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Why I Use Homemade Toothpaste – Update


I know, you just read that title and said, “What the heck!?”  “She is officially a hippie.”  Its okay if you thought it, my husband lovingly calls me one too.

When I told him I felt like we needed to switch toothpastes due to some of the articles I’ve been reading about wellness and health, he was like, whatever you think.  This is his usual response when I inform him of a personal food or chemical choice.  I read about what you should do to remineralize your teeth – or in other words, heal cavities, in this post here.  It discussed the importance of using a toothpaste without glycerin.  I saw this same message reappear in many wholesome message boards and facebook pages, advising people against glycerin.

So, the next step was to find this toothpaste without glycerin.  First off, you will likely not find one at your local big box of grocery store.  So, the next place I searched was Whole Foods.  Unfortunately, there are not any toothpastes without glycerin there either.  I asked a group of women on facebook that I go to when I am searching out an obscure item and they too said they could not find a toothpaste without glycerin.  So the next step was to determine if I could make my own.  I found this awesome website with a whole list of recipes.

I tweaked it a bit and made a cinnamon toothpaste.  Prior to using my homemade toothpaste I was already using a non-fluoride toothpaste – Tom’s Cinnamon flavor.  So, I thought I would try to replicate that taste without the glycerin. Here’s what I did:

Homemade Toothpaste From WholesomeMommy

I bought the bentonite clay in the vitamin and supplements bulk department at Earth Fare and you can likely find it at Whole Foods and other health food stores.  It was VERY cheap.  I also bought the essential oil from Young Living, but like the Bentonite clay, you can find essential oils at any health food store and even online.   The reason I prefer the Thieves essential oil is that it has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic – so I get a little immunity boost with each brushing. Since it contains clove and cinnamon it also has a lovely taste :) Here’s a link to my post about the Young Living Essential Oils and how to order. 

The ingredients to make this toothpaste (which lasted me about 6-8weeks) cost about less than a buck.  So, this is VERY cost effective.

Not convinced this is for you.  That’s okay.  But you should know what to look for {and avoid} in toothpaste:

1. Sodium Fluoride

Many people are probably aware that most toothpaste and many mouth rinses contain fluoride because that’s what dentists have recommended for years to prevent cavities. But did you know that most popular toothpastes contain enough fluoride to kill a small child within 2 to 4 hours?

 WARNING: Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, get medical help right away.

In children and youth, minimal ingestion of sodium fluoride causes salivation, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhea. Large doses of the carcinogen may cause paralysis, muscular weakness and clonic convulsions, followed by respiratory and cardiac failure.

Dentists have trumpeted the virtues of fluoride for years, claiming it’s the best defense against tooth decay. Fluoride supposedly builds strong, healthy teeth. In reality, sodium fluoride, a by-product of aluminum manufacturing, can also be found in rat poisons and industrial pesticides. According to the Akron Regional Poison Center, ingesting 1/10 of an ounce of fluoride can kill a 100-lb. adult. {Read more at Livestrong.com}.

Fluoride is bad news – and many of us ingest it already in our drinking water.  {We have well water and we use a Big Berkey Water Filter to filter anything harmful out}.  If you drink city water and your state puts fluoride in – I recommend you use a filtration system similar to ours.   By the way, fluoridation is in the news today – If you live in Portland, Oregon, your water is safe!  Portlanders voted to keep fluoride OUT of their pristine water. {See the article on USA Today here}.

At the very least, choose a toothpaste for yourself and your children WITHOUT fluoride such as BabyGanics Say Ahh Flouride Free Toothpaste {watermelon flavor} – it actually doesn’t have glycerin either!  This is what I buy for my children.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate {SLS}

In the cleaning industry, SLS is used in products such as garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps. Elsewhere, SLS is used for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Laboratories use it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin.

According to the American College of Toxicology, sodium laurel sulfate may stay within the body for up to five days, accumulating in the heart, liver, lungs and brain with potentially harmful longterm effects.  SLS is also found in most shampoos including “no tears” baby shampoos, SLS can keep children’s eyes from developing properly, can cause cataracts in adults, can retard healing, and can impair hair growth.

3. Triclosan

Triclosan is found in lots of personal care items, including toothpaste.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies triclosan as a pesticide, stating it poses a risk to both human health and the environment. Scientists categorize triclosan as a chlorophenol, which is a type of chemical suspected of causing cancer in humans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to deliver a review this year of whether triclosan is safe. The ruling, which will determine whether triclosan continues to be used in household cleaners, could have implications for a $1 billion industry that includes hundreds of antibacterial products from toothpaste to toys.  So, depending on this determination, we might not have to worry about this one any more {crosses fingers}.  Read the whole article here on Huffington Post.

