Rethinking Oral Health Care: A Homemade Toothpaste Recipe for Tooth Remineralization

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Written by Courtney, Contributing Writer

Several years ago, I started to question some of the ingredients in commercial toothpastes as well as the approach of modern dentistry in general. I view some modern dentistry practices as appropriate and beneficial. Yet, the foundation of today’s dental philosophy is similar to the mainstream medical model in that it focuses on treatment and not prevention.

I believe the focus of dentistry (like medicine) should be prevention of decay and disease through sound nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

This begins in utero (even pre-conception), when the teeth and jaw structure are formed, is well established through breastfeeding, and must be adhered to for one’s lifetime.  Avoiding dental decay and disease through diet is challenging, as it means one must stray far from the standard American diet.

Remineralization

When most dentists detect a cavity, they suggest filling it, usually without thinking twice. However, what if teeth could be remineralized through a proper diet and oral hygiene routine? I believe they can.

Once drilled and filled, teeth are weakened and susceptible to further decay, but I believe that if we focus on prevention, we can avoid most cavities and subsequent oral health decline as a result of filling cavities.

Most of my teeth were drilled and filled in childhood and young adulthood, but I don’t want my children to go down the same path and struggle with susceptibility to decay for a lifetime because of it. I’m trying to learn more about prevention and remineralization so that my children can reap the benefits of a healthy mouth, which contributes to overall health.

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Image by makelessnoise

There are several factors involved in tooth remineralization, mainly diet, Ph of saliva, and oral hygiene practices. Diet and saliva are inter-related and quite complex, I encourage you to dig deeply into the link between nutrition and oral health and possibly re-examine your own assumptions there. I hope you will take a closer look at your own oral hygiene routine as well, as what I’m sharing with you today is based solely on my research and conclusions as a mom. I am not a dentist!

Toothpaste cleans teeth and remove plaque, which is beneficial, but if your goal is to maintain healthy teeth through a proper diet, mainstream toothpastes will work against your efforts. Furthermore, they contain questionable ingredients that may do more harm than good.

Glycerin – Certainly not bad in and of itself if properly sourced, but its use in toothpaste may not be ideal. Some suggest it may leave a layer of film on the teeth that prevents remineralization. It can also be dangerous to our health if processed with dangerous chemicals, and I assume most toothpastes contain the cheapest possible source.

Sodium Laurel SulfateSLS is a known carcinogen. Some natural companies still stand behind it’s use and claim it is safe, but I prefer to stay on the safe side here.

Saccharin – This was the first ingredient I questioned when I started to re-think my approach to dental health and toothpaste several years ago. I avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague, as most of them are proven carcinogens, several contribute to obesity and other health problems, and some are excitotoxins, meaning they cause rapid firing and death of brain cells. And yet, we see the artificial sweetener, saccharin, in our toothpaste.

Fluoride – You knew I’d get to this one. I don’t claim to be an expert on fluoride, but from my basic understanding, fluoride is highly toxic in the form found in toothpaste and never found in nature in this state. If you’re trying to rebuild tooth enamel, just like with glycerin, a “protective” layer of fluoride is not ideal. It is also suggested that the layer it forms on teeth is much thinner than originally thought and is useless against protecting teeth from decay anyway.

homemade toothpaste

A Safer Alternative

If you’re looking for a safe alternative to the common toothpastes, there are many options, from the more expensive natural toothpastes (be careful– some contain some of these questionable ingredients) to simple recipes you can make at home.

I’ve been experimenting with my own homemade toothpaste recipe for a while now, after I realized how easy it is to make on my own and that I don’t need to spend a fortune on store-bought brands.

The most basic toothpaste alternative is a simple tooth powder. You can use baking soda alone or combine it with salt for a gentle yet abrasive clean, or you can use a mineral powder such as calcium and/or magnesium. I use Natural Calm brand. Some prefer to add hydrogen peroxide to their tooth powder right before use. I rinse with hydrogen peroxide, so I don’t add it to my powder or paste.

