Natural toothpaste options

by Farmer Liz
Natural Toothpaste from Biome

We have been using a natural toothpaste for years, its probably one of the first changes that we made from a "conventional" lifestyle to our current weird hippy lifestyle. At first I just wanted to avoid sodium lauryl sulphate in commercial toothpaste. But there are other ingredients that I also found suspicious, artificial sweeteners, flavours and fluoride all made me a little nervous. I don’t want to get into the conspiracy theories around fluoride (here is a relatively balanced article, and one from the other end of the spectrum), except to say that I’ve looked at the data on flouride and tooth decay and I’m not convinced that mass-flouridisation prevents tooth decay, so I’d rather avoid it. I bring my own rainwater to Brisbane so I don’t have to drink town water, so my consumption is fairly low.

I went to the dentist last year, after a break of a couple of years, and I was pretty nervous.  Even though I was sure I was doing the right thing, I wondered how I would react if I was told that I had a mouth full of cavities.  I nearly fell off the chair when the dentist told me it all looked good.  What a relief!  On the other hand, Pete had a sore tooth and after an initial visit, has had several follow-up visits this year to repair numerous cavities and now uses a "flouride gel".  He uses the natural toothpaste too, so its hard to tell what's different and whether he already had that decay before we switched toothpastes.  There is always a risk when we don't follow the official advice, that we could be completely wrong, but I guess its worth a try to find a more sustainable and natural alternative to chemical toothpaste.  

eight acres: natural toothpaste options
toothpaste options

Natural toothpastes are usually based on sodium bicarbonate and salt. They taste and feel different to commercial toothpaste, but you get used to it and I find commercial toothpaste quite disgusting now, far too sweet and a weird texture! There are a number of brands available, all around $10/100-150g, which is about twice the price of a standard commercial toothpaste. I have been thinking about making my own toothpaste, or even tooth powder, to save money and because it is annoying to have to remember to stop at the “health food” shop to pick it up. When I was looking for toothpaste recipes, I came across the concept of remineralising teeth, which is yet another reason to make my own.

Remineralisation is the concept that teeth decay can be repaired through normal cell regeneration if you eat a diet rich in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, and add minerals to your toothpaste (more here and here). In particular, the minerals calcium, phosphorous and magnesium need to be available. There are many different recipes for homemade toothpaste and I wasn’t sure which one to use, so last time I went to buy toothpaste, I bought one of each brand available in the shop so that I could compare. If you don’t want to make your own toothpaste, you could choose one of these natural options as an alternative to commercial toothpaste.

eight acres: natural toothpaste options

Miessence Toothpaste (website)

This is the one that we’ve been using for a long time. It contains salt, so it took a little while to get used to the taste, but I prefer it now.

Ingredients: Aloe vera juice, sodium bicarbonate, bentonite, xanthan gum, sea salt, stevia, essential oils

I don’t think that xanthan gum or stevia are really necessary, but can’t do much harm in small amounts in toothpaste.

Redmond Earthpaste(other flavours available) (website)

This paste is brown due to the Remond Clay content. After you get over the colour, it just tastes like toothpaste.

Ingredients: water, Redmond clay, xylitol, Redmond salt, tea tree oil, menthol, essential oils

Again, the xylitol is not really necessary and I find the added menthol too strong (and question whether it is a natural ingredient, as it can be produced synthetically, I remember making it in first year chemistry lab).

Weleda Calendual Toothpaste (other flavours available) (website)

Ingredients: Water, Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Alcohol, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Limonene (from essential oils).

This one is marked as peppermint free, which had me worried (am I supposed to avoid peppermint too now?), but it turns out that relates to homeopathy. The fennel oil reminds me of Bongela teething gel (hate to think what’s in that product). While the mineral content of this toothpaste is good (calcium, magnesium and silica), the inclusion of glycerine has been shown to prevent remineralisation. Also Xanthan gum, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate (an extract from liquorice root) and limonene are not really necessary ingredients.

Making my own toothpaste
These products, and the recipes I have read online come down to some basic ingredients:

Base – water, aloe vera, coconut oil

Abrasive agent (and minerals) – baking soda, salt, clay and minerals

Flavour – essential oils, artificial sweeteners

Thickener/texture modifier – xanthan gum, glycerine

Preservative/antioxidant – vitamin E for oil based, or grapefruit seed extract for water based (surprised that none of the toothpastes I bought had a preservative ingredient listed)

Since I became aware of the possibility of remineralising toothpaste, it seemed like if I was going to make toothpaste anyway, I should include some minerals. The minerals suggested in recipes were listed as “calcium powder” or “magnesium powder”, but these minerals don’t appear in nature as discrete powders, these products have been refined. It makes more sense to me to raid the cow mineral buckets! Dolomite contains both calcium and magnesium, diatomaceous earth is mainly silica, as is bentonite clay. In their impure form, both will contain trace amounts of many other minerals, including phosphorus. Sea salt is another source of trace minerals.

If I had to make toothpaste from scratch, without buying anything, I would use aloe vera harvested from my garden as the base, but as that is not the most convenient option (I would have to process to aloe vera), for now coconut oil is my preference.

eight acres: natural toothpaste options
homemade toothpaste - a bit muddy looking

My recipe
2 parts zeolite clay
5 parts dolomite
1 part diatomaceous earth
1 part sea salt
3-5 parts coconut oil
Essential oil
Vitamin E capsules (antioxidant)

Measure out the dry ingredients and then add the coconut oil until the texture is suitable.  Store in an airtight container (I bought small travel cosmetic containers) and only make a small amount at a time.

Its a bit sloppy in the summer heat and I'm not sure what it will be like in winter, I might have to use olive oil instead.  It tastes salty, a bit minty, and gritty.  If you go straight from a commercial smooth white chemical toothpaste, you might find this a bit odd, but its not much different to the other natural toothpastes.  It makes my teeth feel very clean, so I like it.  Pete even uses it, although he also asked me if there was any "proper" toothpaste, but more because he was wondering than refusing to use the homemade one.  We will see if it improves my dental health....

Here’s some other recipes from blogland

Wellness mama

Weedem and Reap

The Paleo

Have you tried making your own toothpaste?  Remineralising or otherwise?

Natural Toothpaste from Biome

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

eBook - Make Your Own Natural Soap
from $12.00
eBook - Our Experience with House Cows
from $12.00
eBook - A Beginner's Guide to Backyard Chickens and Chicken Tractors
from $12.00
eBook - Advanced Natural Soapmaking Techniques
from $12.00
eBook - Grow Your Own Vegetables
from $12.00