Natural Homemade Toothpaste

October 6th, 2009 - filed under: The Fashion » Beauty and Cosmetics


In my continuing quest to rid my life of harsh and harmful chemicals, I’ve been experimenting with another DIY recipe. Traditional cosmetics are so full of nasty toxins, and even the eco-sheik alternatives are not as natural as they may appear. For example, it’s nearly impossible to find a brand of toothpaste – even the seemingly ‘green’ ones – that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate.

I’m resigned to replacing each of my store-bought products as they run out. You may remember my first foray into kitchen cosmetics, with my homemade deodorant – a resounding success (I’ll never go back!) Just recently I’ve traded my shampoo for ‘no-poo‘, and we’ll see how that all pans out.

So what about the toothpaste?

Just like the deodorant, this recipe centers around baking soda and coconut oil. And of course, it’s crazy cheap and easy to make. It goes like this:

Sayward’s Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

4 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed to liquid state)
3 teaspoons xylitol
15 drops peppermint oil

Mix everything in a small bowl until it forms a uniform paste. Add more peppermint oil 5 drops at a time, tasting as you go, if you like it stronger (I added quite a bit more but I figure this is a good base). Transfer to a small glass jar or storage container with a tight-fitting lid. The toothpaste will keep unrefrigerated for months.


The only thing you may have trouble with is procuring the xylitol. The natural sweetener is excellent for this application, because it actually benefits teeth. Alas, it may be hard to find. It’s available online, but if you want to forgo it you can. Just use a dash of stevia – but just a bit! – that stuff goes a loooong way.


This toothpaste has been working great. Damian and I have been using it for a couple of weeks now, with no complaints. It *did* take a while to adjust to the flavor . . . eek. Sort of hyper-saline and hard on the tongue, but you do get used to it. Consider yourself warned!


And one last note: I’ve come accross a lot of concern regarding the potential for baking soda to damage tooth enamel. Apparently, there is an Abrasive Index for all toothpastes, called the RDA Index, which measures a product’s grittiness. After all, toothpastes are abrasive – that’s how they work! But according to the RDA Index, baking soda is the second least abrasive option, right above plain ol’ water. So no worries!

  • FJ

    Sayward, as a store-bought alternative, I would recommend Weleda’s Saline Toothpaste. The formula is certainly more complex than your version and, therefore, leaves the door open for more nastiness, but Weleda has a great track record when it comes to such things, and their saline paste seems to share some inspiration with your version.

  • Meghan

    I am surprised to hear that it is hard to find sodium laurel sulfate-free toothpaste… I think I’ve tried at least four brands in the past 6 months, each without any. And I haven’t even tried ‘em all yet! So far my favorite is Kiss My Face, but it is super expensive. “Make My Own” will definitely go on my list of things to try though!

  • Lisa

    Fabulous! We are just about to run out of toothpaste and I was considering making my own and now I have a recipe, I have tried the plain baking soda thing, not so good, this sounds like it may be better. I also tried your deod recipe, although people think I am nuts *they already thought that anyway* I love it.
    Crazy Hippie Yoga Mom

  • Sayward

    @ FJ – Thanks for the recommendation. I do want to look into good store bought alternatives, ‘just in case’.

    @ Meghan – I’ll have to look into it some more!I know that Tom’s and the Trader Joe’s brands have it, and all the ones I’ve seen at grocers and drug stores. I know the good ones are out there, but they can be hard to find!

    @ Lisa – Thanks! So glad you like the deodorant recipe, I hope this one works for you as well. =)

  • Sara

    Please keep in mind I don’t know much about this, and I know that it’s bad for the environment, but don’t you need to use fluoride in order for toothpaste to really work?

    Also, I’ve always thought Tom’s of Maine was good to use, although I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian brand only, because I see it everywhere here in the great white north! Here’s the skin deep link:

    Is there any other ingredient to worry about in a toothpaste?