I began to add coconut oil to my recipe to form a paste (and for its beneficial antibacterial properties) and essential oils for flavor. For a while, my recipe included coconut oil, baking soda, a dash of salt, and essential oil.

I’ve since been searching for a solution to the salty taste of the baking soda and salt, which my children aren’t crazy about, and have recently decided to add xylitol to help combat the saltiness. I’m new to the use of xylitol, but it does appear to be safe and even looks promising for cavity prevention. I also recently added trace mineral drops to my paste. I use these to add minerals back into our reverse osmosis filtered water when making water kefir and I thought it would be a great addition to our toothpaste as well.

Homemade Toothpaste

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 Tbps. baking soda
2 Tbsp. calcium magnesium powder
2 Tbps. xylitol or green stevia powder
2 tsp. real sea salt
20 drops essential oil (I use peppermint)
10 drops trace minerals
 

My style recipe would simply read: equal parts coconut oil, baking soda, calcium/magnesium powder, xylitol with a dash of salt, a few drops trace minerals, and essential oils to taste.

This toothpaste is a great follow up to oil pulling. Have you looked into oil pulling? Both oil pulling and a natural toothpaste like this one, in addition to flossing, can keep your teeth clean and healthy. With a proper diet that supports the necessary minerals for re-mineralization of teeth, I believe teeth can be healthier and whiter.

From what I understand, yellow teeth can be the result of reduced/demineralized enamel that allows the dentin beneath to show through. By strengthening that enamel through re-mineralization, teeth are not only healthier and free of cavities but also naturally whiter.

Stephanie’s note: For more on the importance of diet for both preventing and reversing tooth decay, and the process of remineralizing teeth, I would highly recommend the book Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. I’m currently reading it and even though I had learned some of these things previously (through Weston Price, etc.) I wish that I had looked more specifically into this topic long ago!

What are your thoughts on using a homemade toothpaste?

Top image by Rodrigo_Amorim

About Courtney

Courtney is passionate about natural and simple living. She believes in taking the time to nurture her family with nourishing food and healing through nature, knowing that God is the giver of life and that he has supplied us with ample resources for health and healing. She blogs at Simply Nurtured, where she shares her thoughts on raising a healthy family, with the belief that the foundation for a healthy life begins in the womb and in the early years. She also owns the Simply Nurtured Shop, where she sells natural products for mom and baby.

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Comments

  1. Read your post and love what you say. I recently met Dr. Ellie (drellie.com or zellies.com). I think you’d enjoy an email with her. Much of what you say is what she is trying to help others with but she might have some input about the baking soda specifically.

  2. I have read good things about Black Walnut rebuilding teeth. I wonder if you could add the powder or extract to the recipe above?

  3. I have all these ingredients at home except for the trace minerals. What exactly is that?

    Thanks!

    Kathy

  4. Susan Young says:

    I use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide only. My teeth are whiter and my breath is fresh. No film afterwards, just a clean, fresh palate and teeth.

  5. We buy a natural toothpaste without flouride, for this busy stage of life it works best best for us, but as soon as I go back to being a SAHM, I am going to try and make this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    • I’ve made this in larger batches, too. (Well, older versions of the recipe, that is.) That helps to reduce the time spent on making it. I’m not sure, though, how long it lasts. That would be great to know. If you only have to make it every few months, it’s not too time-consuming. :) That is a major factor to consider, as sometimes it makes more sense to go with store-bought during busy stages.

  6. Dawn Turner says:

    Great recipe! I hadn’t thought to add coconut oil. I’ll have to give that a try.

    I won’t, however, use xylitol. It’s highly toxic to dogs, so I won’t allow it in the house in any form in case the dogs get hold of it. I can’t speak to its safety (or possible lack thereof) for humans, but for dogs it’s deadly.

