Photo: How to make toothpaste

Make your own toothpaste and avoid plastic microbeads, SLS, and triclosan. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

What does acting like we are nature (because we are) and acknowledging that our choices affect the planet look like?

It looks like making your own toothpaste — a significant choice! Because in taking this small, personal step you will also:

  1. Avoid plastic microbeads which may contain toxic substances such as phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA) that latch on, can leach into water AND are being eaten by fish and birds.
  2. Avoid triclosan (an anti-bacterial agent) which may interfere with hormone function, contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria AND harm fish and other wildlife.
  3. Avoid sodium laureth sulfate (SLS or SLES), which makes the bubbles in many store-bought toothpastes but also can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
  4. Avoid the next cosmetic scandal — like microbeads or cancer-causing baby powder.
  5. Save money (dirty-dozen-free toothpaste is usually about $7 a tube).

Queen of Green toothpaste recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

45 ml (3 Tbsp) certified organic coconut oil
45 ml (3 Tbsp) baking soda
5 drops essential oil (optional) e.g., peppermint, tea tree
2.5 ml (½ tsp) xylitol, stevia or bentonite clay (optional)

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Add all ingredients to an air-tight container and mix to form a paste. You may want to melt the coconut oil first for easier mixing. Make this recipe your own by altering ingredient ratios and optional additives to get your desired consistency, flavour and results. (You can also make mouthwash.)

Note: Xylitol is a sweetener but also inhibits the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities (it's not safe for pets). Bentonite clay is helpful because it's alkaline and can assist with remineralization. You can also substitute vegetable glycerin (found at health food stores) for coconut oil. (And because coconut oil buildup might clog drains, spit into the compost instead of the sink after you brush!)

Don't care to DIY? Shop smarter by avoiding the Dirty Dozen in ALL personal care products!

What should you do with microbead products?

To see if a product contains microbeads, check the ingredient list for polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or nylon. For disposal:

1. Return it to the store;
2. Mail it back to the manufacturer;
3. Donate the product to science; or
4. Filter the microbeads out and throw them in the garbage. Use the rest of the product if it is Dirty-Dozen-free.

Do you have a secret ingredient that you add to your favourite homemade toothpaste?

Sincerely,
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

February 26, 2016
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2016/02/how-to-make-toothpaste/

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20 Comments

Oct 08, 2016
11:11 PM

Check out Davids Natural Toothpaste. Free of the dirty dozen, no Microbeads, taste amazing, vegan, uses 98% USA Origin ingredients…even comes in a recyclable metal tube to help combat against the billions of plastic tubes that end up in landfills. Family owned and getting rave reviews! www.davids-usa.com

Mar 13, 2016
9:07 PM

try with Brita

Mar 07, 2016
11:07 PM

When using this you might want to put most of your spit in the compost or trash bin, not down the sink. I’ve heard coconut oil can clog your pipes since it solidifies so easily. Of course, it tastes like baking soda, but I don’t mind as my mouth feels great after using it! Nice recipe as I already have these things in my home. I do have some concern that brushing with baking soda all the time is too harsh on my teeth so I’ll use this once a day and chem-free, locally made toothpaste otherwise. :)

Mar 03, 2016
11:19 AM

Interesting — and I would certainly like to NOT use microbead products, but I am not happy with the coconut product craze …..:

I copied this from a site on the impact of coconut products:

‘However, the process of both farming for cononut oil and for palm oil is almost exactly the same: 1. Harvest oil 2. Clearfell native vegetation 3. Replace with monoculture plantation of desired oil to increase market supply 4. Continue harvesting until market demand grows beyond your plantations supply…… etc
.

Mar 02, 2016
6:57 PM

Got my stevia today at bulk barn. Excited for less carbon footprint ever tiny place that I’m able.

Mar 02, 2016
5:41 PM

Have been using a bit of plain baking powder on a damp toothbrush for many years with no problem. My dentist told me years ago to always use a very soft toothbrush, and to brush only from the gums toward the tooth and not backward again. Brushing sideways can cut grooves along the gum-line exposing the soft dentine that’s under the top layer of enamel. Avoid over brushing.

Many people develop very sensitive teeth after professional laser-cleaning.

Mar 02, 2016
9:32 AM

Thanks ever so much for this recipe. I have been trying to find products with microbeads for a year without success. I have been using baking soda. Effective but not very pleasant.

Mar 02, 2016
7:38 AM

Even if we have a way of filtering microbeads out, what would you have us do with them? How do we prevent their ending up in landfill? What disposal method do you suggest?

Mar 01, 2016
5:00 PM

I’m afraid to go there! To go from everything I’m so use to! Plus is it expensive?

Mar 01, 2016
8:52 AM

Hi!

I made this, and it works well. Could the baking soda be too hardh? My mum says I should only use it once a week.

Feb 29, 2016
12:44 PM

Is this safe for small children with the added essential oils?

Feb 29, 2016
11:10 AM

If possible, please add a warning that xylitol is toxic to pets and to not use this toothpaste to clean their pets teeth as it could lead to multiple organ failure and death. Thank-you

Feb 29, 2016
9:44 AM

Please note that Xylitol, while good for us, is a potential killer for your pups. Keep this out of Fido’s reach, please!

Feb 29, 2016
8:53 AM

Be careful with Xylitol in the house if you have pets. Even miniscule amounts will cause renal failure in pets.

Feb 29, 2016
6:43 AM

I would add a bit of dry powdered compfrey root to help heal cavities and mouth sores ( don’t swallow it though, because too much compfrey is bad for your liver ) compfrey also makes a pleasurable gooey texture and coating in your mouth as it reacts with moisture. =^.^=

Feb 28, 2016
10:01 PM

I love this toothpaste and have been using it for several months. However, I now have developed extremely sensitive teeth. Is that from using the Baking Soda too often? Or is that just a myth? If so, how often is it safe to use baking soda toothpaste? Thanks :)

Feb 28, 2016
5:18 PM

I have been using natural toothpaste for a long time and had just decided I was going to work towards making my own in order to avoid the waste of toothpaste tubes. But then I went to the dentist for some tooth pain and already knew I have sensitivities to hot and cold, and found out that using sensodyne type toothpaste would really help.

After reading this article I am going to check and see if these toothpastes have micro beads (I didn’t know toothpaste did), but o am wondering if maybe you could do a next article sometime on whether you can make natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Thankyou so much! Marnie

Feb 28, 2016
4:07 PM

How does one filter out the microbeads?? If we return the product to the manufacturer, how will they dispose of it???

Feb 28, 2016
3:55 PM

zeolite straight up

Feb 28, 2016
3:14 PM

A great idea but if you use xylitol be sure to keep this homemade toothpaste where there is no danger of a dog getting hold of it. Even a small amount of xylitol can be lethal to a dog and the other ingredients would make it attractive to them.

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