For many of us, toothpaste was our first foray into the world of DIY personal-care products. We glumped some wet baking soda onto a toothbrush and never looked back.
Making your own toothpaste can be healthier and more economical than buying the store brands, but it can be tough to find a recipe that’s both effective and practical for the long run. But after a lot of exploration, education, and awkward faces in the bathroom mirror, this might just be the best damn DIY toothpaste recipe I’ve ever shoved in my mouth.
- Baking Soda — 4 Tbsp (60 g)
- Calcium-Magnesium Powder — 1 tsp (5 g)
- Xanthan Gum — ¼ tsp (1 g)
- Coconut Oil — 1 Tbsp (15 mL)
- Vegetable Glycerine — 2 Tbsp (30 mL)
- Liquid Castile Soap — 1 Tbsp or 15 mL)
- Hydrogen Peroxide — 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 mL)
- Peppermint Essential Oil — ¾ tsp (3-4 mL)
- Stevia — ¼ to ½ tsp (1-4 mL)
- Grapefruit Seed Extract — 3 drops
- Clove Essential Oil — 4 drops
- Salt (totally optional) — 1 tsp (5 g)
Makes a generous 3.5-ounce (100 mL) batch.
1. Combine all the ingredients except for the xanthan gum and hydrogen peroxide. At about the point when you’ve formed a basic paste, the whole mixture will want to fluff up and expand. Make sure it’s mixed thoroughly, then leave it to finish fluffing and collapse again — about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Next, mix in your xanthan gum. You’ll have about 2 minutes before it makes transferring your toothpaste into a tube impossible, so if you want your finished product in something more than a jar, act fast and plan ahead. I recommend snipping the corner off a sandwich baggie and using it like a pastry bag to fill your permanent squeezable tube.
3. Over the next 24 hours, the xanthan gum will absorb a lot of the liquid in the toothpaste, making it harder to squeeze. This is where the hydrogen peroxide comes in. Just pour it right into the tube and massage it all together for a second. Leave the cap off your tube overnight in case the mixture wants to fluff up again. (Trust me. I’ve had to clean out the inside my medicine cabinet after learning that the hard way…)
There are lots of (great) homemade toothpaste recipes out there, but with this, I wanted it to do more than just work. I wanted it to foam, taste, and squeeze like the toothpaste I grew up with.
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients — same order as above — and why they’re in here. (Also, for some of the harder-to-find items, I provided a link so you can order ’em on Amazon.)
Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) cleans and whitens teeth naturally in two ways. First, it’s an extremely gentle abrasive that literally scrapes plaque and particles off the tooth’s surface. Second, when exposed to water, it releases free radicals that penetrate your enamel to break down stain molecules. Chemically, baking soda is also a weak base that counteracts and neutralizes the cavity-causing acidic environment created by bacteria. This same acid-neutralization can help reduce inflamed or irritated gums, too.
Calcium-Magnesium Powder helps strengthen tooth enamel by replacing the minerals lost through everyday demineralization caused by plaque, sugars, and bacteria. Brushing with cal-mag powder redeposits minerals directly onto tooth enamel. Plus, it also gets absorbed into the blood stream through your gum tissue, reaching your teeth from the inside. And unlike fluoride, calcium-magnesium powder doesn’t require a poison warning label. (Amazon.com)
Xanthan Gum is a food thickener made from the powdered byproduct of the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. It’s common in foods like ice cream or salad dressings — and not something I’d really encourage eating given its laboratory beginnings, but in toothpaste is what holds everything together and gives it that satisfying squeezability. While guar gum is my first choice for thickening food, somewhat-natural xanthan gum is my first choice for products that need a longer shelf life. (Amazon.com)
Coconut Oil is a fantastic creamy base, but it can actually help prevent tooth decay. Yup. Coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial — meaning it actually inhibits the growth of acid-causing bacteria that are the major cause of tooth decay. (On an unrelated note, if you want to get the most out of coconut oil’s benefits, check out oil pulling and try that first thing each morning.)