    I’m not a fan of stevia, so I just put up with the salty taste (which I actually don’t mind at all). The DE mentioned in the comments sounds like a great alternative to the salt for those who don’t like saltiness but don’t want to add any kind of sweetener.

    • Xylitol isn’t safe for dogs because it increases their insulin production. Basically for humans it is the total opposite. it is ok for diabetics because it does not raise blood sugar, so it doesn’t increase their insulin production. Animals don’t always react to things the same way we do. Xylitol is perfectly safe for you to use in your household, just don’t put it where the dogs can get it.

  7. Kathi Morgan says:

    In making homemade toothpaste. Just a couple questions Does one get the following ingredients at a Good Food Store, Magnesium/calcium powder, trace minerals, diatamaceous(sp) earth? And is it in bulk or bottle forms? Thanks for any help.

  8. Nicole Hale says:

    Do you think this will help with sensitive teeth? I’ve got sensitive teeth, could it be that I need to re-mineralize them?

    • Emily Manica says:

      can say that I did the oil pulling mentioned above with coconut oil and I had one tooth in the front that I could not put anything cold or hot on because it would send pain all through my jaw! The pulling helped tremendously! I am confident that this recipe would as well in time. Be Blessed!

  9. Nicole Hale says:

    Where do you get your xylitol and trace minerals?

  10. I’m so glad that you shared on this topic, Courtney. I am currently looking into this and reading through Cure Tooth Decay, along with two of my other close friends. We’ve all had some level of tooth decay and cavities in our families, both with the adults and the children, and we are all eager to halt that decay and prevent anything further. One friend is actually photo documenting the changes that they are making and the progress of her daughter’s cavity, as it (hopefully) begins to heal and fill in by itself. I can’t wait to share that success story in the not so distant future. :)

    And we just had a minor success story of our own. Although we don’t use a homemade recipe like what you have done (we currently use a natural store-bought brand w/o fluoride), we are trying to ensure that we get as many of the nutrients necessary to maintain strong tooth/bone health as we can (Vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus and trace minerals) through eating traditional foods. This fall my daughter had two cavities, one of which we filled and one which we held off on. Over the course of the fall and winter, we kept up with our cod liver oil, lots of pastured butter and butter oil, and we also really upped our raw milk consumption (that was probably the biggest change). We took our daughter back in to the dentist a few weeks ago and what had been a two-surface cavity which should have required drilling had become only a pin-prick, one-surface cavity which didn’t need to be drilled. The dentist said that they must have made a mistake when they initially told us about the cavity, but I don’t think so. :) I think her tooth actually began to remineralize- hooray!

    • That is super cool, Stephanie. Your oil-pulling post a few weeks (months?) ago was the first time I’d really thought past natural-toothpaste-from-the-store. Now I wanna know more!

      Thanks for this post, Courtney!
      a

    • What a great success story, Stephanie! And I can’t wait to see and hear about your friend’s experience!

  11. In talking to (LOTS of) people in the natural community (even a dentist who breastfed her own kids and had NO problem with caries) and doing my own research, Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that slows or ceases the production of bacteria in the mouth.

    When the bacteria eat (natural or artificial) sugar found in the mouth, then produce waste product (poop). This “poop” is what eats away at the teeth, because it is acidic, not the bacteria. When you have Xylitol (made from birch NOT corn) in the mouth, since this slows the production of bactieria, there is much less “poop”/waste product eating away at the teeth.

    …at least that’s what I heard ;)

  12. I use a recipe similar except I don’t use baking soda. It can be to abrasive on your teeth everyday. I use benonite clay powder. It offers a mild abrasive while also drawing out toxin. Including mercury. Doesn’t have the strong flavir either more of a mild earthy flavor. I also had horsetail powder for adding silica.

  13. I have tried homemade toothpaste similar to this and it was awful! My mouth felt yucky. I didn’t even feel like I had brushed my teeth. If I used it I would have to use mouthwash with it and who knows what all is in it.

