Joyous Blog

How to Make a Simple Natural Toothpaste

Do you use natural toothpaste yet? For many, going natural with toothpaste is the last item of their personal care products to change. I think it's because many people are worried it won't clean their teeth as well, or perhaps their dentist wants them to use fluoridated toothpaste. I'm here to convince you otherwise :)

As you might have guessed, I'm all about the natural toothpaste! And I'm proof it works. I've only ever had one cavity in my adult life (none as a child/teen) and that cavity happened when I was using toxic, chemical-filled toothpaste. I've been using natural toothpaste for years. My teeth aren't yellow (as you've probably noticed) and I never ever have issues with my teeth or gums at the dentist (other than when I was pregnant, more on that below). I could tell you story after story of others I know personally with similar experiences to mine. 

And did you know that cavities can actually heal themselves? Not on a diet of sugar, grains and fast food, of course. You can read more about that here. For even more holistic dental care, be sure to check out the information on oil pulling below.

I made the switch about 8 years ago and I've never looked back. Recently, however, I had to use chemical-filled toothpaste one night staying in a hotel while on vacation because I forgot my toothpaste at home. It was so gross and tasted like chemicals. You'll know what I mean when you make the switch.  You don't really realize it until you've been using clean toothpaste for a while how terrible conventional toothpaste tastes.

There's a reason it says "do not ingest" on the tube. Do you really want to put something like that in your mouth, which you WILL swallow small amounts of every time you brush, whether you're advised to or not? How does this even make sense?

Furthermore, toothpaste is actually considered a drug, so all the ingredients do not have to be disclosed other than the "active" ingredients, which usually that means fluoride, which – not surprisingly – I don't recommend either. We have a filter that removes all the fluoride from our water at home. Now that Vienna is drinking water to practice with her sippy cup, I'm not about to give her city tap water. You can learn more about fluoride in this article. 

These are typical ingredients in conventional toothpaste: Fluoride, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-6, Water, Zinc Lactate, Trisodium Phosphate, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Gluconate, Carrageenan, Sodium Saccharin, Xanthan Gum, Polyethylene, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1. 

I have many concerns with these ingredients. Many of these ingredients are on the Dirty Dozen list and linked to hormonal imbalance problems, such as infertility and reproductive challenges, and may even be contaminated with other compounds known to cause cancer. Why, oh why, you might be thinking does the government allow these products to be on the market? 

According to Dr. Mark Burhenne, here are some of the problems with ingredients in conventional toothpaste:

  • Triclosan, a pesticide and hormone disruptor.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which causes canker sores for many people (myself included!).
  • Artificial color linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children. Toothpaste does not need to be blue!
  • Fluoride, which can be toxic if swallowed and doesn’t even work in toothpaste.
  • Titanium dioxide, which is added to make a toothpaste white. Most of the data shows it’s safe and is not absorbed by the skin, but I have yet to find a study done to measure absorption by oral tissues. The EWG has a good list of safety concerns around titanium dioxide, but the take-home message is that it’s just there to make toothpaste white, not improve your health. So why bother with it?
  • Glycerin, which isn’t toxic, but has no place in the mouth because it’s a soap that strips your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film. This film could coat the teeth, messing with the structure of the biofilm, which could alter the microbiome in your mouth and impact the natural remineralization process — your body’s natural cavity-fighting mechanism.
  • Highly abrasive ingredients that damage enamel, making teeth sensitive andmore prone to gum recession and cavities. Toothpaste should be only a little bit abrasive — this graininess aids the brushing motion to remove the biofilm of the tooth.

These are the ingredients in this homemade toothpaste.

See? Nothing to worry about with these ingredients. 

Here's the recipe for my simple natural toothpaste.

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp raw organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
  • a couple of drops of peppermint oil*
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients until well-blended.
  2. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dry place.

Notes

*This is not entirely necessary. It just makes it taste better.

About the ingredients:

  • Coconut oil is one of the main ingredients in this toothpaste. Coconut oil is anti-fungal (candida-fighter), anti-bacterial and incredible for reducing inflammation of the gums. 
  • Baking soda has a positive effect on the pH in your mouth and helps to neutralize acids and it is a very mild abrasive
  • Sea or rock salt helps to remineralize your teeth. 
  • Peppermint oil helps to freshen up your breath. 

I know you're probably going to ask me what essential oil brand I recommend. I suggest you go to your local health food store and buy some peppermint oil there. Let the sales associate know you are using it for toothpaste. If you are pregnant and concerned about using any essential oil, then you can simply omit it. 

When I was pregnant with Vienna my gums got inflamed. I was really worried because I've never had issues with my gums or teeth. I went for a teeth cleaning in my second trimester and it was like a blood bath. Sorry! I know, super gross. But this is apparently extremely common when you're pregnant. Anyhow, after the dental cleaning I thought to myself I really need to do something. So, I started oil pulling again. Within less than two weeks, my gums totally healed and looked healthy. You can learn more about oil pulling in this article.

If you don't want to make your own toothpaste, and I get it, most people don't, then I have a natural toothpaste I sell in the Joyous Shop. 

