DIY Toothpaste: a Cost-effective Way to Improve Your Oral Health

Making homemade toothpaste is a great skill to add to your repertoire if you’re a do-it-yourself person. The most basic recipe is straightforward, but if you’re looking for more customization, there are more elaborate methods.

You can make your toothpaste with just baking soda and water. You can add other ingredients, such as coconut oil, salt, cacao nibs, and more. These can add some benefits, but they’re all optional.

Researchers and dental professionals have mixed opinions on the effectiveness of homemade toothpaste, but it has plenty of potential benefits. You’ll reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate, you’ll take more ownership over your dental hygiene, and you may even improve your dental health.

The Basic Recipe

Toothpaste manufacturers have come up with elaborate concoctions for preventing cavities. But there’s one household ingredient that does a great job of cleaning up your mouth on its own: baking soda.

One primary reason we get cavities in the first place is the constant wear that comes from acids sitting on the teeth. This acidic condition is made worse when we eat sugary food. But baking soda is on the opposite end of the pH scale.

It helps cancel out the acidity in the mouth, bringing the pH back to a more practical level. It’s a bit like the way Tums cancel out heartburn.

Follow this simple, three-step process to make the most basic homemade toothpaste.

  1. Put some baking soda in a small dish. You don’t have to measure it; estimate how much toothpaste you want to make. One teaspoon will be plenty for a few uses.
  2. Add a few drops of water, stirring as you go.
  3. Stop adding water when you have a thick, toothpaste-like mixture.

Once you’ve made the toothpaste, you can dip your toothbrush and brush like you normally would. This recipe is so simple that you don’t even need to make the toothpaste ahead of time.

If you keep some baking soda by your sink, you can pour a small amount into a dish each time you want to brush. Then wet your brush and use it to stir the baking soda around. Your brush will be coated with toothpaste and ready to use.

The Chocolate Version

Wait a minute—you can brush your teeth with chocolate? Well, not exactly. But this recipe uses cacao nibs, which come from the same beans used to make chocolate.

Besides adding great taste, cacao nibs contain compounds that can help cavities heal naturally and have probiotics and prebiotics that help keep the good bacteria alive in the mouth.

The recipe also includes xylitol. This is a remarkable substance because it tastes like sugar without any harmful effects sugar can bring.

It wouldn’t make much sense to brush your teeth with natural sugar, would it? The xylitol works together with the cacao nibs to make the toothpaste taste like real chocolate.

This version of homemade toothpaste isn’t difficult to make, but it has many more ingredients and steps than the basic version. It also makes enough toothpaste to last for many uses. Still, stick with the basic version if you think the extra effort will make it too difficult to keep up a good brushing routine.

Click here to get the full recipe. It comes from a team of dental and oral health experts who try to break through some misconceptions people have about dental care.

Ingredients to Avoid

There are probably hundreds of homemade toothpaste recipes floating around the Internet. But just because you find something on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Remember, making homemade toothpaste isn’t the same as making a casserole or cake. You want to be able to rely on your toothpaste to improve your dental health, so be wary of any recipes that aren’t by experts.

Acidic Ingredients

Some recipes you find might include lemon juice or other acidic liquids meant to give your toothpaste a fresh, citrusy taste. But you should avoid these ingredients and anything else acidic when making your own toothpaste. Again, acidity plays a significant role in tooth decay, so it has no place in a product meant to fight that decay.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are a big trend these days. They can have significant benefits when applied to the skin or diffused in the air, but if you use them in your toothpaste, they’ll usually be in your mouth for a few minutes. This is a problem because essential oils have antiseptic properties.

You might have heard that some bacteria, such as those in your gut, are good for you. It’s true, which is why probiotic foods and supplements have also become a recent trend.

Your mouth is also home to good bacteria and some bacteria that damage your teeth. Antiseptics like essential oils will kill both kinds, so it’s best to steer clear of them.

Should You Use Homemade Toothpaste?

This is a controversial one. Many dentists would tell you only to use commercially available toothpaste since it contains fluoride, which has been proven to help prevent cavities. Homemade toothpaste doesn’t include this mineral.

But other dentists, like the ones behind the chocolate toothpaste recipe, will say that fluoride toothpaste isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

One thing’s for sure: fluoride can fight cavities. That’s why your dentist might offer a fluoride treatment at your next visit. But fluoride treatments and fluoride toothpaste are very different, and the latter might not be as effective as some belief.

Fluoride is only included in toothpaste in small amounts because too much can be poisonous if swallowed. But including so little fluoride might also make it ineffective while adding unnecessary risks. This would make fluoride toothpaste worse than useless.

Besides not containing fluoride, homemade toothpaste can also have a unique psychological benefit. Buying toothpaste from the store might feel like an afterthought: just one more item on your shopping list. This can carry over to your feelings about brushing, leading you to care less about doing it right than you should.

But making your toothpaste can give you a sense of ownership over your dental hygiene. This might lead to better brushing, better awareness of what you eat, and better dental health overall.


Making homemade toothpaste is a simple and effective way to take control of your dental hygiene. Using just baking soda and water, you can create a basic recipe that can help neutralize the acidity in your mouth and reduce the risk of cavities. More elaborate methods also use additional ingredients, such as coconut oil, salt, cacao nibs, and more, which can add other benefits to your toothpaste.

While some dental professionals may have mixed opinions on the effectiveness of homemade toothpaste, it offers a way to reduce plastic waste, take ownership of your dental hygiene, and improve your dental health. However, it’s important to avoid ingredients, such as acidic liquids, and be cautious with recipes from non-experts.

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