Homemade toothpaste is so easy to make and with this guide you won’t fail for sure! I’m trying to answer all your questions like why should you make your own toothpaste, where to store it, how long it lasts and does it really work.
At the end of this guide, I’m hoping all your doubts and concerns that you may have about homemade toothpaste will dissipate.
Also, I’m going to give you a complete and detailed list of ingredients for you to choose from to make your own DIY toothpaste. So, let’s get started then!
5 reasons why you should consider homemade toothpaste
1.) You save money 💸
The ingredients for homemade toothpaste are mostly extremely cheap particularly if you buy in bulk.
When making your own toothpaste, you’re only paying for the ingredients and not, like the industry does, for your employees, marketing, packaging, etc.
Well, maybe once you have to invest in a little jar. But you could simply avoid that and reuse a small jam jar for example ;).
2.) Homemade toothpaste is Zero Waste ♻️
As we’re just talking about it: packaging! The awesome thing about homemade toothpaste is that you automatically reduce unnecessary waste (especially plastic)! Say goodbye to your plastic toothpaste tube!
You can find many of the ingredients which I will discuss later on in this article, in bulk shops (depending on their stock) or come in a more environmental-friendly packaging like cardboard box or glass!
3.) Homemade toothpaste is cruelty-free 🐰
I don’t need to explain this part, do I? No cute, little animals have to suffer when you consider homemade toothpaste (as in making it yourself)!
It’s also always a good idea to only buy products/ingredients that are ethical (like Fair Trade) and preferably organic to avoid any chemicals or other nasties.
4.) You can customise homemade toothpaste 🎨
As you can benefit from a comprehensive list of ingredients, you’re provided with everything you need! You can then decide what you want in your homemade toothpaste and what not! It’s totally up to you, your preferences and needs.
5.) The most important reason: no chemicals or other nasties! 🚫
Here, I’d like to go more into detail because I think this is the most important reason why you should consider making your own natural toothpaste.
Chemicals in conventional toothpaste
In toothpaste, we can find all sorts of chemicals like sodium laureth sulphate as well as sodium lauryl sulphate (used as foaming agent), triclosan (a pesticide added as an antibacterial agent), parabens (a chemical preservative), propylene glycol (a synthetic chemical compound used as surfactant) and fluoride (to prevent cavities by remineralising the enamel, not a chemical, we’ll discuss this one shortly!).
And this is only a small list of chemicals. There are a few more that you could add! But, to keep it short: you should avoid every single one of them! Period!
Is fluoride in toothpaste good or bad?
The opinions differ here from expert to expert! Some of them will tell you, fluoride is the one and only thing to not only prevent cavities but also to remineralise your teeth. The others willl probably tell you that it isn’t.
Fluoride is simply a natural occuring mineral which is scientifically proven to be very beneficial for our teeth. The amounts added to conventional toothpastes are safe to consume and not poisonous.
However, fluoride may be dangerous and may lead to a range of detrimental effects when ingested in high amounts (note: we usually spit out our toothpaste and don’t swallow it).
Being exposed to fluoride in your toothpaste is one thing. The other is that our drinking water is additionally treated with fluoride. This may or may not effect you, but let me tell you my story. My reason why I switched to a fluoride-free alternative.
Why I chose not to use fluoride anymore
In 2017, I suffered from perioral dermatitis – an inflammatory rash around the mouth. Not much is known about it and mostly it occurs due to obsessively cleaning the face aka removing (and re-applying) make-up.
The funny thing though: I wasn’t wearing any make-up, nor did I wash my face more than once a day! It was only then it made sense, when I found a site which also hinted fluoride to be a plausible cause.
That day, I noticed that when I brushed my teeth, my rash would get worse straight afterwards. I immediately swapped my toothpaste with a fluoride-free alternative and the rash disappeared – never came back!
I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I reckon my body reacted this way because the tap water was treated with fluoride and it was simply too much to handle – it overreacted (I grew up in Germany where the tap water is not fluoridated).
Other, natural alternatives for fluoride
Most of the ingredients in my list below are also antibacterial, remineralising our teeth and help fight cavities.
Particularly, xylitol (for cavities) and bentonite clay (remineralisation) are, in my opinion, the best natural alternatives for fluoride!
Does homemade toothpaste really work and is it effective?
When I swapped to a homemade (fluoride-free) toothpaste, I was so scared that I get cavities or any other sort of tooth decay. Could this really clean my teeth well enough?
