Instructables

How to Make Toothpaste

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Picture of How to Make Toothpaste
The average person will brush their teeth around 68,430 times in their life. Thats a lot! But how many times will we wonder what exactly is cleaning our teeth? Many store-bought toothpastes promise not only a healthy, white smile, but also claim to provide germ protection that rivals armored vehicles.

But what if we could have all that without chemicals like "blue 1 lake" and "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate"? Sounds like a good deal! Here are the ingredients and the 'how to' on how to make your own toothpaste! Simple, natural and economical. This stuff will leave your mouth (and breath) thanking you for a change!
 
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Step 1: Gathering the Goods

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You will need

3 tbsp Baking Soda
2 tbsp Boiling Water
4 tsp Dr. Bronner's castile soap
1/2 cup Coconut oil
1 tsp Peppermint leaf extract (or any natural extract like cinnamon or clove etc.)

blender, food processor, or hand beater
squeeze bottle or mason jar for finished product

Step 2: Preparing the Goods

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Boil a small amount of water on the stove. This will both purify your water, and make easier to blend with the powder ingredients in the next step. We will only need 2 tbsp's of this water.

Put the 1/2 cup of coconut oil into the microwave for 15 seconds. It doesn't have to liquify completely, just a little bit, so that its easier to work with.

Step 3: Combining the Goods

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Mix together the castile soap, coconut oil, hot water, baking soda, and peppermint extract into a bowl that you can use to blend with.

Step 4: Blending the Goods

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I know what you're thinking. That doesn't look anything like toothpaste, but thats where the blender/ food processor/ hand mixer come in.

Blend for about 1 minute until a creamy texture forms. Longer than this, and the mix will begin to turn frothy.

Step 5: Brushing Your Goods

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Scoop mixture out into a food-safe container. I used a Wilton's icing squeeze bottle, but you can also use a mason jar (which may make application to a toothbrush interesting!)

You are ready to brush your teeth with the satisfaction of knowing exactly what ingredients your toothpaste is made up of!
Trike Lover14 days ago

Thanks to the author for this detailed
and informative Instructable.I wonder if flavoured plant/fruit oils
other than Coconut Oil could be used in the same way?

I'm not sure about the Castille soap (my grandmother was a 'wash out your
mouth with soap' advocate, LOL) - the smell alone puts me off - but the
rest sounds perfectly do-abe, and I'll be giving it a try.

I'm curious about making toothpaste for sensitive teeth, similar to
Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief. Both have been a great help
to me - but they are expensive, especially for those on fixed incomes.
Also, it's fun to make my own stuff.

An earlier poster suggested, for "sensitive teeth toothpaste", taking 10 parts of this toothpaste recipe,
and adding 1 part Lysine, and 1 part (or a bit less) ground calcium
carbonate (Caltrate or similar, ground very fine in a mortar and pestle). I'll try this as well.

I'll say at this point that I'm an engineer, although not a civil or chemical engineer
concerned with water systems. I do know - from my own experience, and having the finished product analyzed in a lab - that even distilled water, made in a copper still contains mineral trace elements - copper in particular.

Perhaps a still made from Borosilicate Glass (Pyrex) would eliminate this, as it is pretty non-reactive at any ordinary temperatire. Likewise, water purified using high-intensity Ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, and particulate filtration (charcoal
and similar) still contains trace amounts of various minerals found in natural water, which ones and how much depending on the source.

Much so-called "pure" bottled water is in fact straight municipal tap water,
or worse, river or stream water with only the larger particles filtered out. The latter can contain all sorts of interesting (!) bacteria, such
as that which causes "beaver fever". It may be "natural source", but it
is not "pure".

As to fluoride, there are many areas where ground water pumped from wells
contains small (trace quantities - fractions of a microgram per decalitre {about 2-1/2 U.S. gallons). So there is such a thing as "natural fluoridation and - surprise surprise - it was the fact that people who got their water from those sources (before the days of municipal water systems) had few or no cases of dental caries (cavities) that drew attention to fluoride in drinking water as a cavity preventer
in the first place.

