Lately, toothpaste has been getting a bad rap. Triclosan, an anti-microbial that can be harmful to the body, is still in many of the popular toothpastes available on store shelves in soap, even though the FDA banned the ingredient from showing up in soap. Unfortunately, that’s not good news for your teeth or your overall health—especially since a recent study found that the chemical could be affecting your gut health. There is good news, though: It’s incredibly easy to make your own homemade toothpaste, so you don’t have to worry about this harmful chemical—or any others!—sneaking their way into your tube.
Sure, you’re probably wondering whether a DIY toothpaste can actually do its job. Well, while the options you can buy in stores are designed to be extra foamy and taste great, there are still dentist-approved versions you can make right in the comfort of your own home using simple ingredients that get the job done. And this way, you can brush without the bright, neon hues from artificial colors, synthetic flavors, surfactants, sweeteners, glycerin, and other icky stuff you probably don’t want swirling around in your mouth.
How to DIY a basic toothpaste
It’s easy to assume that making a mix that can stand up to the formulations from big brands would be complicated, but in reality, that’s hardly the case: You actually don’t need many ingredients in order to reap the same benefits. In fact, anyone who wants to go the natural route can start with a base of a couple simple elements: baking soda and distilled water. According to dentist Marc Lazare, DDS, baking soda is already commonly used in store-bought toothpastes, thank to the ingredient’s ability to keep your teeth happy and super-clean. So it only makes sense that you would use it in your own version, too.
“Various clinical and lab studies show that a toothpaste containing baking soda neutralizes acids and odors, removes plaque and deep tooth stain more readily than other leading toothpastes, and leaves your mouth fresh and feeling very clean.” —Marc Lazare, DDS
“It’s one of the least abrasive and most effective tooth cleaners on the market today. Various clinical and lab studies show that a toothpaste containing baking soda neutralizes acids and odors, removes plaque and deep tooth stain more readily than other leading toothpastes, and leaves your mouth fresh and feeling very clean,” he writes on his blog. “You can use baking soda to brush teeth without buying the toothpaste that contains baking soda. It would be more cost-effective to do so.”
Another great ingredient to add into your mix is coconut oil, which, according to DuPont Dental Associates, has natural antibacterial properties that can do your oral hygiene some good. Additionally, the ingredient also “reduces plaque and fights the bacteria that contributes to cavities and gum disease,” explains Ayurvedic expert Trudy Collings. (Something natural beauty expert Meredith Baird definitely appreciates, as she brushes her teeth with it every single morning.)
So, to start create your homemade toothpaste, combine 3 Tbsp baking soda and 1 Tbsp coconut oil. If you want to change the consistency, DuPont recommends stirring in some of the distilled water—which is “free from bacteria and other impurities that can compromise the sterility of the homemade toothpaste”—until it’s exactly how you like it. Then, it’s time to have a little fun with it.
Ingredients to power up your homemade tube
What’s great about creating your own toothpaste as opposed to buying it at the store is that you can customize it to your liking. If you want to add some whitening powers, Authority Dental recommends using some turmeric. Beyond the ingredient’s ability to give your smile a serious glow-up, it also offers some antibacterial properties, reduces gum inflammation, and can fight off plaque and gingivitis.
Beyond turmeric’s ability to give your smile a serious glow-up, it also offers some antibacterial properties, reduces gum inflammation, and can fight off plaque and gingivitis.
Regarding the flavor of your paste, try masking the taste of the natural ingredients by adding in five drops of bad-breath-fighting peppermint essential oil. And if you want some extra bacteria-fighting properties, include tea tree essential oil.
Once you have your perfect mix, the next step is the easiest yet: Pour the ingredients into a Mason jar, because tight seal ensures it stays fresh for all teeth-cleaning duties. Then when you’re ready to brush your teeth, just dip your toothbrush in (grab something like these eco-friendly and biodegradable bamboo versions!) and go about the process just as you normally would.
Natural alternatives to buy, for the DIY-shy brushers
Obviously creating a homemade version does take a little extra time, but there’s another solid option for making sure your brushing game is as healthy as possible: grabbing a natural alternative. Because these options are becoming ever more easy to get your hands on and teeth in, you can grab them in most stores, and shop lesser-known options online. For a tube widely available for retail in stores, look out for Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste. And if you’re shopping online, some natural go-tos to add to your Amazon Prime cart include Uncle Harry’s Fluoride Free Toothpaste, The Green People Company Organic Minty Cool Toothpaste, Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Toothpaste, and Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil & Neem Wintergreen Toothpaste.
Whether you make your own toothpaste or pick up a pre-made natural version, one thing’s for sure: Your teeth will thank you for choosing something that’s not only safe and free of potentially harmful chemicals, but also something that’s just as effective, great-tasting, and easy to use.
Dentists are giving the okay to cut this staple out of your teeth-cleaning routine. Also, here’s why you should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day.
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