  • sarah

    This ones going on the to-do list ;)

  • Sayward

    @ Sara – Flouride is a much-debatable topic that I’ll leave alone for now, but suffice to say it is *not* required to clean teeth. It is purported to strengthen and protect, but that is a separate issue. To get your pearlies bright and sparkling, you certainly don’t need it!

  • Minna

    Hi there! I have started to read your blog every day now, it’s nice that you update so often. I love your clear thoughts and I have got a lot of inspiration and ideas from you. I am a vegan myself so I am definitely going to try all of your delicious recipes :)

    I have quite bad skin, dermatitis and very dry, so far I have used a lot of hormone-lotions and my pharmacy bills are unbelievable. So I started to think about the endless stuff that I have used on my skin… read the labels and understood that all of this shit might even make things worse. So yeah, now I only use coconut oil based organic lotion which works just fine! Plus, I love the natural smell of it.

    As soon as I get my own place (currently travelling in Australia with friends) back in Europe where I live, and more money, I will make sure that each product I use for skin or hair care I make myself.

    So I got loads of inspiration reading your home-made toothpaste recipe! Fluoride is very very bad for dermatitis so I would gladly replace it with something natural and nice.

    I wanted to ask you about your opinion on chewing gum though. I am quite addicted to using that because it’s nice to have fresh breath after a meal. But since it’s full of chemicals I would gladly use something natural instead. What do you recommend? Have you tried making your own peppermint pastilles or anything like that?


  • Sayward

    @ Minna – Thank you for the awesome comment!

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such trouble with dermatitis. But the coconut lotion is working? That would be so great if you could get away from the hormones and harsh chemicals. There are a lot of natural skin treatments out there, have you looked into OCM? Try googling around for it if you haven’t – I’ve heard great success stories.

    As for gum, I’m not a gum chewer at all, I’m afraid! I’ll think about it, but right now I don’t have much in the way of ideas for alternatives. Maybe natural licorice chews, if you like black licorice/anise? Hmmm, I’ll keep my eyes open. But for now, sorry! =(

  • Felicia

    Hi, I have just recently made my own toothpaste from another recipe that I came across before this one. Both recipes are very similar and invlove a base of baking soda and coconut oil. The one I used, mentioned adding stevia, (not xylitol, which sounds like a better alternative, but I’ll have to find a way of acquiring it first) just as you also suggested, but I am a little aprehensive of doing this because I’m not sure how the sweetener will affect my teeth. Does it have the same affects on teeth as regular sugar? I know that I do not need to add a sweetener, but as it stand now, I find the coconut taste to be a bit overwhelming, despite all of the mint oil that I added.

  • Sayward

    @ Felicia – From what I understand, stevia is not destructive to teeth in the same way as regular sugar. Plus you’ll use so little (because it’s SO strong) that I’m sure it’s really just negligible. I wouldn’t worry about it. Sweeten away! =)

  • Karen

    Thanks for this info & your recipe! I just discovered your site & have enjoyed it. Your recipe came at an opportune time!

    Trader Joe’s is discontinuing it’s natural toothpaste (I hope that they’re just switching vendors). A few years ago, I was thrilled to find Trader Joe’s selling it’s own healthy toothpaste for $2/tube right next to Tom’s brand that’s $4/tube. So, now we are back to $4 tubes of Tom’s. Ugh! Can’t wait to make your toothpaste recipe.

    Baking Soda: I share your love of baking soda! Now that I’ve found your site, I will have to search you archives for more tips for using it. Here are a couple ways I use it for my mouth:
    - a very tiny pinch of it in Waterpik (making sure that it is fully dissolved/diluted in the reservoir 1st)
    - brush tongue with it after brushing teeth after eating fish, garlic, onions, etc. & rinse thoroughly
    - dip toothbrush in baking soda after putting toothpaste on it b4 brushing

    Regarding xylitol, I have read that this is actually so good for teeth (cavity reduction, etc.) that there are gums & mints available at health/vitamin stores featuring xylitol instead of other sweeteners. Read the verbage in the first link below for more info or just google what is xylitol. Find it at:
    Vitamin Shoppe

    Warning! Keep xylitol away from pets, though … I recently read that xylitol is toxic for dogs (google xylitol toxicity).