    Someone mentioned Spry Toothpaste. I bought some and then looked again at the ingredients. It has sodium benzoate in it! I couldn’t believe it.

  14. I have been using homemade toothpaste for quite some time now.

    I use diatomaceous earth, coconut oil and wintergreen essential oil. Wintergreen still gives you that “minty fresh” taste and feel without the bite that some people find too strong. Between oil pulling and my natural paste, my tooth sensitivity is nearly a thing of the past!

    • Priscilla says:

      What are the ratios? may i have the recipe (amounts)? I have everything but the wintergreen essential oil, I do have other essentials oils

      • I put 2 T diatamaceous earth and just enough coconut oil to make it a paste. Remember that coconut oil is solid below 70 and a liquid above – since I live in Florida it stays liquid most of the year. I don’t put too much in there, but it is too wet, just add more DE. I probably add 15 or 20 drops of wintergreen – to taste.

        Good luck!

  15. Great post. I like to make my own toothpaste too. I also add bentonite clay to my
    mixture. I also heard to use diatomaceous earth. I wish I would have known about remineralizing my teeth LONG ago. I would have saved alot of money in dentist bills.

    • What’s your recipe? I use calcium bentonite, baking soda, xylitol, stevia, ground spearmint, coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, propolis, tea tree essential oil, strawberry flavoring and spearmint essential oil in my daughters. Still playing with it though.

  16. Marcy Wentworth says:

    Thanks Courtney for the great post. I just ordered the book Cure Tooth Decay and I’m going to try & make the toothpaste. I can’t believe I really have all I need to make it on hand!
    I have been buying natural toothpastes for years and making sure they don’t have fluoride. My dentists toothpaste brand is Spry. I just checked and it has vegetable glycerin and Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurite (whatever is that?). It’s sweetened with Zylitol and Stevia, so that’s a good thing.
    I have started oil pulling last month. I will read this book and delay the filling of my two small caries. They are in the exposed roots of teeth near the front of my mouth so I can easily watch what happens to them. The hard part will be giving up sugar. (Hmm, do I eat my stash or give it away??lol ) In the long run I’m sure I will be healthier in many ways. Thank you for the inspiration.

  17. Great post. This is relatively new to me but we have been trying to move to whole foods and no toxins for about a year now. Where can you get things like trace minerals and calcium magnesium powder? Thanks.

    • Courtney may also want to respond to you, but I did link to the brand of calcium powder that she talks about. As for trace minerals, I know that my MIL buys drops similar to Courtney’s through our health food co-op, Azure Standard, and they are also available at many health/supplement stores. Another options for trace minerals (to add to toothpaste, not to water necessarily) is a clay like Azomite, which is high in trace minerals. We add it to our smoothies, but you could definitely use it in a toothpaste as well.

    • Yes, Natural Calm is the brand of calcium magnesium powder. I get my trace mineral drops from Cultures for Health. I haven’t thought to look for them at my local co-op. (Thanks for that idea, Stephanie! And for the clay powder.)

  18. I am a certified dental assistant and believe there is a lot of GREAT points and valid facts in this post. It was very nicely done, with some great information. However, dentistry in British Columbia at least is VERY focused on prevention vs. treatment, which is a huge shift from what is use to be in the past. Yes, you are very correct that yellow teeth can be a result of dentin showing through and that is because the enamel is becoming transparent {and enamel is the HARDEST structure in the human body}. But it can also be a result of intrinsic staining which is genetic. Reminerlazation can be very helpful but only as a prevention method (a great one). However, once caries and decay has began the only solution is restorative treatment. I would encourage everyone to ask their dentist all possible options for treatment and material used to reduce chemicals/toxins, because there is options out there. During my program I tried to argue and fine the most natural solutions for other treatment options, it was a huge struggle going against the grain, and I think is the post did it wonderfully.

