As I’ve been moving towards a more natural, toxin-free, zero waste lifestyle I wanted to start making my own toothpaste as; 1. conventional toothpastes are chock-a-block full of toxic ingredients that can have a huge impact on our health over the long-term, 2. 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. By making my own toothpaste, I can put it in a glass jar or stainless steel container that I can wash and reuse as much as I like! No plastic tube, no rubbish, no landfill.
So, as I was looking for a natural toothpaste recipe to use, I came across this awesome (and very simple) recipe by Wellness Mama and have loved it since!
Why Use Natural Toothpaste?
You may be questioning why I would switch from a perfectly good conventional toothpaste, which saves me the hassle of making my own, and keeps my teeth perfectly clean. WELL, I understand I’m not a dentist or a doctor, I’m simply a girl who has read A LOT of literature on health, wellness and nutrition. I’m no expert, and I still have lots to learn myself, just from what I learnt about the ingredients found in most store-bought toothpastes really pursuaded me in making the decision to create my own. The questionable ingredients I read about, and kept coming across when looking for a better toothpaste to use, included:
- Fluoride: This is a very controversial ingredient. There are studies on both sides, you can read Mark Sisson’s thoughts of it here, or Dr. Mercola’s take here. I personally don’t use fluoride toothpaste, and I also mostly filter it out of my tap water too. I was curious to see that fluoride does come with a warning to call the poison control centre immediately if ingested.
- Glycerine: This one is an interesting ingredient, and quite controversial too. It is actually found in many natural toothpastes, and is a sweet, colourless liquid. The research about it is still pretty mixed on whether glycerine is harmful or not. Some research says it can coat teeth and prevent them from benefiting from the minerals in saliva. So for me, I decided it was best to leave it out of my natural toothpaste.
- Triclosan: This is an antimicrobial chemical that has been linked to a number of health and environmental problems. It is often found in things like antibacterial soaps and products. It was recently found in a study at the University of California Davis that Triclosan could affect proper heart function, and the FDA is also currently re-evaluating its safety for use by humans.
- Surfactants: Along with being a chemical often found in conventional shampoos, many toothpastes contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical is what gives toothpaste its foam and lather. Some research has found that SLS can cause canker sores and mouth ulcers.
- Sweeteners: Sodium saccharin, sorbitol, and other artificial sweeteners are commonly used in toothpaste to improve the taste, yet there is no evidence to show that these sweeteners are beneficial (or even safe) to use in the mouth. Xylitol has been shown to contain some positive benefits for oral health in some studies. Due to the fact that it’s a sugar alcohol, this makes it very attractive to bacteria. However, bacteria can’t metabolise them, so they die after consuming it. Plus, sugar alcohols may also help re-mineralisation. However, I’m not entirely fond of using this sweetener in food because of the possible health issues and side effects associated with consuming larger quantities of it. So it remains a controversial ingredient in toothpaste.
Artificial colours/dyes or synthetic flavours are also found in many toothpastes. There are quite a few good natural toothpastes available out there, however after looking at the ingredients, I realised I could make a similar version at home, using this recipe!
Now I usually use pure ground stevia leaf as I have my own stevia plant at home that I collect the leaves from, dry, then ground myself. Now, this does produce quite a strong green colour (which I don’t mind, but some people get put-off by it), so if you don’t like that, you can use pure stevia powder (which I use when I don’t have any ground stevia on hand). Just ensure you use one that’s as close to natural as possible (one that contains the fewest amount of ingredients you can find). You can try including xylitol too, as it supposedly has some benefits for dental health (like those I mentioned above).
Natural Toothpaste Recipe
- About 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2-3 tbsp of baking soda
- 2 small packets of stevia powder (or 2 tsp of ground stevia)
- 15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
- 10 drops myrrh extract (optional)
- Up to 1 tbsp xylitol powder (optional)
- Melt or slightly soften the coconut oil.
- Mix in the other ingredients and stir well. If you’re using semi-hard coconut oil, use a fork, if not, use a spoon. If you’re using completely melted coconut oil, you will need to stir several times while the mixture cools to keep the baking soda incorporated.
- Pour mixture into small glass jar (you can make different ones for each member of your family).
- Let it cool completely.
- How to Use: Dip toothbrush in and scrape a small amount onto bristles. You can also use a small spoon to put it on your toothbrush.
Does Homemade Toothpaste Work?
I’ve been using homemade toothpaste for a while now, and it seems to work great. My teeth feel smoother and I’ve noticed less plaque on my teeth. I’ll keep you updated after my next dentist checkup.😉
Pre-Made Natural Toothpaste Options
Whenever I go travelling, my favourite natural toothpaste to bring is Earthpaste. I haven’t found it locally yet, so I purchase it as a four pack online.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products.
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You keen to try out making your own toothpaste? Or have you made it before? Tell me about it below, I’d love to hear your experience!
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/