  • Karen

    Oops … I meant to say “Read the verbage in the second link below for more info …”

  • Sayward

    @ Karen – Wow, so much information, that’s awesome. Thank you! I hope people read the comments here. =D

  • Suze

    I swear by this:

    SLS is not the only bad ingredient in regular toothpaste. So is Glycerin… and pretty much everything else.

    Using baking soda daily may be too abrasive for some people, and it’s very harsh tasting.

    Tooth Savior is so mild it makes brushing a pleasure. Gets your teeth very clean and not a bad chemical in sight. It might seem a bit expensive, but since you only need half a ‘curl’, the jar goes a long way. I love it so much I give it as gifts to my health conscious friends.

    (For a whitening effect, dip your toothbrush in 3% hydrogen peroxide before brushing)

  • Sleepy bird

    I believe xylitol is toxic to cats and dogs. Please be very careful around them

  • Sayward

    @ Suze – Thanks for the heads up!

    @ Sleepy bird – Yes, xylitol can be bad for pets. No brushing the dogs teeth with this recipe! =D

  • Suzanne

    I emailed Trader Joe’s about how disappointed I was that they discontinued their toothpaste and this was the response I got:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I have good news .
    . . The Toothpaste is coming back. Due to customer feedback, we have
    decided to give it another try.

    At this time we don’t have a confirmed date but we hope to have it back
    within a month. Thank you for your patience with us in this matter.

    Please continue to check your Trader Joe’s for any updates.

    So, go out and buy it so they keep it on the shelves!!!

  • Sayward

    @ Suzanne – Thanks for the update!

  • Kari

    I have recently found that good ol’ Dr Bronners works great as a toothpaste!

    A drop or two of the peppermint on your (wet) brush, then a brief rinse so you don’t resemble a rabid dog, and you’re good to go.

    It DOES NOT taste like soap, it tastes minty and sort of like clean water. No grossness at all!

  • MJ

    Thanks so much for posting all of this. I can add a couple of additional comments.
    1) Xylitol is supposedly helpful against candida and oral yeast infections- apparently the yeasts eat it but it doesn’t give them any energy… so they starve.
    2) I found xylitol in bulk in sweetener sections of health food stores like whole foods, also I think online at (Its incredibly cheap- maybe $7 for a pound of powder.)

    3) I too have read that xylitol is toxic to small animals- there are reports of peoples animals dying after eating a piece of xylitol chewing gum.

    3) Regarding abrasives, my dentist recently told me that “they” are now recommending that people don’t need to use any abrasive at all- just brush with water. (I’m hoping to create something mouthwash-like using xylitol and maybe some spearmint and/or other essential oils, to dip my brush in. Came to this site looking for ideas…).

  • Sayward

    @ Kari – Wow that’s really interesting, I never would have thought of that. Definitely something to consider, thanks for the heads up!

    @ MJ – Thanks for all the tips. I’m especially interested in the non-abrasive issue. A mouthwash type rinse sounds great – please let me know if you come up with a good recipe!

  • MathTutor

    Suze posted this link…
    for a natural toothpaste and I just did some research and it has no nasty ingredients (including sodium lauryl sulfate)!!

    I will still be trying sayward’s recipe, but i’m buying this stuff just in case. I wish I was as crafty as you sayward!

  • pando

    add sea slat too, that thing is natural and is way better than table salt!

