If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, making homemade toothpaste is a great skill to add to your repertoire. The most basic recipe is incredibly easy to make, but if you’re looking for more customization, there are also more elaborate methods to try.
You can make your own toothpaste with just baking soda and water. You can also add other ingredients if you want, such as coconut oil, salt, cacao nibs, and more. These can add some benefits, but they’re all optional.
It’s true that 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 their own elaborate concoctions for preventing cavities. But there’s one household ingredient that does a great job of cleaning up your mouth all on its own: baking soda.
One major 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 beneficial level. It’s a bit like the way Tums cancel out heartburn.
Follow this simple, three-step process to make the most basic version of homemade toothpaste.
- Put some baking soda in a small dish. You don’t have to measure it; just estimate how much toothpaste you want to make. 1 teaspoon will be plenty for a few uses.
- Add a few drops of water, stirring as you go.
- Stop adding water when you have a thick, toothpaste-like mixture.
Once you’ve made the toothpaste, you can dip your toothbrush in it 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 just pour a small amount in 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 in no time.
The Chocolate Version
Wait a minute—you can brush your teeth with chocolate? Well, not exactly. But this recipe does use cacao nibs, which come from the same beans that are used to make chocolate.
Besides adding some great taste, cacao nibs contain compounds that can help cavities heal naturally and have probiotics and prebiotics that help to keep the right bacteria alive in the mouth.
The recipe also includes xylitol. This is a pretty remarkable substance because it tastes like sugar without any of the harmful effects sugar can bring.
It wouldn’t make much sense to brush your teeth with real sugar, would it? The xylitol works together with the cacao nibs to make the toothpaste taste more like real chocolate.
This version of homemade toothpaste isn’t difficult to make, but it does have a lot more ingredients and steps than the basic version. It also makes enough toothpaste to last for many uses. Still, if you think the extra effort is going to make it too difficult to keep up a good brushing routine, stick with the basic version.
Click here to get the full recipe. It comes from a team of experts on dental and oral health who try to break through some of the 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 to use.
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.
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, as well as anything else acidic when making your own toothpaste. Again, acidity plays a big role in tooth decay, so it has no place in a product meant to fight that decay.
Essential oils are a big trend these days. They can have great 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 at a time. 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 home to good bacteria as well, but also 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 to only 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 certain: 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 things, and the latter might not be as effective as some believe.
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 own 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.
Of course, before you switch to homemade toothpaste for good, you should talk to a dentist you trust about whether it’s right for you. In the meantime, there’s no harm in giving it a try. Maybe chocolate toothpaste will be just what you need to get back on the right path with dental hygiene!