    • Thanks so much for weighing in with your thoughts as someone working in this field, Diana. I really appreciate it! :)

      • Not a problem! If only this post was written when I was in my program last year, I could have tried to pass if off as reference in my reports! I read your comment that you brought you daughter in and the dentist said they made a mistake diagnosing a cavity. I could almost bet $100 bucks, that you are right with you conclusion that your were able to naturally eliminate it. I can’t see a dentist admitting that though :)

    • Thank you, Diana! I, too, am grateful for your thoughts and expertise on this topic! I get discouraged when I think about how many fillings I have (and two root canals!), so I feel there’s not that much hope for me, but I want something better for my children. So, will I benefit from any remineralization even with fillings or is it once a tooth is drilled, remineralization is not at all possible? If a tooth has a filling in one area and a cavity not yet filled on another surface, can that unfilled surface be remineralized or is the tooth compromised?

    • Thank you, Dianna! I, too, am grateful for your thoughts and expertise on this topic! I get discouraged when I think about how many fillings I have (and two root canals!), so I feel there’s not that much hope for me, but I want something better for my children. So, will I benefit from any remineralization even with fillings or is it once a tooth is drilled, remineralization is not at all possible? If a tooth has a filling in one area and a cavity not yet filled on another surface, can that unfilled surface be remineralized or is the tooth compromised?

      • No only the surface that has been filled is compromised, so reminerlazation on the untreated surfaces will still make improvements. That being said, remineralzation on any surface even the filled ones would do any harm. I think it would just not penetrate the surface as their is material over it, so no harm is being done. Don’t be discouraged! It is never too late to start improving anything, including oral health (okay if you have full dentures, it might be too late :) but you catch my drift)

  19. As a senior citizen, I wish I had known this recipe years ago. Placque from teeth can get into the blood when you don’t floss and I am going through treatment for that now. Also, the coconut oil in your recipe is so good for many things that ale ya, including dementia. My husband has been on coconut oil for several years and it has slowed down his Alzheimer’s.

    • I’ve heard that, too. And also that bacteria can seep into your bloodstream from root canal/crowns. Both are scary situations! Yes, coconut oil is great! I’m so glad to hear it’s helped slow down your husband’s Alzheimer’s!

  20. Great, informative post, Courtney! We use Tom’s brand toothpaste, but I know it still contains fluoride. I’ve been wanting to try a homemade version! I’ve never had a cavity or any dental problems, but my husband has had a lot! I hope our girls get my genes ;)–or that we can try to take better charge of their dental health w/ your methods!

    Pinning your recipe! :)

    • Some versions of Tom’s are fluoride-free. We used to use Tom’s and liked it. Tom’s does use SLS, though, and they stand behind its safety. Oh, how I wish I could say I’ve never had a cavity! I’ve had so many and at such an early age. My oldest two children had cavities by 18 months! My youngest three have never had one, and our dentist always comments on what a great job we’re doing.

  21. Danielle B says:

    Cure Tooth Decay is a great book! I have been oil pulling and using homemade toothpaste for a while now. I started because I went for a cleaning and they said I had 3 cavities, my first 3 cavities ever, and I did NOT want to get fillings. So I started with oil pulling and taking cod liver oil, and using homemade toothpaste. I also used white oak bark powder, which is especially helpful if you’re on a bit more rigorous plan to remineralize teeth. The result: I cured my tooth decay. I have healthy teeth and a healthy body.

    • That’s great! I’ve skimmed through that book, but I loaned it to my grandma before I got a change to really dig into it. I need to get that back. :)

  22. This is a topic I’ve been interested in for quite some time. My mouth is also full of fillings (as is my husband’s) and I SO don’t want that for my daughter. I’ve been using a fairly similar homemade recipe (using stevia) for a year or so, but I still worry sometimes that I might be missing something. I really want to learn more. I’ll have to try that book!