4. Propylene Glycol

An active component in antifreeze, propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. The Material Safety Data Sheets for propylene glycol warn that the chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, with prolonged contact leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA won’t allow its workers to handle propylene glycol without wearing rubber gloves, yet it doesn’t stop the chemical from being used in common health care products.

5. Hydrated Silica

Hydrated silica, which is primarily used as an abrasive in toothpaste, is made from a crystallized compound found in quartz, sand, and flint. Tooth enamel re-mineralizes daily from the supply of ionic calcium and phosphorus in the saliva. Scratching the surface of the tooth with an abrasive such as hydrated silica harms the enamel and prevents re-mineralization, much like using sand to clean glass. Severe wear could eventually occur.

Dr. Samuel Epstein, who is Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition and recipient of The Alternative Nobel Prize in 1998, states in his book – The amount of irritation caused by toothpaste is minimal but can include sore mouth and gums, wearing away of tooth enamel, sore tongue, and sloughing of mucous membrane. The public is cautioned against excessive use of products containing ‘dioforms,’ which are abrasive substances that can cause the breakdown of tooth enamel.

Products containing the ingredients silica and cellulose, in particular, should be avoided when gum disease, tooth decay, sensitivity and receding gums are present.

6. DEA

Consumers find diethanolamine, or DEA, in products that foam, including toothpaste. DEA disrupts hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates. According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor of environmental health at University of Illinois, repeated skin exposure to DEA can lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers.

Credit for the above information goes to the following sites.  I recommend you clicking through and reading their articles for more information on fluoride and these other harmful ingredients.
I will say that my children, on the other hand, don’t enjoy a pastey toothpaste.  Like most children they like the slick, fruity flavored varieties…ick. I tried making a variety with orange essential oil and while I thought it was lovely…they weren’t convinced. So, if you have finicky children like mine, I recommend Babyganics flouride free, glycerin free toothpaste {it is the ONLY glycerin toothpaste I’ve found}.  And, while I don’t necessarily love the taste of strawberry or watermelon toothpaste, they LOVE it. :)
I am not a doctor or dentist, I am a mom who has taken control of my family’s wellness and has made it my JOB to educate myself in natural and holistic methods of wellness.  This information is meant to inform you but in no way be a way to diagnose, treat, or cure sickness as a medical professional.  Use your own instinct and seek medical attention in an emergency.

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  1. MrsCoach says:

    My 6 yo son is actually allergic to fluoride! 2 years ago, he received his first fliuride treatment at the dentist (was told he HAD to have it… We’d waited long enough). He had the mouthwash type ( not in the tray) and swished away and spit it out after 30 secs. Well, we left right after that, and within 20 mins he has blown up head to toe with hives. He was twice the size and started to have trouble breathing. I was already close, so I ran him right to the ER, and sure enough, he had an anaphylactic reaction to the flouride treatment. To this day our [former] dentist swears it was not the treatment but something else (which he ingested nothing the hour we were there through his sisters cleaning and then his, and had nothing after.) after thorough research, I found several cases such as ours where the child has a severe reaction and many have even died. Dentists tell you flouride is perfectly safe, but take it from us… Flouride can be deadly!! (no one in our family receives flouride treatments anymore!!)

  2. Justine says:

    I’m curious… it looks from your pic like you have a cool baby-food-pouch-like “tube” that you store yours in. Is that just my imagination? I think the application method would be the hardest for me to adjust to in using home-made toothpaste. Also, if you decide not to make your own at some point, I recently discovered that Redmond brand makes an all-natural toothpaste with bentonite clay called Earthpaste (http://www.earthpaste.com/). I haven’t tried it yet, and it’s likely more expensive than your homemade version, but it could be another option for you or another of your readers.

  3. Would it be okay to substitute Himalayan Crystal Salt (pink salt) for Sea Salt, as that is all I have on hand?

  4. This may be a really stupid question but, how do you put it on your toothbrush? Do you just dip the brush in? This will be my first time using homemade toothpaste and I’m just wondering if you have any advice. :) Thanks in advance! I’ve been using a store bought natural toothpaste, no fluoride, SLS, etc. (I didn’t know about the glycerine thing until today) but it doesn’t leave my mouth feeling as fresh as I prefer. I ended up using a drop of thieves on my brush before applying the toothpaste. That’s just annoying to do though so I’m totally stoked for this recipe! Thank you!

  5. just wondering…the bentonite clay, is it a liquid?

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