Before I made my own toothpaste, it was habit to simply buy toothpaste at the grocery store because that’s what I had always done. I used to look for fancy, flashy packaging and “great benefits” claimed on those gleaming boxes: Teeth whitening, long-lasting fresh breath, cavity and enamel protection, help with tooth sensitivity, and other shining guarantees.
I just bought and used it because that’s what everybody else does. But to be honest, I didn’t know what was in that shit…
I have been making my own toothpaste for a few years now. When I first made the switch from conventional to homemade toothpaste, I was not used to the lack of foam and did miss that in the beginning; but I think it was because I was conditioned to believe the foam, color, and taste was what toothpaste was supposed to be like.
I should add that the dental assistants who actually do the work of cleaning people’s teeth have mentioned on more than a few occasions that my teeth have very little plaque. Furthermore, since I began using my own toothpaste, my dentist has made a number of comments about how my “gums look much healthier than they did before.”
What’s Actually in Your Commercial Toothpaste?
Commercial toothpaste includes these main ingredients and chemicals:
- Sweeteners: Sorbitol, sodium saccharin and other artificial sweeteners/sugar alcohols 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, as stated in this article here. Xylitol has shown some positive benefits for oral health in some studies (in small doses), but it remains a controversial ingredient in toothpaste.
- Fluoride: The most controversial toothpaste ingredient. Most medical (pediatricians) and dental practitioners will push the beneficial uses of fluoride. At least, that’s what I’ve found in my experience. Fluoride is in public water, toothpastes, which are both things people use and consume daily in small doses. Dr. Mercola’s article, includes a number of resources and reputable research including a free 32 page report that you can download (PDF), which cites a recent Harvard study about the dangers of fluoride.
- Triclosan: A chemical used in antibacterial soaps and products. Triclosan was recently found to affect proper heart function and adverse impact on human (and mouse) cells 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.
- Surfactants: Many toothpastes contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), propolene glycol, diethanolamine (DEA), which gives toothpaste its foam and lather. Some research shows, like this source that cites studies here, that SLS can cause mouth ulcers and canker sores, while the latter surfactants have been shown to cause organ cancers (liver, kidney). In this article, Dr. Williams, a biochemist and chiropractor, writes about the dangers of commercial toothpaste, as well.
Commercial toothpastes (Crest, Colgate, Aquafresh, Sensodyne, etc.), have a variety and combination of synthetic chemicals. They also contain artificial colors/dyes or synthetic flavors. That’s why toothpaste has that distinct color, smell, and foam bubbles you’re so used to.
Although you may not use much toothpaste each time you brush, it’s something that we do multiple times a day, everyday. And these chemicals are found elsewhere (public water, additives in processed foods for example), so with chronic (over the course of a few decades), the toxins can build up in our organs. This, coupled with the Standards American Diet of sugar, fat, and processed foods, can potentially cause all sorts of ailments, cancers, irregular cell growth, and other problems.
There are a few good natural toothpastes out there (personally, I get Tom’s of Maine for my toddler), but after looking at the ingredients, I realized I could make a similar concoction at home for pennies and little time. The remineralizing toothpaste is great at cavity prevention and can even heal small cavities and tooth decay with regular use (and frequent consumption of homemade bone broth and other “raw” foods)!
Recipe: Natural Remineralizing Toothpaste
As long as you’re consistent, it doesn’t matter what you use to measure. I use teaspoons or tablespoons depending on how much I want to make.
- 5 parts Calcium Carbonate powder*
- 2 parts Baking Soda
- 3-5 parts coconut oil to get desired texture
- Essential oils for flavor and for anti-bacterial properties
- Peppermint Oil about 20 drops
- Tea Tree Oil about 10 drops
- Optional: 3 parts Xylitol Powder– (optional- keeps it from tasting bitter)
- Optional: 1 part Diatomaceous Earth (awesome for worm composting, too)
- Optional: Clove Oil (I make my own)
- *Some use Bentonite Clay or Magnesium powder instead of Calcium Carbonate
In a small jar, I first melt the coconut oil. It’s easiest if it’s softened or liquid (less mess), and then I add the above ingredients. Mash with a small spoon or fork to get any lumps out. Done!
Personally, I do not add the optional ingredients (in green) unless I’m feeling super motivated to do extra. Honestly, if you only had coconut oil and baking soda, your toothpaste would be sufficient. The others are just great to add for extra grit and minerals for your teeth.
Hopefully this has created a better understanding of what is actually in that toothpaste tube on your bathroom sink. With only five minutes of throwing a few simple ingredients together in a jar, you and your family can have a healthier alternative to use everyday and save a few bucks! Thanks for reading and sharing.