Since learning about how diet can drastically affect oral health and the need for minerals in the body for oral health, I’ve increasingly turned to homemade mineral-rich natural toothpaste options.
Why Use Natural Toothpaste?
I’m not a dentist or a doctor, just a mom who has tried a TON of different toothpaste options and read a TON of books and medical literature. I first started making my own toothpaste after getting frustrated that I couldn’t find a store bought brand that didn’t have questionable ingredients, including:
- Sweeteners: Sorbitol, sodium saccharin and other artificial sweeteners are often used in toothpaste to improve taste, even though there is no evidence that these sweeteners are beneficial (or even safe) for use in the mouth. Xylitol has shown some positive benefits for oral health in some studies, but it remains a controversial ingredient in toothpaste.
- Fluoride: The most controversial toothpaste ingredient. I personally have to avoid it like the plague because with my thyroid disease, I can’t take iodine in any form. Iodine is known to neutralize the affects of fluoride so it is easier for fluoride to build up in my body. Additionally, fluoride interferes with my thyroid hormone uptake. Our family doesn’t use fluoride toothpaste and we filter it out of our water, but there is definitely research on both sides. You can read Mark Sisson’s take here and Dr. Mercola’s opinon here. Whatever your opinion, fluoride does come with a warning to call the poison control center immediately if ingested and after seeing a close friend’s scare when her son ingested some fluoride, it isn’t something I keep in our house.
- Triclosan: A chemical used in antibacterial soaps and products. Triclosan was recently found to affect proper heart function in a study at University of California Davis and the FDA is currently re-evaluating it for safety in human use.
- Glycerin: Another controversial ingredient, glycerin is found in many toothpastes, especially natural toothpastes. Glycerin is a sweet, colorless liquid and some research says it can coat teeth and prevent them from benefitting from the minerals in saliva. I know that when I used glycerin toothpaste in college, my teeth started to yellow, but the research is still mixed on whether glycerin is harmful or not. Especially when I was working to remineralize cavities, I decided that it was better to just avoid glycerin.
- Surfactants: Many toothpastes contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, which gives toothpaste its foam and lather. Some research shows that SLS can cause mouth ulcers and canker sores.
Many toothpastes also contain artificial colors/dyes or synthetic flavors. There are a few good natural toothpastes out there, but after looking at the ingredients, I realized I could make a similar concoction at home… and the toothpaste experiment was born.
I admit, I had several failed attempts before I figured this recipe out. I originally tried mixing coconut oil and baking soda in equal proportions which makes coconut tasting salt. I also tried using pure ground stevia leaf, but my husband and kids couldn’t get past the green color.
I finally made a concession to use stevia powder (the most natural one I could find) though I would like to try xylitol too, as it has some supposed benefits in dental health.
I finally found one recipe that tastes pretty good and that the kids don’t spit out!
Natural Toothpaste Ingredients
- About 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 small packets of stevia powder
- 15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
- 10 drops myrrh extract (optional)
Natural Toothpaste Instructions
- Melt or slightly soften coconut oil.
- Mix in other ingredients and stir well. If using semi-hard coconut oil, use a fork, if not, use a spoon. If you are using completely melted coconut oil, you will need to stir several times while the mixture cools to keep the baking soda incorporated.
- Put mixture into small glass jar (I make different ones for each family member)
- Let cool completely.
- To use: dip toothbrush in and scrape small amount onto bristles. Could also use a small spoon to put on toothbrush.
Does Homemade Toothpaste Work?
We have been using this natural toothpaste for a while now, and it seems to work great. I’ve noticed less plaque when brushing our teeth, and my teeth feel smoother. I will keep you updated after our next dental checkups, but I have several friends who have used similar concoctions for years and never get cavities.