DIY Toothpaste

DIY toothpaste using mineral-rich ingredients. (c) Fotolia
DIY toothpaste using mineral-rich ingredients. (c) Fotolia

Eating a clean diet for the past seven years inspired me to start replacing some of our household cleaners and beauty products with homemade, chemical-free DIY versions, starting with toothpaste.

Encouraged by recipes from Wellness Mama, Mommypotamus, and The Healthy Home Economist, I purchased bentonite clay and activated charcoal to add to the organic baking soda and spices I already had in stock, and started experimenting.

Easy, yes, but there is a dark side
On a scale from one to 10, with one being the easiest thing ever, making toothpaste ranks right up there at an astounding one, numero uno – it’s easy. With that said, however, there were a few surprises I want to share with you. None of them, granted, are deal-breakers, but rather a fair warning so you don’t end up posting this as a Pinterest fail.

Believe me it’s not you, it’s the ingredients. Scroll below my “fair warning top 10 list” and you’ll find two recipes: one with activated charcoal and one without. Why two? Oh, read on people, read on…

10 Things no one ever tells you about DIY toothpaste

  1. If you opt to use activated charcoal in your mix, it gets messy. Very messy. Wear gloves.
  2. Coaxing charcoal out of its tightly fitted capsules can be a challenge, with the process leaving evidence of the struggle in a surrounding 2-foot radius. You’ll of course have black fingertips, but you probably won’t notice the smudge on the side of your hand, which follows you to the bathroom, kitchen sink, refrigerator, and any place else you touch without thinking.
  3. Clay tastes like it smells, which is well, clay-like. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s not cotton candy either. It’s Earth.
  4. Baking soda is salty and gritty.
  5. Using the toothpaste base as a dry powder works pretty well, eventually mixing with your saliva, but pre-mixing with coconut oil works even better for distribution across your teeth. And, if you use coconut oil, you can put the mixture into a small squeeze bottle. Or, if you’re avoiding plastics, you can keep the paste in a glass jar and use a disposable wooden applicator to apply the paste directly onto your toothbrush.
  6. If coconut oil isn’t for you and you’re sticking with the powder version, keep things germ-free by applying the powder directly to your toothbrush using the same type of disposable wooden applicator described above. Single-use bamboo tasting spoons work well, too.
  7. If you’ve ever wondered how much spittle and spray is produced from brushing your teeth, brush with this DIY stuff and be amazed (horrified?). Black splatters will be all over your sink, possibly your mirror, maybe your arms, and depending on what type of brusher you are, you may end up with some of that cavity-fighting charcoal war paint dribbled down your chin.
  8. Your lips, teeth, and tongue will be black. Your teeth recover nicely, quickly, but your tongue will need a good scrubbing, with a rinse and repeat. And another repeat. And another repeat. Warm water works faster.
  9. Spitting coconut oil into your sink may not be good for your pipes. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, which is solid at room/cool temperatures. There is potential for oil build up in your pipes, assuming you’ll be using this twice daily. You’ll definitely see evidence of this in your sink basin. Oh, and the charcoal sticks to the coconut oil, which again, you’ll see in your sink basin.
  10. Your teeth will feel really clean. Cleaner than with toothpaste. And the charcoal really does work at whitening your teeth. Yay!

Overall, this toothpaste pretty much rocks. It contains important minerals. It whitens. It contains ZERO chemicals. It’s neutral in flavor and you can add spices and a few drops of food-grade essential oils, like peppermint or cinnamon, if you must have some added flavor. It does, however require some major sink and counter clean up after use IF you incorporate the charcoal or coconut oil.

My happy medium
The charcoal method isn’t the best solution for my personal every day use. As much as I’d like you all to believe I clean my bathroom every day, I don’t. I don’t have the time (but I’m Okay with you still believing that I do).

My happy medium is a twice or more daily brushing with a DIY mixture of the clay, spices, and baking soda; on the weekends, I devote a little extra time with the charcoal version… and then clean my bathroom.

DIY Toothpaste with Charcoal
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes a week's worth of toothpaste
Author:
Recipe type: Apothocary
Ingredients
  • 3 activated charcoal capsules
  • 3 tablespoons bentonite clay
  • 3 tablespoons organic baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground clove (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (use if making a paste)
Instructions
  1. Over a small glass jar, pull activated charcoal capsules apart and empty into jar.
  2. In the same jar add remaining ingredients except coconut oil. Cover jar tightly and shake to combine ingredients. If you prefer a paste consistency, stir in coconut oil.
  3. Cover tightly and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, such as a medicine cabinet.

DIY Toothpaste without Charcoal
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes a week's worth of toothpaste
Author:
Recipe type: Apothecary
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons bentonite clay
  • 3 tablespoons organic baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground clove (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (use if making a paste)
Instructions
  1. In a small jar add all ingredients except coconut oil.
  2. Cover jar tightly and shake to combine ingredients. If you prefer a paste consistency, stir in coconut oil.
  3. Cover tightly and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, such as a medicine cabinet.