from https://helloglow.co/diy-remineralizing-toothpaste/
Nelson, Kate. (July 27. 2021). Tooth Powder. Instagram. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/CR0Nbc_D9EA/