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Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 139 Comments

4 reasons to break up with toothpaste, plus a whitening tooth powder recipe

Confession: I Haven’t Used Toothpaste In Five Years

It’s true. And I still have friends. And no, it’s not because all bad breath is equal over the internet. Despite how unseemly my confession must seem, I didn’t give up toothpaste in an attempt to create a six foot “personal space bubble.” My mouth is actually minty fresh as I type this – I just took a closer look at the label and decided that toothpaste and I needed to break up.

Sorry, toothpaste. It’s not me. It’s you, and here’s why:

Fluoride

Most commercial toothpastes – even many of the “natural” ones – contain fluoride. Unfortunately, a Harvard study recently linked fluoride to lowered IQ in children, while additional research has associated it with weakened bones, thyroid suppression, lowered metabolic function and dementia. (source 1, source 2, source 3)

Is it possible to remain cavity-free without fluoride? Great question. According to Dr. Hardy Limeback, DDS, PhD, who has served as head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto and president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research, “You can get perfectly healthy teeth with resistant enamel without having any kind of fluoride exposure.” (source)

Glycerin

Glycerin is used in almost all toothpastes because it helps create a pasty texture and prevents it from drying out. Though it’s non-toxic and I love to use it in homemade beauty formulas, glycerin is not something I want in my mouth. Why? Because it coats the teeth in a way that prevents normal tooth remineralization. Though most of us were raised to believe that minerals cannot be returned to the structure of the tooth itself, there is good data suggesting that it can. If the concept of remineralization is new to you, I recommend you check out this post from Wellness Mama.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a foaming agent and detergent that is commonly used in toothpaste, shampoo, and other products used to do things like, um, degrease car engines.  Why should we avoid it? Though some people have concerns that it may be an estrogen mimicker, I’d say the most obvious and substantiated reason is that it increases gum inflammation and mouth ulcers. According  to a study conducted the Department of Oral Surgery & Oral Medicine in Oslo, Norway, individuals who used a toothpaste containing SLS suffered from more ulcers (canker sores) than those who used an SLS-free toothpaste. (source)

Titanium Dioxide

Used to make toothpaste look white, titanium dioxide is sometimes used in it’s nano-particle form. (source) It’s also used in salad dressings for the same reason, and I wrote here about why that might be a problem.

So What Do I Use Instead?

The great thing about ditching toothpaste is that there’s no “right” way to replace it. Many things, like tooth soap and even coconut oil will work, but after a lot of experimentation I concluded that the recipe below works best for my family. Here’s a breakdown of what each ingredient does:

Bentonite Clay

Yes, I’m talking about the stuff I wash my hair with. Bentonite clay is a gentle cleanser that is rich in minerals which support tooth remineralization. It’s detoxifiying properties help freshen breath and fight gum disease, while it’s adsorptive properties help remove stains from teeth. (See Activated Charcoal for more about adsorption)

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive tooth polish that helps mechanically remove stains while other ingredients such as clay and activated charcoal draw them out. It also helps freshen breath.

Sea Salt

Unrefined sea salts such as this one and this one contain 60+ trace minerals that aid in tooth remineralization. Salt is also highly antiseptic, which helps keep bacteria in check.

Herb & Spices

Spices and herbs such as clove powder, ground cinnamon, and ground mint add flavoring, but they also have astringent properties that support gum health.

Stevia

The whole herb form of stevia is used in this recipe as a sweetener. My kids like the flavor so much they actually refuse to spit when they brush their teeth. Of course, that’s okay with me because all the ingredients are edible.

Activated Charcoal

As I wrote here, “Activated charcoal – also called activated carbon – is made by processing charcoal with oxygen and either calcium chloride or zinc chloride. It was used medicinally by both Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians, and it is still the poison remedy of choice in modern day emergency rooms. Why? Because it’s highly adsorptive, which in plain English means it attracts substances to its surface like a magnet. Like absorptive substances which work like a sponge, adsorptive materials bind with certain compounds and prevent our bodies from using them.

Fortunately for us, activated charcoal is a bit particular about what it locks onto. It’s not interested in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, inorganic phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and other compounds you probably want to hang onto (including your tooth enamel). It does, however, happen to like tannins – the compounds found in coffee, tea (even herbal tea), blueberries, wine and spices like cinnamon that stain our teeth. As a bonus, activated charcoal also balances the mouth’s pH and is even considered beneficial enough to be used in some tooth re-mineralization formulas.”

4 reasons to break up with toothpaste, plus a whitening tooth powder recipe

Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe

Note: Feel free to add or adjust ingredients based on your needs. For example, if you have very sensitive teeth you might want to skip the baking soda and salt at first, or if you want to focus on removing stains add a little more activated charcoal.

Ingredients

* If you don’t have peppermint leaves, just grind some peppermint tea in a coffee grinder. Voila!

Directions

Using a stainless steel or plastic spoon, mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar. To use, add a little to a wet toothbrush and brush as normal.

Looking For More Recipes?