Vegetable Glycerine is the primary liquid base of any toothpaste. It’s non-toxic, a natural humectant, and also provides a touch of sweetness — but this being the internet where misinformation can reign supreme, you may have read that glycerine coats teeth with an invisible film and causes tooth decay. In truth, if you’ve ever used it to make other home-care products, you know that glycerine is completely water-soluble and naturally occurring in things like soap, which many of the anti-glycerine sites recommend brushing with instead. Moreover, with a little detective work, turns out the entire glycerine frenzy stems from the claims of one guy called “Dr. Judd” — who’s not only not a doctor, but he never even put his claims to the test before publishing. (You’re welcome, internet.) So, yes. I put heaps of glycerine in my toothpaste. Love the stuff. (Amazon.com)
Liquid Castile Soap does exactly what it sounds like. It’s both an emulsifier (the quality that makes soap work) and what gives your homemade toothpaste that satisfying familiar froth. In commercial toothpastes, this ingredient would be sodium laurel sulfate, or SLS, and the active ingredient in industrial engine degreasers. (For more info on SLS, check out my piece “3 Simple Swaps to Instantly Start Making a Difference”) But while SLS is made from petrochemicals — I know, right? — the key ingredient behind castile soap is just pure olive oil. (Amazon.com)
Hydrogen Peroxide is like water with an ace up its sleeve: the standard 3% variety kills bacteria and helps to gently bleach teeth. Win-win!
Peppermint Essential Oil. This may come as a complete surprise, but just a few drops can effectively create minty-fresh breath. (Mind. Blown.)
Stevia is an insanely potent natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It has 300 times the sweetness of sugar, so less is definitely more. (Some toothpaste recipes prefer xylitol, but I still haven’t decided if it’s harmless or just plain creepy.) (Amazon.com)
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a natural preservative made from… yup, you guessed it: grapefruit seeds. It inhibits mold growth and kills bacteria, fungi, and parasites on contact. (It can also be used as a dietary supplement to regulate gut flora or cure yeast infections, or can be used as a household cleaner to sterilize countertops or cutting boards.) And while there are definitely those who scream, “Lord Jesus, noooo! It’s poison!” — I find 2 or 3 drops in a tube of homemade toothpaste keeps everything nice and shelf-stable. (Amazon.com)
Clove Essential Oil definitely adds an extra layer of flavor, but I’ve added it to this recipe because clove oil is great for sensitive teeth. If you’re a Sensodyne kind of person, a few drops of clove oil in your homemade toothpaste will do the same thing.
Salt is really a matter of personal taste — literally — but if you don’t expect toothpaste to taste like chewing gum, or spent years brushing with Waleda Salt Toothpaste like I did, the addition of salt is fantastic for gum health. Plus, mouth flora can’t survive the salt bath, and a little salt helps preserve your toothpaste in its container.
Obviously, teeth are for life, so no magical before-and-after photos here — but I’ve been making my own toothpaste for years now and the compliments from the dentist keep rolling in. “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up.” At a recent visit, one of my dentists even called me “mouth of the month.” (Aw, shucks.)
Of course, half of good dental health is genetics, but I’ve never had a cavity… and I intend to keep it that way.
(Disclosure: affiliate links to Amazon do not affect the price of items for you, but may provide a certain Crunchy blogger with a small commission.)
Hi!! excuse me, is the castile soap necesary?? or can i leave it out?? i live in Mexico and amazon takes a lot of time to send stuff here! and some stuff they don’t even have shipping to mexico, so can i make this toothpaste with everything else?? Thank you!
Castile soap plays a pretty important role — both as a cleaning agent and surfactant — but that being said, you *can* make this recipe without it. There are so many great uses for Castile soap, though, I’d say it’s smart to order some anyway, just because you know eventually you’ll need it.
what is the shelf life?
Good question. In my experience, none of the ingredients will actually go bad — salt’s shelf-life is virtually infinite — but you might find that if you’re slow to use this, the toothpaste will need a spoonful of water (or hydrogen peroxide) to reconstitute it a bit.
