Updated on February 8, 2024
8 min read

What Are the Best Homemade Toothpaste Recipes?

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What is Homemade Toothpaste?

Some people want to make their own toothpaste at home instead of buying it at the store. They do this to avoid certain additives common in commercial toothpaste or simply because they enjoy taking a DIY approach.

In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of making your own toothpaste at home and some common recipes and ingredients. We’ll also talk about ingredients to avoid.

Does Homemade Toothpaste Actually Work?

Depending on the ingredients, it’s possible for homemade toothpaste to help reduce plaque, fight decay, and prevent bad breath.1, 2 However, it’s unlikely to be more effective than commercial toothpaste.

Most homemade toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride or hydroxyapatite (HAP), important ingredients for remineralizing teeth. They counteract the demineralization caused by the acids in dental plaque (which can lead to decay).

The main benefit of using homemade toothpaste is that it gives you complete control over the ingredients. But with so many toothpaste formulations available, it’s possible to avoid fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and other additives without making the toothpaste yourself.

What are the Downsides of Homemade Toothpaste?

Aside from not being likely to contain fluoride or HAP, the main downside of homemade toothpaste is inconvenience.

To make toothpaste at home, you must source your ingredients from trustworthy manufacturers and mix them in the right proportions yourself. You’ll also need the right equipment to measure, mix, and store the toothpaste.

Another potential problem with homemade toothpaste is the use of excessively abrasive ingredients. For example, charcoal or excessive baking soda could go beyond simply cleaning your teeth and wear away enamel.3

Safety Considerations When Making Homemade Toothpaste

The following may be considered safe to use in homemade toothpaste:

  • Baking soda — A mild abrasive that’s included in many commercial toothpastes (use caution to avoid excessive abrasion)
  • Coconut oil — Contains fatty acids that may have a slight effect against plaque-causing bacteria as well as oral fungi
  • Salt — Also a mild abrasive, sometimes found in commercial toothpaste
  • Hydroxyapatite (HAP) — Mimics the minerals naturally found in tooth enamel
  • Xylitol — A sugar alcohol known to have antibacterial effects
  • Sage — One study found potential antimicrobial benefits to sage mouthwash2
  • Arrowroot powder — Sometimes added to natural toothpaste to help it foam up

Ingredients to Be Careful With

The following are ingredients that may be safe but should be used with caution:

  • Cacao — Safe if you’re not allergic; cacao may discolor your teeth if you already have thin enamel and use it frequently
  • Essential oils — Some, such as cinnamon and tea tree oil, may irritate, especially in large amounts
  • Bentonite clay — Little quality evidence for its remineralization benefits

Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid

The following ingredients are best to exclude from your homemade toothpaste recipes:

  • Charcoal — Likely to be excessively abrasive, and many milder alternatives exist
  • Hydrogen peroxide — Can damage your enamel and irritate the lining of your mouth
  • Acidic ingredients — Vinegar, lemon juice, and other acidic ingredients can also cause enamel wear and tooth sensitivity
  • Allergens — Don’t use anything you know you’re allergic to in toothpaste

Correct Measuring is Key

Measuring how much of each ingredient you’re using is important to ensure a safe and balanced result. An excessively dry toothpaste, for example, may be uncomfortable to use.

You should especially use caution with abrasives such as baking soda and salt. While these are mild and often used even in store-bought toothpaste, using too much could wear down the enamel of your teeth.

Best Homemade Toothpaste Recipes

Toothpaste, whether store-bought or homemade, typically contains at least water and/or oil for moisture, a mild abrasive, and flavoring. However, a more effective toothpaste may contain additional ingredients.

Below, we’ll share some safe and relatively simple recipes. We’ll start with the simplest, following up with slightly more complex recipes.

Note that for all of these recipes, you’ll need measuring cups or spoons and a resealable container to store your toothpaste.

1. Baking Soda Toothpaste

You can make your own toothpaste with baking soda and water. Put ½ cup of baking soda into your container, then add enough water to mix it into a paste.

This paste-like consistency will make it easier to get onto your toothbrush. Too little water may leave your mixture powdery, while too much water will make it too thin.

Alternatively, you can use ½ to 1 cup of coconut oil instead of water. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial benefits.4 Some people also use coconut oil for oil pulling, which may benefit oral health.

Be mindful that coconut oil has a low melting temperature, so you can heat it (or your container) slightly to help you mix the toothpaste.

2. Remineralizing Toothpaste

Hydroxyapatite (HAP) is a form of calcium phosphate that makes up most of your tooth enamel. It’s an increasingly common ingredient in commercial toothpaste as an alternative to fluoride. Other calcium phosphates may have similar benefits.5

To get these benefits, mix the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ to 1 cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup hydroxyapatite (or other calcium phosphate powder)

Another ingredient that may help strengthen enamel is cacao powder (not processed cocoa). It contains theobromine, which helps recrystallize tooth enamel (though not as well as fluoride or calcium phosphate).6,7

You can try adding ¼ cup of cacao or theobromine powder instead of, or in addition to, HAP. If needed, add more coconut oil to improve the consistency.