The answer is YES! I’m making my own toothpaste since 2018 and have had no cavities so far! In fact, I think my teeth are even stronger and healthier than before! (little note though: it may also be because I’m on a much healthier diet).
The ingredients on my list are all very beneficial for your oral care and some were even used in the ancient times!
Just keep in mind, though. If conventional toothpaste doesn’t completely prevent tooth decay, so does homemade toothpaste. Your DIY toothpaste is not a magical cure or remedy and only helps you avoid cavities, just as much as conventional products do.
Your oral care routine, your DNA, your diet – all of these play an important role in it as well.
How to store homemade toothpaste?
This depends a little on the ingredients you’re using. I usually just use a small jar with a plastic lid or a small plastic container which can hold around 60ml/2oz.
If you’re using bentonite clay or activated charcoal it’s probably a good idea not to use any metal as it might affect the ion charge.
You can keep your homemade toothpaste in your bathroom cabinet, on a shelf or even on the sink, if you’ve got the room. It doesn’t need to be chilled!
How long does homemade toothpaste last?
Again, this depends on your ingredients. However, the ingredients I’m listing down below are veeeery long lasting. Most likely you’re going to use some kind of oil which preserves naturally.
Or any powdery ingredient will last you for forever!
What do you need to make your homemade toothpaste?
My favourite combination is simply coconut oil, bentonite clay and essential oils. But there are so many more ingredients you can use!
Other than that, you’ll need a bowl, a spoon and/or spatula and a small jar or container. Just keep in mind, it’s better to not use any metal when mixing your toothpaste as it might affect some ingredients (like bentonite clay).
The ingredients for your homemade toothpaste
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Now, with those questions being answered, let’s have a closer look at the different ingredients you can use or you might not want to use:
Ingredients you might want to avoid
There are some homemade toothpastes that contain bicarb/baking soda or calcium carbonate for cleaner and whiter teeth.
Which is of course nice however, be mindful of your teeth because these two ingredients can be too abrasive and aggressive. They may even attack the enamel leaving your teeth unprotected!
I’m using calcium carbonate in my toothpaste and have not noticed any abrasion. It might depend on the grade and fineness of it and how much you’re using—I can’t really say for sure though.
This is just my personal experience, yours might be different.
I highly recommend not to use lemon (or any citrus fruit for that matter) as the citric acid may harm the enamel.
A safer alternative is lemon essential oil (or any other citrus essential oil, like lime) which is derived from the peel and is free of citric acid (citric acid is water-soluble and therefore is not present in pure lemon oil).
- rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium
- remineralises your teeth
- cleansing and detoxing properties
- binds toxins and metals
Bentonite clay is an absorbent, sedimentary, and nutrient-rich clay that is usually formed from volcanic ashes. Due to its electromagnetic ionic charge (normally negatively), it has the ability to cleanse and detox. Used in DIY toothpastes, the ions in Bentonite clay act as a magnet and absorb and bind everything "bad" (like metals and toxins) in your mouth.
Loaded with minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Silica, Sodium, Copper, Iron and Potassium, Bentonite clay may help to remineralise your teeth. Remineralising simply means that you strengthen your teeth by removing the baddies from your mouth and provide the minerals they need to rebuild enamel.
Important to know
Some people say (and this is the majority, I find) that you should keep the clay away from anything made of metal because it could lose its magnetic charge. There are other sources though which claim that metal does not have an effect at all.
So, your choice who to believe. I’ve decided to stay on the safe side and not use anything made of metal. If you want to do the same, use glass, wood, silicone or plastic utensils instead and store your toothpaste in a glass jar or plastic container.
Alternatives for bentonite clay in your homemade toothpaste
Most kinds of mineral clay will work instead—as long as they are food grade. French green clay is a great alternative (but also more expensive)!
Just do your research before using any clay if they are safe for internal use as well! Not that we’re actually swallowing toothpaste but always stay on the safe side! 😉
- prevents plaque and may even reduce it
- has tooth whitening properties
- may reduce tooth decay and signs of gum disease
Coconut oil is my favourite oil to use in toothpaste. It is known to reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth and plaque buildup, fight gingivitis (and even gum disease), and thus prevent tooth decay.
Periodontal disease and cavities are both caused by bacteria. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties which attack harmful micro-organisms (like bacteria).
When brushing your teeth with coconut oil you’re adding a natural antibiotic to your oral care routine and give those baddies no chance to grow and expand!