Hi! So I made this toothpaste last night-so excited to find something that didn’t taste like chalk. Or green clay. But…my paste never got thick. I’ve left it overnight and, especially after adding the peroxide, it’s very liquidy. Could it be something wrong with the xanthan gum?
Hi. Nope, your xanthan gum is fine – you probably just need to add a little more. Iit’s always best to err on the side of more-liquidy, because if you overdo it on xanthan gum at the beginning, it’s like trying to squeeze bread dough through a tube after that. Add just a pinch more and you should be golden. (If your toothpaste is really runny, you can add dry xanthan gum directly to your tube and stir everything with a chopstick — but if it’s only medium-liquidy, best to mix xanthan with water in a separate container and combine when it’s a gel.) Happy toothpasting!
Thanks for responding so quickly. Ummm. Yeah, I definitely spoke too soon. I came home and thought, “Wow, it smells really good in here, like cloves…and peppermint…and…oh my god! It’s the case of the expanding toothpaste!! I’m so thankful I heeded your warning and left the top off the tube. Wow. This stuff is amazing. Thanks so much for this recipe. Love, love, love it.
I’m so excited to try this… Is there a substitute for the xanthum gum or gse? I have everything but those two. I’m just giddy to get going I suppose, but if there is a substitute I will be making this tonight!
I’m just going to order them to make sure I do it right.
Thanks for providing the links! I soo appreciate that!
Ha, awesome. As far as I know, there’s really no replacement for GSE, but it’s really not super crucial. I add a few drops as a redundant preservative, but nothing salt can’t do. As for xanthan gum, if you’re looking for alternatives, there are a slew of starches available. Guar gum is one, arrowroot powder, cornstarch. I just feel weird getting closer to the food spectrum, since this is toothpaste. The other option is just omitting thickeners altogether. Your paste will be less paste-like and more mud-like, with some possible runny bits without a thickening agent in the mix, but its function is purely aesthetic. Happy DIYing.
Thank you for this great recipe. I’ve been using for a couple of days and my teeth feel ‘clean’ all day. I don’t even wake up with morning breath any longer. 🙂 It was a super easy recipe as I had most of the ingredients. The cool thing is that all ingredients have multiple uses. Thanks again for sharing.
I’m a little paranoid about preservatives and keep reading that GSE is not broad-spectrum. Could I use potassium sorbate?
Use what makes you comfortable. I have no issues using GSE and have found there’s equally enough salt in this recipe to keep safely, even without GSE. H2O2 is also remarkably broad-spectrum: its only downside being how quickly its molecular bonds break down, but if you’re using it in conjunction with other things, and adding more intermittently if/when your toothpaste needs a bit of reconstituting, I’d say you’re more than covered. This isn’t chicken broth, after all. 😉
Is there any other emulsifier you would recommend?
Thank you for your time!
Hi, Fofo. I didn’t use anything past what you see in the ingredients. The xanthan gum is about the closest thing to an emulsifier, but the toothpaste is thick enough – and the coconut oil blends well enough – that you really don’t require much in the way of emulsifiers.
Well, having just found your website and recipes, I’m definitely going to try the toothpaste for the hubs. Just one thing about the Dr. Bronner’s, i can’t use it because it has hemp oil in it and it makes me itch like crazy! There are others out there on Amazon if anyone else has this problem.
Can this all be done in a separate container …and when the whole process is finished then fill the tubes?
That would totally work. I’ve started using large restaurant condiment containers, like for ketchup, and refilling smaller tubes as needed.
Where do you get your toothpaste container?
Hi, I think these were some tubes I found on Amazon. Most travel-container packs usually have a tube or three in there that work great, too. Or just use a small jar — unorthodox, but honestly, the easiest. 🙂
Pingback: DIY Natural Toothpaste for Cleaner Whiter Teeth! | The NaturaLiving Store·
Pingback: DIY Natural Toothpaste for Cleaner Whiter Teeth! | The NaturaLiving Store·