DIY Organic Beauty Recipes4-001

My ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, is a 198 page guide that will show you how ridiculously easy it is to make your own beauty products, like:

  • Quick yet luxurious gifts for friends and baby showers
  • Fabulous shampoos and conditioners
  • Tooth whitener
  • Lotion
  • Body sprays
  • Deodorants and more.

Check it out here

 

 

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139 Responses to Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe

  1. Lotus says:

    Although the “not for external use” clay may not be impure, is it possible that it is contaminated with parasites? It is dirt, after all. I would assume that food grade clay would be baked or something to kill any possible parasites.

  2. Kat says:

    Is there a reason you aren’t answering the multiple questions on here about whether or not this is safe to use with amalgam fillings or metal of any kind in the mouth? You reply to other questions submitted after those but pointedly ignore every single person with that type of question. Just curious as to why.

    • Heather ~ Mommypotamus says:

      Hi Kat, I’m not intentionally leaving any questions unanswered. Sometimes a lot of questions come through at once – I answer as many as I can before bed, and then when I wake up there’s a fresh waves. Sometimes questions get lost in the pile, which is what happened here.

      Redmond Clay, which sells a product similar to this powder (although with xylitol, which I personally avoid) has this to say: “We have found that a short period of time with metal is not enough to cause a reaction, such as brushing your teeth, or mixing the clay with a spoon. You would not want to leave a spoon in clay for a long period of time, or leave clay packed on a tooth with a filling, but for brushing you are perfectly safe.”

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I was wondering if when using a peppermint oil, if this is safe to use when pregnant? I was wondering the same thing about your tooth soap recipe, which calls for EOs. I know they’re not being ingested, but I’m just wanting to be on the safe side. What do you recommend?

  4. Kristen says:

    Hi Heather,

    Love this recipe! I would love to feature it on our Facebook page and share with our 250k fans, of course linking to your FB page and providing direct link to this post.

    I am reaching out to ask for your permission to do so – Can you please contact me via e-mail?

    Thank you!

    In Health,
    Kristen
    An Organic Conversation

  5. Elise says:

    Hi Heather, thank you very much for this great recipe which I am about to make (already stocked on bentonite clay!). However, would you please advise how this recipe could be adapted to an 10.5 month old baby? She already has 7 teeth and I really ought to start cleaning her teeth to prevent decay. Many thanks in advance for your advice!
    Elise

  6. Jasmine says:

    Dear Heather,
    I heard that clay has high content of aluminum. Aren’t you concerned?
    Jasmine

  7. Kim Lambdin says:

    I wanted to thank you for this recipe… love it! I was scrolling through all the comments to see if my concern was addressed but there are too many to wade thru so I thought I’d just go ahead and post it.
    No metal should come into contact with Bentonite Clay. The metal does something to the properties or something. Forgive me, I’m typing one-handed while breastfeeding and need to be somewhat brief.
    Also, I researched BIRCH xylitol compared to “regular” xylitol. Gotta be careful of how and what it’s made of – so check before buying Xylitol – sorry, saw someone ask about subbing xylitol for the stevia. Stevia is a plant and ROCKS OUT LOUD!
    Anyway – I wanted to ask about the charcoal – I was told to only brush with the charcoal (activated – not briquettes we bbq with..haha…sorry warped sense of humor over here)….I was told only use activated charcoal every 2-3 days. I’m not sure what the reason was initially… Do you know why there could be a “warning suggestion” of not to use it daily?

  8. Paxton says:

    I was wondering if this recipe would work it is close to yours but a little cheaper on a full time college student.

    http://www.primallifeorganics.com/collections/dirty-mouth/products/dirty-mouth-primal-toohpowder

  9. Kym says:

    Is unrefined stevia powder the same as the Stevia found at the grocery store? I noticed the post linked to a product that was green, but the powder I’ve used is white — is there a difference? Are they interchangeable? Thanks

  10. Angie says:

    Is clove powder different than cloves, the spice?

  11. Eliane says:

    I wonder how long you can keep this for before it goes bad?

  12. Cristina says:

    Hi! Can I use calcium carbonate instead of clay? How can I make this into a paste? Thanks!

  13. Kellie says:

    Hi Heather,

    I absolutely adore your blog, I find myself going to you and the wellness mama just about every day for something or another. I love that in those moments when I don’t have time to research the crap out of something myself, I can go to you and feel safe about what I’ll find. You are a wonderful resource, thank you so very much.
    I’m wondering if there is any reason I could not add coconut and olive oil to this recipe to make it more liquid or paste-y? Or if there was something else you would recommend to make it more texturally similar to toothsoap? Obviously it would be gritty but I really just want it to stick to the brush. Husband has gotten used to toothpaste being in a soap dispenser and would not like to go back to dipping out of a jar. Not to mention the toddler mess, but that’s another story. Thank you. :)

    • Heather says:

      You totally could add coconut or olive oil. Eventually I’ll work out a squeezable toothpaste recipe, but it will probably be awhile because we’re gearing up for spring on our farm.