  • gingersnap

    Great recipe! I made a batch a few days ago, and I like the flavor and how well it works. Only problem was that after a few hours it hardened into something like cement. I had to stab it repeatedly with a fork (kind of satisfying, because I was in a grouchy mood) to break it up into an oily powder that sort of crumbles off the toothbrush. It’s not bad, but I would prefer a toothpaste-like texture. Did this happen to anyone else? Any suggestions?

  • Sayward

    @ gingersnap – That’s really strange, coconut oil shouldn’t do that! Did you keep it covered?

    Mine slowly (very slowly) loses moisture over time, but it never gets ‘hard’. I’m sorry, I don’t know what to tell you! You could try adding more oil and remixing?

  • FairMaiden

    Gingersnap – I have used coconut oil exclusively as my deodorant (mixed with baking soda) for several years now. It’s also the only oil I use to cook with, so I’m pretty familiar with the way it “acts”. Your toothpaste is probably just getting too cold. Try running the container under hot water for a bit – then remixing; or soaking the container in some warm water and remixing. Also, coconut oil starts to melt at around 70 degrees F, so if your bathroom gets really warm in the summer, the toothpaste might get liquidy.

    Sayward, I just discovered your blog and have been enjoying chasing down your various recipes. :) I’m looking forward to picking up supplies at my health food store and making some dishwasher detergent- I’m almost out of my Ecover, and I was starting to wonder about that. :) I might try this toothpaste recipe once I run out of my IPSAB Tooth Powder(finely milled salt, baking powder, prickly ash bark and peppermint oil), altho’ I do love the stuff and one bottle has lasted me almost 2 yrs! I have done “oil pulling” with my BS/coconut oil mix after brushing my teeth, tho’ – and they stay amazingly squeeky clean! :)

  • gingersnap

    Thanks for the info, FairMaiden. You are almost certainly correct, because the temperature in our bathroom is around 50 degrees! (I know, makes you just want to pack up and move to Vermont, doesn’t it?) So I’ll just deal with the crumbly stuff for now and look forward to summer!

  • Heidi

    Like the rest of you who have made this, I love it! But I had the same problem as Gingersnap where it got really hard due to the fact that we keep the house at about 59 degrees and it needed to be run under hot water. Right now I am currently using a toothpaste that is 1/4 c baking soda 1/4 vegetable glycerin and mint to taste, which also works very well. Thanks for all the great things you are doing to make us more aware.

  • Kurt Poeppelman

    It’s pretty awesome having nutrition as my life. I always tell people when they ask me what kind of supplements to take. Start with the basics and get some whey protein as a body building supplement then if you want, try an EFA stack for weight loss. As always throw in a multivitamin.

  • Liz

    How much does this recipe for toothpaste make?

  • Sayward

    @ Liz – I’d say about a 1/4 cup. It lasts me quite some time!

  • Melissa

    question: when you refer to peppermint oil, do you mean essential oil or extract…. or something else entirely? having fun today making toothpaste and deodorant!

  • Sayward

    @ Melissa – Well, my bottle says ‘flavor’, but it’s sold along with the extracts, like for baking, so I’d say it’s an extract. It’s peppermint oil in safflower oil, basically food-grade peppermint oil. Does that help or is it even more confusing??

  • Melissa

    that helps alot! I didn’t feel right putting that much peppermint “essential oil” in. i will use extract! THANKS!

  • Johnna

    for essential oils, it depends on who makes it and how much you ingest. it is best to look up an oil before just ingesting it. some of them can be harmful if ingested in large amounts but most are safe. here isalist ofwhatthe fda approves for ingestion.

  • Britt!

    OH! So DON’T use peppermint essential oil then?? Hi there! Wow, you wrote this over a year ago! Sorry to keep pestering you with questions regarding the past, but I’m still becoming familiar with all that is Bonzai Aphrodite…! ;-)> Anyhow, have you ever considered using tea tree oil, either in place of the peppermint flavor, or in addition to (I just don’t know how that would taste…)? I gave this recipe to my vegan buddies I mentioned before (you know, the ones whose poop smells like rainbows… =) Eeeew, but not like I would know personally! They… told me so…! Right. *ahem*), anyway, and she suggested tea tree oil. It apparently is really great for oral hygiene. So yeah. There’s my two bits! Now I’m going to look up this link Johnna posted… Cheers! Thanks!

