Why should I make my own toothpaste?
If you are looking for ways to eliminate chemicals from your life that are found in everyday products, making your own toothpaste can be a great start. It’s a way to avoid unwanted ingredients, including fluoride, that are usually present in conventional toothpaste. You can read more here about fluoride and why it’s good to avoid. Making your own toothpaste is incredibly economical and you can decide what you want it to taste like, the consistency and the texture. It’s fun to experiment with making different kinds in order to find a mixture that you love!
Just like I’ve stated in my other Beginner’s Guides, there is no right and wrong way to do these kinds of things. I firmly believe that equipping you with knowledge to create your own dishes and products based on what you have available to you and your preferences is much more beneficial than throwing another recipe at you. Do you agree?
So let’s get things rolling with my first Beginner’s Guide for a DIY product. Since we’ve already answered the why, let’s jump right into the how.
You can really just make your own toothpaste with three ingredients; coconut oil, baking soda or sea salt and a few drops of essential oil. However, there are ways to add more to your toothpaste, and this next paragraph will discuss all the possible ingredients you can use. There is also an example recipe to follow!
What are the common ingredients in toothpaste recipes, and why are they used?
- Baking Soda – Mildly Abrasive (you can blend in a coffee grinder to make it more of a powder) and helps with whitening/stain removal. By increasing the PH of the mouth, it also slows down the growth of germs and bacteria, neutralizes plaque acids, and helps with combating unpleasant breath.
- Coconut Oil – Unlike triclosan, coconut oil is a natural way to ward off decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. It is also good to add to help form a paste. Depending on the temperature, it may liquify so you may need to shake it up if you see that it has separated from the rest of the toothpaste.
- Sea Salt – Like baking soda, sea salt alkalizes the saliva and also promotes salivation, which can also create a natural antibacterial protection for the tooth enamel.
- High-Quality Bentonite Clay like Redmond Clay – May help draw out toxins from the tongue and gums. It is also a mild abrasive and helps with making a paste-like consistency.
- Stevia or Xylitol – Because of the mineral salt and baking soda, your toothpaste may be quite salty. This ingredient is optional, but it sweetens the toothpaste and makes it more palatable. Both have studies backing them that have shown they help prevent cavities by reducing bacteria in the mouth. This ingredient, if used, should be added to taste. Do not use your toothpaste with your dog if you use xylitol, as it is toxic to dogs.
- Liquid Castile Soap – Is used as a foaming agent. Unlike Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, liquid castile soap is harmless and chemical-free. You can use unscented or peppermint is nice if you are doing a minty paste!
- Essential oils – Wintergreen and peppermint make it minty. You can also use germicidal or anti-bacterial oils like tea tree (I would use a very small amount of this – like one drop), lemon, cypress, eucalyptus, cajuput, lavender, camomile, and clove instead. Just be sure you don’t swallow them.
- Water – If used, this thins the mixture or hydrates the clay.
By understanding the purpose of these ingredients, you can make a toothpaste that suits you or re-formulate the recipe example below depending on your preferences. I’d recommend starting out with equal parts of the first two ingredients and then adding the others as you see fit (depending on your sweetness, foaming and taste preferences).
How do I incorporate all the ingredients I’ve chosen?
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then do the same with the wet ingredients. Then mix both of those mixtures together by hand. If you have an immersion blender, I would recommend using that because it gives your toothpaste more of a whipped texture.
How do I store it?
There are a couple ways you can do this. You can simply place it in a little glass jar with a lid like we did in the pictures (it’s actually a spice jar we found at our local co-op grocery store .. similar here). You simply dip your toothbrush into the jar to get some toothpaste out. You can also buy an empty squeeze tube like this one if you prefer to squeeze the paste out onto your toothbrush.
This is an example recipe of the ones we used in the pictures. Use this one or adapt it in any way to make it work for you!
- 4 tbsp. baking soda
- 4 tbsp. coconut oil
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. stevia
- 1 tbsp. filtered water
- ½ tbsp. liquid castile soap
- 30 drops wintergreen essential oil
- Combine the dry ingredients and mix together.
- Combine wet ingredients and mix.
- Combine both mixtures and stir until well combined. You can use an immersion blender to help give it more of a whipped texture.
Any other ingredients I might be missing? I would love to hear from you!