Whether your goal is to clean up that medicine cabinet or to save money, making your own toothpaste is SO super easy. I started doing it IMMEDIATELY after I learned about the harmful ingredients that were in practically every single product in my bathroom, and I haven’t looked back.
Fluoride is a hot topic for debate right now, and after all I have read and learned, I am all for eliminating it completely from my life! More frightening, in my opinion, is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – - it is in everything and it is bad, bad, bad!! It easily penetrates through skin and scalp (read: just because you didn’t eat it doesn’t mean your body isn’t processing it) and it cannot be metabolized by the liver. I don’t know about you, but that sounds problematic to me. In fact, I will do a post very soon about my first pregnancy vs. my second and all of my liver issues, and I really believe that my elimination of all things SLS had a lot to do with the ease of my second pregnancy after a scary first.
Anyways, I obviously had to replace my toothpaste with something. So, after a pretty extensive search for toothpaste alternatives, I found some very interesting “recipes” for DIY toothpaste. I did a bit of experimenting and “tooth-testing” and I finally found a combo that not only works well, but also tastes pretty similar (ish) to store-bought toothpaste.
1. Coconut oil for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. At first I was just using what I found at the grocery store with the cooking oils. It totally works and is just fine, but I did buy a huge tub of coconut oil (because its awesome stuff and can be used for everything – cooking, eating, skincare, toothpaste…) from Mountain Rose Herbs.
2. Baking soda for its odor killing, antibacterial and whitening properties. I just use good ol’ Arm and Hammer – I keep one in my kitchen for cooking and one in my linen closet for other things (like this.)
3. Liquid Castile Soap for its…cleaning properties? Ok so I don’t know exactly what is so important about the soap, but trust me, it matters!! I tried without it for my first batch because I just wasn’t sold on the idea of washing my mouth with soap…I had that punishment way too often growing up for back-talking and . But really, it “washes” your teeth, makes your toothpaste foam, and…it just matters, ok? I don’t taste soap at all, no worries! My first batch did NOT work well, so don’t skip this step. Dr. Bronners is the brand I use and you can find it a most stores these days – I find mine in my grocery store’s organic section.
4. Essential Oils for flavor. I recommend peppermint, and I order my essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.
5. Stevia for, again, flavor. Stevia is an all natural sweetener and I just buy a box of the individual packets. I don’t recommend using any other sweeteners, and you could truly go without this if you don’t have it – I have made it without and still liked the end result.
You might have to experiment a bit to find the proportions that work best for you, but as a (very vague) rule: use a lot of coconut oil and a little of everything else. I think the last batch I made I used 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 tbsp. each of soap and baking soda, one packet of stevia and 20ish drops of peppermint EO. You can mix it up with a fork or a blender – I have always just mashed it up with a fork really well, but I’ve noticed the baking soda tends to clump, so this time I tried mixing it up in my baby food maker, and I will always do it that way in the future! The consistency is perfect and I have yet to have any issues with flavors or ingredients clumping.
I put our toothpaste into small containers – one for me, one for my husband. The first couple of times I did this, I piped the toothpaste into an emptied kid’s toothpaste container using a medicine dropper…I do not recommend that. Way to much work and not necessary! Dipping the toothbrush into our good old fashioned plastic containers is super easy and not at all messy.
A note about coconut oil: It melts at 76 degrees, so depending on your house temp, area climate, etc., you may have liquid “toothpaste”…but it’s ok! All summer long, our containers were full of what looked like just oil, but it still worked just fine! I will admit, it’s a lot more fun and satisfying when it looks and feels like true toothpaste, so that is one of the few things I am looking forward to about Winter this year…
One more note: My toddler uses Jason brand kid’s toothpaste, just because he is still pretty picky and won’t use ours. When his toothpaste runs out, I might try to make him a batch using orange essential oil and very little or no baking soda – - if you know of any DIY kids toothpaste, I’d love to have the recipe. Otherwise, I’ll update this if we try making our own.
So go on, go try! Make your own!