There are many trace elements in groundwater, some of much more concern than fluoride - fact, not opinion. Local well water in my area contains very high levels of iron, for example. If you doubt the fact of trace elements in groundwater,
either go to the library, or have a sample of your own well water analyzed. If you get your water from a municipal water system, most will be only too happy to provide you with a full listing of everything in your water.

Whether you like it, or not, is your personal preference.

Thanks again to the author for this interesting and very useful post!

grinnin4 months ago
Where do you buy coconut oil?
Online they want you to buy huge amounts.
mquaale1 grinnin2 months ago

Coconut oil can be found in the oil/baking aisle of most supermarkets or in the ethnic section. It can also be found at some Costco stores.

ArticAkita4 months ago
anything that don't NEED floride in it sounds good to me to clean your teeth with! exellent insructable very clear instructions with beutifully taken photos Good job!
While there is a lot of evidence that systemic fluoride is terrible for your bones and health overall, topical fluoride that you don't ingest is one of the few, most effective compounds at keeping your enamel hard enough to resist the crunch, scratchy foods we all eat.

Actually your body can absorb various things through the skin and mucus membranes(including your mouth) so your body will absorb the flouride whether you ingest it or apply it topically. And it has been proven in scientific studies that flouride doesn't do anything to tooth enamel.

bsnyder33 months ago

It tastes pretty good. It's too viscous for a bottle like that though. I have to use a chopstick to get it out.

abreiling4 months ago
Thank you for this - can't wait to try it. I like that you use coconut oil.
ewillyp4 months ago
hey, great I use baking soda and salt alone and then rinse w/Dr. Tichenor's antiseptic. I like this recipe alot. One question though (and it's not about floride;) do you have to worry about it expiring, going bad or rancid with the coconut oil in it, or does it keep well. Or is the above recipe perfect amount so that it gets used quickly enough so it doesn't go bad, but not quickly enough to where one is cursing that "there's no damn toothpaste already AGAIN!?" thanks.
freak0vnature4 months ago
my mum makes my toothpaste with bentonite clay and so its a blue grey color and its a bit grainy.
I will tell her about this thank you.
Is there a more common type of soap I could use to replace the castile soap?
Thanks!
PhaseShifter4 months ago
Have you tried other flavors, like cinnamon?
konfab4 months ago
You have contradicted yourself a bit.
The wikipedia page for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, states that is is derived from coconut oil, which happens to be one of your ingredients. So you are still making toothpaste with these "evil" chemicals.
metqa konfab4 months ago
There is NO contradiction. The coconut oil would have to be saponified and THEN combined with Sodium Hydroxide to form Sodium Laureth Sulfate. In other words, you would have to add LYE to the a different type of processed coconut oil DERIVATIVE in order to be worried that it would even POSSIBLY contain SLS. I didn't see Lye on the list of ingredients, so, yeah, not possible . Even if you did mix your coconut oil toothpaste with Lye you wouldn't get SLS, you'd get soap. So ... Nah, We are NOT making toothpaste with these "evil" chemicals, just simple basic ingredients.

I personally don't use any soap in my paste, just coconut oil, peppermint oil, Xylitol, Baking soda, powdered salt, and Diatomaceous Earth. I'd been looking for a better dispenser than the lidded jar I use, and I have those Wilton dispensers, so I'm going to funnel mine into a dispenser tube now.