Have I convinced you to give up your conventional toothpaste yet? I hope so!

24 Comments
Emily   •   June 9, 2016

Thanks for sharing this! I love the toothpaste you sell in your shop, but I can't justify the delivery fee to the US.! I can't wait to make my own (all ingredients already in my kitchen!) :)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   June 9, 2016

Glad to hear you love my toothpaste. Sorry about the shipping fees. The flat rate is great but only if you buy multiple items. At least you have a back up now. Enjoy! :)


Mary-Ann   •   June 9, 2016

Thank you for the great article. Could you share what filter you are using to remove fluoride from your water.

Reply
Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Hey Mary Ann! To remove fluoride, you have a few options: a reverse osmosis system (which hooks up to the plumbing in your home), a Berkey Water filter (http://www.berkeyfilters.com/) or haul your own spring water! Thanks for reaching out. I hope that helps :) Heather- Joyous Health Team


Loretta   •   June 9, 2016

Question! How would you store it? In a jar? How would you take from it without dipping in each time?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   June 9, 2016

I recommend storing it in a glass mason jar. You can just use a spoon to scoop it out. That's what I do. Hope that helps!


Kim   •   June 9, 2016

Joy, thanks for this! I also want to say I really appreciate the format of the recipes that you post, so great to be able to print right from the recipe vs having to highlight and copy to print only to get all kinds of unnecessary stuff printed with it!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Thanks, Kim! We're so glad to hear it. Happy cooking to you :) Heather- Joyous Health team


Janet Thompson   •   June 9, 2016

Hi Joy, I am a Dental Hygienist of 35 years and I have to disagree with your choice of toothpaste ingredients. Baking soda and salt are natural but extremely abrasive and should not be used on a Regular basis. My preference is a natural toothpaste with xylitol in it, a natural antibacterial agent with no abrasive qualities. Baking soda and salt will erode enamel over time with terrible consequences. One toothpaste I would recommend is Arbonne, botanically based with xylitol as the active antibacterial ingredient. Janet Thompson

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   June 9, 2016

Thanks for your tips Janet! I would recommend fine sea salt. I should actually update the post to reflect that.


Monika   •   June 10, 2016

Thanks Joy! I will definitely try that recipe. :-) I drink a lot of tea (green tea, Earl grey, black) and am concerned about it staining my teeth over time. Will this toothpaste naturally lighten them as well?

Reply
Heather Allen   •   June 10, 2016

Hey Monkia! It should keep your pearly whites nice and bright! Oil pulling is also helpful: http://www.joyoushealth.com/blog/2015/03/14/oil-pulling/ Heather- Joyous Health Team


Shubhi   •   July 5, 2016

Wow, this is trely amazing work Joy McCarthy, this is what I'm searching for.

Reply
Heather Allen   •   July 5, 2016

Thank you, Shubi! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Magalie   •   August 12, 2016

Hi Joy

Reply

Khava   •   August 18, 2016

Hi Joy! I have heard that using baking soda based toothpaste repeatedly weakens enamel over time. Do you have any advice on this? Thanks!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   August 18, 2016

Hi Khava! Baking Soda is widely used in toothpastes (even conventional ones) and has been for a really long time. We've never found this to be an issue. Our dentists are always pleased with our pearly whites :) Heather- Joyous Health Team


Ludivine   •   February 24, 2017

Hi Joy, Enjoyed this post along with you Facebook live last week! Wondering if you have any tips and tricks for toddler oral care. Thanks again for all the amazing work you and your team do!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 3, 2017

Glad you enjoyed it! Sorry for my late reply. Assuming your toddler has some teeth, gentle brushing before bed just to get them used to a toothbrush is key. My little one is 18 months and she's still not into it! The other thing you can do is wipe their gums down gently with a wet cloth. Hope that helps!


Jolene   •   May 1, 2017

Hi Joy, do you and your family use this DIY toothpaste yourself in these 8 years? I tried using it earlier but it kinda hurt my gum. Maybe due to the salt/baking soda? Should I reduce the amount and redo a new batch?

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   May 4, 2017

Hey Jolene! Yes, Joy and her family still use this from time to time if she's not using her Minty Fresh Toothpaste. You can either make it again with less salt and baking soda, or try the Minty Fresh Toothpaste in the joyous shop – it's a goodie! https://www.joyoushealth.com/2046-product-minty-fresh-toothpaste Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Monika   •   May 3, 2017

Hi Joy/Heather, I want to start using toothpaste with my three year old. We have just been using water to this point. Is this ration of baking soda/ salt good for her or is too abrasive (striping enamel)? also, do you just use like regular toothpaste? Thank you!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   May 4, 2017

Hey Monika, Yes, for sure you could use this with your little one :) That's exactly it - use the same amount and apply it to a brush like you would with regular toothpaste! Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Monika S.   •   June 26, 2017

Hello Joy, thank you for sharing toothpaste recipe. How much does one need to use it and if kids can use it also. I had read in your book on oil pulling for myself and kids. Is that effective enough or not? How much quantity can be made one time. I will really appreciate your response back. Thanks. Monika

Reply

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