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

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

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.

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-koth

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!

Rethinking Oral Health Care: A Homemade Toothpaste Recipe for Tooth Remineralization {Keeper of the Home}

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. I can’t recall how long I’ve been using a similar toothpaste recipe as the one you share, but about a year. I notice that my teeth feel clean longer with the coconut oil based brushing. I have mineral drops and am going to add them to the next batch, thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Stephanie

    Love this post. I’m going to syndicate to my site, if thats ok with you!
    Thanks for your time and effort
    Shelley :-)

  3. ok, I still like the idea but….. went and spent a but load of money to get the ingredients for this. After tasting it I started to wonder how 2 Tbl of xylitol could possibly counteract 2 Tbl of Baking Soda (sodium), 2 Tbl of the Calsium Madnesium powder (way bitter or salty, I can’t tell anymore) as well as the 2 tsp of salt. I have no idea how I would ever get my kids to use this when I can’t even use it. It almost sizzled on my toungue and about turned my face inside out. Any solutions from anyone who’s tried this???

    • Shannon O'Brien says:

      It’s stevia that counteracts the saltiness because it’s a natural sweetener. Do you use it in your toothpaste?

  4. Having two amalgam fillings-I have been advised against using peroxide in my mouth.

  5. Elizabeth Martin says:

    Thanks sooo much for this article. Dental care is of huge importance in my home. From what I understand Xylitol is great for your teeth. I just have a couple question or concerns though…you didn’t mention what type of container you store this in or how you dispense it without contaminating your storage container with germs and you didn’t mention how long this can be stored without worrying about it going bad or how long it will last approximately depending on usage. Still, love the article and thanks soo much again.

  6. Why do most dentist’s say not to use baking soda on your teeth? I always thought it was too abrasive and damages the enamel. Any more accurate info you could share on that topic? ( or maybe I should read the other comments before I comment to make sure this hasn’t already been discussed.)

  7. Lisa Henry says:

    I find this fascinating, I have been steering clear of regular toothpaste for about a year now. I am using Tooth Soap (www.toothsoap.com) The ingredients are organic EVOO, organic coconut oil, spring water and essential oils. It is a little pricey (right now they are having buy one get one free) but it seems to last a long time.

  8. Thank you for this information! As someone with Celiac who was undiagnosed for years, I had a lot of damage done to my teeth, they are very sensitive to cold & hot foods, and seems they are yellow no matter what I do. I still use Crest, but have been looking into natural options recently! Thank you!

  9. Although I am aware of coconut oil’s antimicrobial effects and why that would be beneficial in a toothpaste, I am curious as to why glycerin (which is water-soluble) would be considered detrimental in a toothpaste due to filming on the teeth preventing remineralization but coconut oil (which is NOT water-soluble) would not also prevent remineralization by forming a barrier.

  10. Hello, I can’t wait to try this recipe. I have a comment on fluoride that I want to share. We thought our son (now 6) was allergic to egg. I had stopped all fluoride (for other reasons like it is a toxic chemical) and a while later noticed that his eczema was gone. So intuition led me to give him egg (because his “allergy” was NOT life-threatening – just the eczema) and he had no reaction at all.

    If I had used products/drugs to treat the symptom of eczema, I might never had made this connection. In hopes this might help another parent/child(ren).

    Tracy

  11. Wonderful article. We highly recommend making your own tooth paste or buying all natural as well.

  12. what in the world is this oil pulling you speak of? I must go follow the link and read up! I have horrible teeth, the dentist said something about the ph of my saliva being high or something. I would love to strengthen my teeth! :)

  13. This is really helpful! I’ve been using homemade coconut oil based tooth soap for almost a year now, and my mouth and teeth feel so great, I’ll never go back!

    Here’s a link to my recipe, it’s a little simpler (although probably not as beneficial. You really just need coconut oil and castile soap, although you could add the other ingredients to make it taste better.

  14. Great post here! If we may be so bold, we suggest that rather than adding only peppermint oil, perhaps add both cooling oils (mint family) and warming oils to balance the effect on the body. Otherwise, only using cooling oils may imbalance the system with long term use.

    For example, peppermint is known to aggravate gerf, what is called acid reflux. This is because peppermint relaxes the esophagial sphincter and allows stomach acid to back up into the esophagus.

    We have all sorts of helpful, free video tutorials, articles and downloads at our site OraWellness.com. We welcome anyone to come take a look. We help folks navigate to greater oral health using organic and time tested tools.

    Holler with any questions. We’re here to help.