It’s even said that coconut oil (especially used in oil-pulling) can reduce tooth decay and signs of gum disease.
Does coconut oil toothpaste whiten teeth?
Some studies have shown that coconut oil decreases plaque and help prevent new buildup. This might be why people are claiming that coconut oil is whitening their teeth.
I myself agree and do think it makes my teeth whiter and especially shinier, smoother. I’ve also noticed that I don’t have as much tartar build up around the wire behind my front teeth (everyone who had a retainer probably knows that problem…).
If you are looking for whiter teeth you could try turmeric or maybe even activated charcoal (more about them below)!
Important to know
The only downside about coconut oil is that it turns liquid at 24°C/76°F (or turns solid below this temperature).
If you want to create a toothpaste for a tube, this might be annoying because you need it to be liquid all the time. In this case, you probably want to use fractionated coconut oil.
It stays liquid, even in the cold, because the long-chain fatty acids were removed leaving only the medium-chain fatty acids behind – the ones we need. (There are apparently no differences between the two, coming to benefits)
- rich in antioxidants
- reduces plaque
- may whiten teeth
Another oil you might want to consider is olive oil. It is anti-inflammatory and is loaded with antioxidants which help protect your body from cellular damage.
Olive oil is used as an alternative in oil-pulling showing similar results to coconut oil (reduced plaque buildup). Some people swear it’s also whitening their teeth.
The good thing about olive oil is that it doesn’t change like coconut oil—it stays liquid throughout. I like using it in combination with coconut oil during the cold months so my toothpaste isn't rock solid!
- removes plaque
- rich in minerals (particularly calcium)
- helps prevent periodontitis
- may be too abrasive and have a negative effect on the enamel
Calcium carbonate is a 100% natural ingredient which is derived from limestone, chalk or marble and comprises about 4% of the earth’s crust.
In some countries it was used for cleaning and as stain remover. In others, it is a well known medication for heart burn and to treat calcium deficiencies.
Many homemade or natural toothpastes use calcium carbonate to provide minerals, especially calcium. I like to think you’re literally brushing the minerals onto your teeth—and I heard somewhere that teeth can actually absorb minerals from our foods. I couldn’t find out whether this is really true though.
A word of caution
Another reason to use calcium carbonate in your homemade toothpaste is that it can remove plaque however, some experts say it is way to abrasive and might actually remove some of the enamel as well.
I’m using about a tablespoon in my toothpaste and I feel like it doesn’t do that. Just wanted to include this in this guide though because you might not want to use it.
If you do choose to use it make sure you’re using very fine, food grade calcium carbonate!
- whitens teeth naturally
- removes plaque, stains and discolouring
- cleanses the teeth
- may have a negative effect on the enamel
This is a little bit of a controversy. Personally, I do not use bicarb/baking soda in any of my toothpastes because I think it is far too abrasive for my teeth and gums.
Just think about what it does in your baking or when your add vinegar. If you use the wrong proportions it can attack your enamel as well which might lead to tooth decay.
However, some people swear it works well for them and it seems to be a fairly good method remove stains.
So, do your own research and make up your opinion about it – you might like using it.
- has cleansing and detoxing properties
- binds toxins and metals
- may whiten teeth
Ideally, you use it in combination with bentonite clay (or calcium carbonate) as you only need small amounts of it in your toothpaste.
Is activated charcoal good for your teeth?
Activated charcoal – just like bentonite clay – inhabits toxin-absorbing properties. Furthermore, it’s anecdotally known for having a teeth whitening effect because it removes plaque and other buildups on your choppers.
I find it does whiten my teeth but at the same time think that turmeric is much more effective—for my teeth anyway. So, if you’re looking for whiter teeth, give it a try! It might be working for you!
A word of caution
The only negative thing about it: it stains and it’s messy! When you’re using activated charcoal in your toothpaste, be aware not to spill anything on your clothes while brushing your teeth with it…
If you feel like trying out charcoal in your homemade toothpaste, try this recipe!
- 100% natural (preferably using high quality (maybe even therapeutic grade) oils)
- promote fresh breath (peppermint and clove in particular)
Due to their cleansing and soothing properties, essential oils make an excellent choice for clean, healthy teeth and gum! As they are very powerful, highly concentrated natural ingredients, you only need a few drops to benefit from them.
Which essential oils are best for homemade toothpaste?