    Where do you get trace mineral drops? And the calcium/magnesium powder? Thanks!

    • When I said my mouth was full of fillings, I meant it…the majority of my teeth! I fear I may never be able to truly remineralize because of the damage done, but I’m hoping my children can have a different dental experience.

      I get my trace mineral drops from Cultures for Health. A small bottle goes a LONG way, too.

      • Hi Courtney. I think this post is great and have already started making and using the very basic toothpaste for myself. After one use I’ve noticed results, one of the first being that I had more saliva production that usual.

        I just wanted to add a little holistic thought here. What you resist, will persist. We attract what we think about so if you’re constantly afraid that your teeth won’t remineralize, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Stay positive and keep doing everything you can to maintain good health with the thought that your teeth are healthy and that’s what will manifest.

  23. I had a strange reaction to xylitol in natural mints…it gave me an anxcious feeling…& it was During Church when I was sitting…So I tried them again & got the same anxcious feeling. So then I asked a few friends & one of them had the same responce.

    • Interesting. Thanks for the info.! I’ve heard great things about xylitol, but I have also heard that it could be not so great because when it’s extracted as it is, it’s similar to white sugar in that it’s so processed. Hmm….I’ll have to look into that more.

  24. I have been making my own toothpaste for a year or more. I tried the coconut oil but really had a hard time with it so I switched to glycerin. But now, after reading this post, next time around, I will try the coconut oil again. I have a hard time getting my kids to use the homemade paste, but I don’t put in any xylitol or any sweetener. They also don’t like the peppermint essential oil (“too spicy” according to them) and sometimes the spearmint is too. So I have given them Tom’s but then found they do use SLS, hm…so may be trying to concoct your recipe in hopes of my kids liking it!

    • Try orange or some other essential oil “flavor” that the kids like. And stevia, but less than you think you’ll need at first (I accidentally put too much in, and my tooth cleaner is now fern green LOL)

    • I was going to add glycerin to mine not too long ago, but then I came across the info. with the caution for not using it. I understand your struggle with coconut oil. I have a hard time with oil pulling using coconut oil, and I try to add it to a lot of foods, but I almost need to cover the flavor as it doesn’t appeal to me in most things or plain. :) My children aren’t crazy about my homemade toothpaste (I won’t lie. I doesn’t have a fruity or bubble gummy flavor like Crest!), but the xylitol helps some with that. I have thought about trying orange like Dani suggested. That may taste a little better.

  25. Catherine Wolfe says:

    I use food grade diatomaceous earth in my tooth powder instead of salt. It is a gentle abrasive without the saltiness. Thanks for the recipe. I may adjust mine. <

    • Hmmm, I may adjust MINE! I’ve heard about using DE, but I didn’t know it would act as a gentle abrasive, thus reducing the saltiness. The saltiness is my biggest struggle for my children. And the baking soda does add to that saltiness, but if I could remove the salt, that would help! I will say, though, that with using real salt (Celtic or Himalayan or something similar, like the Real Salt brand), there are desirable minerals present, so salt is a plus for that reason, too.

Trackbacks

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  11. [...] big bucks for Fluoride Free Toothpaste or just make some yourself at home for pennies.  I use this Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste Recipe from Keeper of the Home.  If you prefer not to buy all of the individual ingredients but still want to make it at home, [...]

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  15. [...] you a recipe that’s a little bit less on the salty side, this Homemade Toothpaste Recipe on Keeper Of The Home has Xylitol or Stevia in it to sweeten it. If you just want a really [...]

  16. [...] you a recipe that’s a little bit less on the salty side, this Homemade Toothpaste Recipe on Keeper Of The Home has Xylitol or Stevia in it to sweeten it. If you just want a really [...]

  17. [...] teeth from decay)wasn't homemade (I know it works very well for many people, and there's even a popular recipe on this website, but my family hasn't loved it to this point)aided the remineralization process, actually helping [...]

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