  15. Hi. I’ve heard bicarb soda is no good on the teeth in the long term. I’ve heard it whitens teeth due to its abrasiveness taking a tiny layer off the teeth ( a bit like polishing a car). Do you know anything about this?

    Thanks. So so interesting.

  16. I don’t understand the concept of xyiltol as a natural or safe ingredient; xylitol is highly poisonous to dogs. It can’t be good for us!

    • There are many foods not good for dogs that are good for us. Right? Like chocolate.

      • Xylitol isn’t safe for dogs because it increase their insulin production. Basically for humans it is the total opposite seeing as it is ok for diabetics because it does not raise blood sugar. Animals don’t always react to things the same way we do.

    • Chocolate is poisonous to dogs too but we still eat it.

    • Sugar and chocolate is not recommended for dogs either.
      Xylitol is a natural sweetener and can be found in lots of fruits eg. raspberry.
      It’s also proven that helps to prevent decay.

    • Elaine, I agree with you. Xylitol may exist in nature, but that doesn’t guarantee that it’s “natural” — isn’t it chemically separated? Remember, the use of “natural” in product marketing/labeling doesn’t really mean anything…

      I listened to a presentation the other day by David Getoff and he claims stevia is the best sweetener, but it must be processed by water extraction. He mentioned Sweet Leaf and Stevita as the two brands that use water extraction. David also mentioned a lot of xylitol comes from GMO corn, so that’s another thing to keep in mind. I haven’t had a chance to do much further research yet, but based on what I have found I’m leaning towards sweetening my toothpaste with stevia.

      • Now brand xylitol is derrived from the inside of corn cobs and it is labeled natural and GMO free. You have to pay attention to the way something is labeled.. It may say natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s not derrived from a GMO source. Unless a package says directly natural, organic and GMO free I don’t touch it. However I used this brand and it’s perfectly safe. However I did hear that the best type of xylitol is those derrived from birch. Haven’t been able to find that in sores anywhere so ou may have to search online.

  17. Treatment does become necessary at times for some patients, but as a dental hygienist, my main focus is prevention!

    I commonly recommend xylitol products to my patients, specifically young children. We’re not born with the bacteria (s. mutans) that causes decay. It’s passed to us by family, most often mothers by kissing, sharing utensils, etc. If this bacteria can be kept from colonizing, much lower rates of decay occur. Basically the bacteria can’t digest the xylitol the way they do simple sugar, so they produce less acidic waste, multiply less and really are just not able to thrive.

    Spry is my favorite brand for xylitol. I recommend parents start chewing the gum before baby is even born. Less bacterial load in their mouths means less chance for transmission. Spry also makes a kids tooth gel that I have used (and still use) for my children and recommend to all my patients.

  18. Terri-Lynne Sullivan says:

    This is such an important topic and I am so glad that this has been posted to Keeper of the Home. Like some of the other individuals who have responded, I have concerns about traditional toothpastes and prefer natural remedies for oral care. I was a dental hygienist for 19 years and I have seen the good, bad and ugly of dental care! I agree with most of what has been said except for two things…
    (1) please, please, please reconsider rinsing with hydrogen peroxide, full strength, on a daily basis. I noticed it mentioned in the original post. The reason I say this is this…peroxide kills bacteria, which is good, but it can kill your beneficial bacteria as well. A healthy mouth is an ecosystem of beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion (among other things) and rinsing with peroxide can destroy them. Also, rinsing with peroxide can lead to excessive sloughing of the tissues which leads to all kinds of other problems. Peroxide should only be used full strength for an acute infection…not long term.
    (2) I disagree with the comment on dentistry not being focused on prevention. If I had a nickel for every time I discussed oral hygiene practices with my patients, as well as nutrition changes they can make, I would have retired years ago! Maybe other people havent had that experience with their dental office, but most offices I worked in, prevention was the most important conversation.
    But, in light of these posts, I want to share that there is an emerging profession in dentistry called “Holistic Dental Hygienist” which is a profession that focuses mainly on nutrition and healthy living…relating the oral environment to many systemic conditions.
    Just my two bits…

  19. I’ve read that repeated use of baking soda can wear away tooth enamel. Is this not a concern? Thanks for the great post!