      I’m so glad you have found my blog helpful – and Katie’s too! She’s one of my favorite people, and my kids LOVE her kids :)

  14. Amanda says:

    Hey. I was just wondering, I read your article on nano-particles. Are you saying that Titanium Dioxide could be made with nanoparticles and therefore could potentially be making it harder to get iron because of that?

  15. jiimms says:

    Hello Heather,
    I came by your blog after seeing my six year old son’s teeth turning brown even after brushing twice a day. and i have spent a few hours on your various blogs. Thanks for so much wonderful information that you have shared.
    This homemade tooth powder is very doable for me but is there anything i can replace bentonite clay with. That seems bit difficult to find.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Hi! LOVE this post, thanks so much! Do you think a natural neem powder would be beneficial to add to this recipe? I’ve heard good things about neem and tooth health, which I why I think it would make a good edition. I would use a raw powder like the one found in the link below as opposed to a processed product, I’d love to know your opinion. Thanks!

    http://www.amazon.com/Banyan-Botanicals-Neem-Powder-Detoxification/dp/B00DV00YRK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427140131&sr=8-1&keywords=organic+neem+powder

  17. Ashley says:

    Hi Heather!

    I have used your tooth powder recipe (minus the stevia) for exactly one week now and I am in love. It’s great! I had really sensitive teeth prior to this and since I’ve “broken up with toothpaste” I haven’t had a problem! Plus, they are already looking pearly! Thank you so much! I love your well researched posts!

  18. Lorena says:

    Hi Heather. We love this recipe but I suffer from tonsil stones. I find that when I brush with this powder my breath is not as minty as I would like. I tried adding more mint powder and still I am not too happy. I end up just using regular toothpaste so does my husband. Can you recommend something to control tonsil stones? Thank you

  19. Ellie says:

    Hi Heather,
    I love your website and am especially looking forward to trying out this tooth powder. However I’m concerned that using baking soda and salt over a long period of time could be too abrasive and wear down my tooth enamel, like this article cautions about: http://www.newhealthguide.org/Brushing-Teeth-With-Baking-Soda.html
    You’ve been using this powder a long time, is there anything you can say about the possible damages over time? Would it be as effective if I left out the baking soda and salt? Thank you!

  20. Pam says:

    Hi Heather,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I am so happy and blessed by your site. I so appreciate the research you put into everything you post. I find myself referring friends and even strangers I meet in the grocery store 😉 to your site for all kinds of reasons!
    Pam

  21. 10 Natural Remedies For Eczema - MommypotamusMommypotamus | says:

    […] Tooth powder […]

  22. Joanne says:

    Thanks for this great recipe. I made it a couple of days ago without the optional ingredients and my first impression was that it tastes weird and good at the same time (I LOVE cinnamon!). The outside of my teeth feel really clean and smooth, but the inside feels rough and ‘dirty’. I’m wondering if this is simply because there is a transition period, or I need to brush more often (I brush morning and night), or add more baking soda…. I don’t know. Did anyone else have this problem?

  23. Liz says:

    The stevia you have a link to has been out of stock for a bit now. Do you have another one you’d recommend?

    Also I’ve read recently that turmeric is also good for oral health and can be used to brush your teeth with. Have you tried it? Thought?

  24. Susan says:

    I was surprised to read about using turmeric on one’s teeth. When I was taking the powder daily for health reasons, turmeric stained everything it came in contact with yellow. I wonder how it is that it whitens teeth rather than stain them yellow. I bought bentonite clay for teeth whitening on advice from my friend and got so distracted by the suggestions on the jar to use it as a facial mask that I forgot I could use it for teeth brushing. Thanks for the reminder. You rock Mommypotamus!,

  25. Anna says:

    So excited to try your tooth powder recipe, Heather! I am wondering if adding coconut oil to the powder would be a good solution to turning it into a paste. What do you think?

  26. Tammy says:

    Heather,

    Hi, I have recently found out I am salicylate sensitive, which is why I am looking up homemade recipes. My concern would be the mint, cloves, cinnamon and stevia. All are high in salicylates. Would there be a problem with the amount of other ingredients if I leave the high salicylate ingredients out of the mix? I am tempted to try something like chamomile in it to replace the mint or something, as that is low salicylate, as is parsley and coriander.

    • Heather says:

      Hi Tammy, it’s fine to leave them out. They do have astringent qualities, but they are mostly incorporated for flavor :)

  27. Godsgirl says:

    Your adorable Heather and thanks for sharing all your hard work and research. Ignore the bullies. They just need prayer. Keep on keeping on. God loves you and so do I. :)

  28. Eva says:

    My teeth are sensitive so will this help with the sensitivity of my teeth and
    with the Charcoal stain the porcelian on my caps and teeth fillings?
    Please let me know,
    Thanks,

  29. Shawn says:

    Hi Heather, you mentioned all the ingredients are edible. Does that mean this is safe to use for babies? I was wanting to use something chemical free for my 6 month old. Thank you!

  30. L says:

    Hello,
    I am curious if bentonite would pull any minerals from teeth. Thoughts?

    I’d love to try this recipe but would like to know what you ha e read regarding this.

    Thank you!

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