  • Sayward

    @ Britt! – Hmm, I have and use Tea Tree oil, but I’m not sure how I feel about putting that ‘flavor’ in my mouth? I’ll have to consider that, thanks for the tip!

  • Juniper

    Yay! i have a son with multiple food allergies and he has been allergic all of his toothpaste options.I have recently been using jsut abking soda and well, I hate it, why would a 2 yr old like it?! lol
    He cant have coconut oil, but simply adding the xylitol(which i already use for coffee and baking) has been awesome!!!

  • Megan

    Where’d did you get your jars at?

  • Sayward

    @ Megan – I think it’s a fancy jam jar! But I don’t know, I always save cute jars so ‘m never sure exactly what came from what. Sorry!

  • Elizabeth

    Sayward you are such an inspiration! I’ve been using your toothpaste, “no poo” and deodorant for about a month, and I love them, and I might never buy them from a store again! Saving money and being healthier and greener at the same time is so much fun! Next I’ll try your laundry detergent if I can track down all the ingredients. Thank you!

  • Annie Minnaar

    Hey lovely :) This is a super post, been thinking of ditchin the toothpaste for ages. Been using *ahem shamed…* colgate since forever and know how horrible it is. When I was in the forest and had forgotten my toothpaste we used the white cinders from the fire, the powdered white remains of the wood, so it wasn’t abrasive. It tasted odd, a bit earthy, but not as bad as you’d think. Apparently its a great cleaning agent and is great for covering compost loos when camping! Anyway, I won’t be using it in any other circumstance so I recon your recipe is a thing to try! I don’t have xylitol but will have a go finding some, as for the oil I think I’d rather use dried herbs from the garden :) We have a mountain of melissa mint and citronella so I think that might be the plan! I’ve been scouring the web this morning and there are so many recipes but they include hydrogen peroxide! This seems a bit harsh to me…. Also, I would be wary of ingesting essential oils depending on where you have sourced them. Making sure they are 100% natural oils would be a good idea? Anyway, it would be great to hear if you guys are still using this recipe or if you have changed it or added anything new? How is it working for you? I’m gonna go restock my cupboard with your deodorant and try find a way to maek my own soap… I am pretty unchuffed at the crap they put in soaps, even teh “Natural” ones. Can’t trust anyone these days hehe Thanks again for the wonderful loving blog and recipes. namaste

  • Sayward Rebhal

    This is just the comment I needed to kick my butt into gear! I had gotten lax on re-making my toothpaste, and was back on the Toms stuff. But I re-read the ingredients, and BLECH! As soon as I get back from the holidays, I’ll be making my own again. Thanks Annie!

  • Chelibw

    where does a person buy xylitol?

  • Chelibw

    (want to follow by email sorry)

  • Chelibw

    would you use this toothpaste on kids? myabe not 18 mo, but a 3 yo?
    also, disregard previous over-zelous comments on where to get xilito, haha

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hmm, as long as they can swish and spit, I would use it on my kids. The only concern is the baking soda which is super salty so I wouldn’t want it to get swallowed. Waits doesn’t spit yet so I don’t use it on him yet. But I will!

  • Lana

    OMgosh I am so excited to try this. I was just standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth and though, “I have to be able to make toothpaste, right? I have made just about everything else…” Low and behold here’s how! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Andrea

    Hi, I followed your recipe exactly, however it seems to be a little dry. Everything is stuck together however it is not a “paste”. Any thoughts? I see reading some other posts that you used extract vs. essential oil, maybe the drops are bigger? Is a drop the same as any other drop? =) Wondering about adding more peppermint or more coconut, either way it changes the flavor..hmm?