  20. Carly - a dentist says:

    Just brush with some xylitol mixed with some natural mint flavoring/water of choice. Dip your toothbrush in that mixture, and go for it. You really don’t need all the abrasiveness or foaming to make toothpaste work well. In fact, brushing with baking soda regularly is so abrasive and can cause more gum recession, making your a higher caries risk. Regular rinsing with hydrogen peroxide often increases many people’s sensitivity. Xylitol studies have been very promising in its abilitly prevent and arrest caries. But like the dental assistant said, if the decay is there, it needs to be restored. And in response to whether would get any benefit from remineralization with all your fillings…definitely! You still have natural tooth structure around those fillings and crowns that could decay. Prevention also lies heavily in monitoring habits such as sugar (both commerical and natural, such as fruits and juices), acidic foods (fruits, sodas, coffee).
    And of course flossing…the best of everything doesn’t get where your floss can ;)

  21. Mary Kathryn says:

    My dentist will ask questions about our oral care and his comment it– whatever you are doing keep doing because their teeth look great!! :) I am going to try weed in this homemade paste and am very interested in the diet that supports healthy teeth.

  22. I have been a dental hygienist for 17 years. When I saw the above article I just had to say a few of things . . . First of all, you do not need to use toothpaste for brushing. The point of brushing is to remove plaque from the teeth. (The bacteria in plaque produce acid which “eats away” at the enamel, demineralizing it and eventually causing a cavity.) Plaque is removed through mechanical means, i.e. something needs to rub the plaque off the teeth. This is usually done with toothbrush and floss. The keys are to use the proper brushing and flossing methods, to spend adequate time brushing and flossing, and to brush and floss regularly. Most of the plaque on the teeth is found right next to your gums and in between the teeth. I would advise everyone NOT to use baking soda for brushing. It’s too abrasive. Remember, you’re cleaning living biological tissue, not pots and pans! Brush in small circular massaging motion using a soft (not extra soft) toothbrush. Gentle and thorough are the words to describe effective tooth brushing. Regarding fluoride: it is one of the best things to remineralize tooth surfaces that are demineralized. But it must be used in the proper dosage and concentration. (BTW, some well water has naturally occurring fluoride in it. If you have young children and drink well water, you should get it tested to see how much fluoride is in it. If there is too much, it could cause staining in your children’s permanent teeth that are forming. This is called fluorosis.)

  23. Nancy, RDH mom says:

    As a dental hygienist for 28 years. I was really interested to read your post (and very intrigued by the oil pulling –of which I had never heard). I have been recommending plain baking soda to my patients for many years and always emphasize that it contains no artificial ingredients or carcinogens! People may have been led to believe that baking soda is to harsh to use daily; however, a recent study in one of my professional publications showed that, on average, most popular toothpastes are approx. 7x more abrasive than baking soda! (no wonder so many people have sensitive teeth!) Years ago, in the 80′s I worked for 2 different dentists, one in Chicago and one in the suburbs, who recommended a paste of baking soda, peroxide and water. I do need to mention that if peroxide is used orally, it should be diluted with equal parts of water to prevent a condition known as black hairy tongue in which certain papilla on the tongue turn dark and become upraised. Since baking soda is such a pH neutralizer, and acids are the culprit in eating away at enamel and causing redness of the gums, this make perfect scientific sense. Also, the addition of Xylitol is excellent! The benefits have been well-described here. As a sidenote, I became more aware of the ingredients of popular toothpastes when I had a physician/relative in a third world country making her children swallow their toohpaste for the fluoride content and I couldn’t get her to stop! Thank you for bringing light to this topic!

    • Wow, a doc making children swallow toothpaste. All toothpastes that I have ever seen say to call Poison Control if swallowed as it is poisonous.

  24. Ashley RDH says:

    As a Registered Dental Hygienist I’m always looking for evidenced based research supporting Natural and homeopathic ways to maintain oral health. Xylitol is an excellent, naturally occuring sugar alcohol that actually kills cavity causing bacteria…they are more attracted to xylitol than sugar itself. As for remineralization of teeth I’m still in favor of Fluoride…it is important to do adequate research and understand the microbiology in which it works, and what forms are considered “dangerous”. Remember Fluoride is naturally occuring in our bodies, ….it’s important it is used correctly and to understand different ways it is utilized, and also the different forms. You can never go wrong educating yourself to make the right dental decisions even if it means no fluoride for you.

  25. Danielle says:

    I had a small cavity that couldn’t be filled when I was pregnant. A few months after the birth, I went back to have it filled. In the meantime, I had started eating a diet based on Nourishing Traditions and I had started using homemade toothpaste (basically consisting of coconut oil and baking soda). The dentist went to check for the cavity and said it had remineralized. I had no idea such a thing was possible. He, of course, said we should go ahead and drill it anyway. If I knew then what I discovered later, I would’ve told him no. So, proper diet and homemade toothpaste really does remineralize teeth! I also have less sensitivity along the gumline (where I had brushed my gums back), even though it’s been months since I used a commerical sensitive toothpaste.

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