3. Adding Flavor and Texture

Additional ingredients can add flavor to your toothpaste and may also have other benefits. These include the following:

  • Xylitol — Stimulates saliva production, fights harmful bacteria, and provides a slightly sweet flavor
  • Peppermint essential oil — Contains a high amount of menthol, which may also have antibacterial effects; also provides a “clean” flavor and a slight numbing effect common in conventional toothpaste
  • Other essential oils — Other essential oils can add a desired flavor to your toothpaste
  • Arrowroot powder — Acts as a foaming agent, giving your toothpaste a more familiar texture

Cacao and xylitol also have the benefit of increasing your oral pH, counteracting the acids created by plaque-forming bacteria.

Once again, you can add these ingredients to your toothpaste recipe as follows:

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ to 1 cup coconut oil (add more if needed)
  • ¼ cup hydroxyapatite and/or ¼ cup cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp xylitol powder
  • A few drops of your chosen essential oil
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder

Be conservative when adding essential oils, as their flavor can be strong, and they may irritate the soft tissues of your mouth. Don’t use it if you’re allergic to a certain essential oil.

Homemade Toothpaste for Children: Is It Safe?

If only safe ingredients are used, it’s unlikely that using homemade toothpaste for your child will cause them any immediate harm. However, it may not be best for the long-term health of their teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends fluoride toothpaste for children two years and older. This is because of its proven ability to protect tooth enamel from decay. However, fluoride shouldn’t be swallowed; excess amounts can cause fluorosis or poisoning.

According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, New Mouth’s in-house resident dentist, “When brushing a 3-year-old and younger child’s teeth, use a “smear” of toothpaste, which is about the size of a grain of rice to reduce the chances of fluorosis.”

If you’d like to avoid fluoride, hydroxyapatite (HAP) is a safe and effective alternative that occurs naturally in tooth enamel.5 Our top recommendation for children’s toothpaste is Kinder Karex, which uses HAP and is designed to be safe for kids to swallow.8

Other Ways to Care for Your Teeth

Whether you opt for a quality commercial toothpaste or make your own at home, there are additional ways to maintain good oral health. These include the following:

  • Eating a balanced diet, including foods high in vitamins D and K2, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium to strengthen your teeth
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth daily to disrupt plaque and remove food debris
  • Visiting your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings
  • Limiting tobacco and alcohol use
  • Staying hydrated throughout the day (this promotes saliva flow)

None of these measures can guarantee you’ll never get a cavity, but they will make your teeth and gums more likely to stay strong and healthy. They’ll help to remineralize your teeth, counteracting the processes that lead to tooth decay.

Common Questions About Homemade Toothpaste

How effective is homemade toothpaste?

Homemade toothpaste can disrupt plaque and remove food debris, but it may not be effective at remineralizing your teeth.

Without these ingredients, homemade toothpaste may get your teeth clean, but it won’t do as much to protect your teeth from decay.

Is homemade toothpaste safe?

The safety of homemade toothpastes depends on the ingredients. Some homemade toothpaste recipes call for excessive abrasives, which can damage enamel and hurt sensitive teeth.

In addition, homemade toothpastes typically don’t contain fluoride, hydroxyapatite, or other ingredients that specifically promote tooth remineralization.

Is baking soda good for your teeth?

A small amount of baking soda in toothpaste may be safe and effective for cleaning your teeth. It’s a common ingredient in both commercial and homemade toothpastes. Just be mindful that it is an abrasive, albeit a mild one.

Can you brush your teeth with hydrogen peroxide?

You should avoid using hydrogen peroxide to brush your teeth. While peroxide is used in many products that whiten teeth, these products use precise amounts and have specific instructions.

In higher concentrations or over long periods of time, hydrogen peroxide is corrosive and can cause damage and irritation. Using it to brush teeth could lead to enamel wear, teeth sensitivity, and gum inflammation.

Summary

Many people want to make their own toothpaste to avoid certain additives or simply for its own sake. There are many recipes available online. 

While many of these recipes avoid fluoride due to toxicity concerns, they also miss important benefits, especially because they typically don’t contain hydroxyapatite. In addition, some recipes call for unnecessarily abrasive ingredients.

Homemade toothpastes, or even brushing without it, can still disrupt plaque, but it may not be optimal for your teeth. Before making your own toothpaste, be aware of the risks and potential benefits.

Last updated on February 8, 2024
8 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 8, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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