There is quite a range of essential oils with cleansing and/or soothing properties which are great for oral care and hygiene:
Peppermint promotes fresh breath throughout the day. Alongside Spearmint, it’s the most popular choice when it comes to freshening your breath due to its cool, minty taste and smell.
Due to its anti-microbial properties, Peppermint essential oil is also known to eliminate harmful bacteria, and to disinfect and soothe inflammations.
Spearmint is milder and sweeter than peppermint which makes it a great alternative for kids.
Clove and Cinnamon
I love using peppermint oil but clove and cinnamon are definitely my second choice! They are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and clove particularly also helps with bad breath. Besides, I love anything spicy, and it’s nice for a change sometimes!
As they are both considered strong oils, you have to be careful with the dosage. A few drops will be enough! If the recipe says 10-20 drops, go far a maximum of 10. I find 7-8 to be plenty!
Important to know before using essential oils in your homemade toothpaste
Always ensure that the essential oil(s) you are using are approved to be used internally and topically before adding them to your toothpaste.
Also, always make sure to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. There are some stronger oils (like clove and cinnamon) which will definitely need to be diluted before use.
You don’t necessarily have to do that with every oil, but honestly, stay on the safe side – plus, you’re most likely using an oil in your toothpaste anyway.
- helps fight cavities and tooth decay
- may even reverse cavities
- a natural, sugar-free sweetener (ideal for a homemade kids toothpaste)
Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener derived from birch trees (or also corn). Although it’s sweet it actually does not cause cavities but reduces them!
It prevents these bacteria to grow and multiply in your mouth. Over time, the number of decay-causing bacteria reduces so much so fewer plaque forms, thus fewer cavities.
So, it doesn’t only sweeten your toothpaste, it also promotes healthy teeth!
- is (anecdotally) known to have teeth whitening properties
- has a distinct/strong taste
I love using turmeric! It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which we learned are very beneficial in your toothpaste. Beside that, it also has the ability to whiten!
Yes, you read correctly! It whitens! I know, right? Turmeric stains everything yellow. But trust me when I say that it is a whole other story on your teeth!
Apparently, there are no studies, really, if turmeric whitens your teeth. It's rather a mouth-to-mouth thing. So: Here’s my mouth, and it tells you: yes, it works! Well, for me it does.
My teeth have never really been yellow yellow and always had a natural white tone but they have definitely become whiter ever since I’ve been putting turmeric in my toothpaste. And I also noticed when I didn’t do it, my teeth became slightly more yellow.
If you feel like trying out turmeric in your homemade toothpaste, try this recipe!
Important to know when using it in your homemade toothpaste
As mentioned earlier, turmeric stains everything yellow. So, yes, if you spill it’ll also stain your clothes or towels or wherever it lands on.
And yup, happened to me plenty of times and so far I was able to get it out again (even in a cold wash). But just as a word of warning and to keep in mind.
Another thing is: if you don’t like the taste of turmeric in general, don’t use it! You’ll taste it in your toothpaste for sure.
- home remedy for toothache
- creates an alkaline environment and makes it hard for bacteria to multiply
Salt has been used for centuries, in traditional medicine, to treat several diseases and was used as an anti-inflammatory.
Salt water is also a natural antibacterial home remedy for toothache. It cleanses our teeth and gums and will prevent swelling if you have a sore tooth or gums.
Adding salt to your homemade toothpaste is also contributing to fighting cavities. Salt will temporarily increase your pH balance of your mouth which creates an alkaline environment. Bacteria can not survive in it so it makes it difficult for them to breed.
Important to know
I recommend using fine sea or rock salt, and no iodised salt! Iodised salt often contains added fluoride or sometimes even sugar.
- also known as miracle tree
- rich in nutrients, particularly calcium and iron
- has quite a distinct, slightly bitter taste
Moringa, India’s miracle tree, is probably not well known amongst the ingredients for homemade toothpaste. Which is why I simply had to include it in this guide.
Moringa is relatively high in calcium and is just as beneficial as bentonite clay or calcium carbonate! So it might be a great alternative if you’re not really into any clay or calcium carbonate!
If you feel like trying out moringa for your homemade toothpaste, try this recipe!
Important to know before using it in your homemade toothpaste
Moringa has quite a distinct taste. Just as turmeric, you need to like it, or don’t use it. I’m not the biggest fan of its taste but I find in combination with xylitol, it’s not too bad.
It seems to neutralise the rather bitter taste of Moringa.