The active ingredient is whatever you are expecting the paste to do. If you expect it to remove debris from your teeth, the active ingredient would be the abrasive, if you want it to kill germs, it would be the baking soda or salt, or in my blend, the xylitol.There is no need to add flouride, you drink it everyday in the tap water.
metqa metqa4 months ago
Also, you can get natural Flourine from Tea, much better and not harmful when absorbed by the body.
lassensurf metqa4 months ago
fluoride is fluoride once it's dissolved in water. it doesn't matter the source, only the amount. It's only in tea, if it's in your tap water.
metqa lassensurf4 months ago
Right, but my point was that you don't have to supplement with it cause it's both in the tap water and in plant material like tea leaves. If you make your tea, even with distilled water, the fluorine ions in the tea itself will go into the water. You will be getting fluoride regardless. And you don't have to worry what the "original source" of the fluoride Atom came from ( if it's the basest element, it's that element regardless of source, but you have to speak to the fear of the masses. My Step Dad, for example, won't eat gelatin products because it might come from pigs, even though there is not any biological markers or proteins left to identify what animal it comes from once it is in powdered gelatin form. So rather than worry about the source, he just avoids it altogether. I wouldn't want people avoiding Tea because they are afraid of fluoride or overdosing on it cause they don't know how prevalent it already is in our daily lives.
lassensurf metqa4 months ago
If your water is fluoridated, and If you drink tea that was grown with fluoridated water.

Just gonna disclose, I am a dentist so that automatically (to some people) makes me part of the conspiracy theory that's secretly poisoning society and disposing of the toxic waste that is fluoride by hiding in peoples mouths and bodies...)

Fluoride may have a systemic effect, but the major effect is topical. It's easier to overdose systemically so they keep tap-water at or below 1ppm in half of the US which is enough to give the topical effect drinking tap-water without causing any stress on your body. There's some fudge room, of course. 0.5-1.5ppm are still acceptable. Topically, toothpastes have 1,000ppm (cuz you don't eat it) while prescription toothpastes have 5,000ppm and varnishes that some dentists apply contain up to 25,000ppm (it's a slow release wax they smear on your teeth). And it WORKS. I've seen plenty of patients who have a mouth full of cavities on all their adult teeth except miraculously their 6-year molars which are spotless and which got fluoride treatment while they were kids. (plenty of other patients come in with spotless adult teeth except their bombed-out 6-year molars that they didn't take care of as a kid).

You didn't ask for this whole treatise, thanks for reading all the same. Good luck with the gelatin :-)
metqa lassensurf4 months ago
Ha, ha, and of course I was making the assumption, being in the U.S. That all water is fluoridated! No, thanks for the details. I love information, but I'm curious for your opinion about the bottled water I've seen sold in the supermarket, fluoridated bottled water for babies. If what you say about it being ubiquitous and most effective topically, what do you think is the purpose of giving babies extra fluoridated water to drink, since they they don't even have teeth yet to be affected by it topically? or does this baby fluoride water have the same amount as the regulated tap water, I didn't check personally, I think it's just marketing.
lassensurf metqa4 months ago
Bottled water, generally is not fluoridated. I've never actually seen fluoridated water for babies, though I've heard of it. Yeah, not necessary. I wouldn't do it for my kids, cuz, you're right, there's no real point. I'd imagine (though not sure) that it's like tap water in content.
lassensurf metqa4 months ago
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) is a base/alkali, much like sodium bicarbonate, though baking soda is much weaker. There will still be some saponification with baking soda.

But I'm with you, SLS is like the HFCS of the cosmetic world. Super strong detergent that's super cheap so it's used in EVERYTHING and it's super harsh to living tissue in stripping them of ALL natural oils. (which is why just about all soaps/shampoos these days have to advertise they are just adding moisutrizers/oils BACK into the soap, bcause the SLS is too harsh.
amalkhan (author)  metqa4 months ago
Metqa, I concur. Thank you for your informative response.
fallen_petals5 months ago
The baking soda also helps with whitening. If you mix baking soda and peroxide into a paste, you can create a safe tooth whitener.
Hmmm.....but how much Peroxide for this particular recipe?
cahebayx4 months ago
Baking Soda is an Abrasive cleaning the surface as well as neutralizing acid
Salt kills Germs and is an abrasive
fluoride is a poison and very bad for you and has been shown not to help prevent cavities . Fluoride was used until 1959 as Rat poison when it no longer worked and some genius decided to add it to water,, it was also used in Nazi and Russian prison camps in the water supply as it dumbs down the drinker of it and keeps them passive.
they replaced fluoride as rat poison with warfarin a dangerous blood thinner used on humans to prevent clots in large dosages the subject hemorrhages and bleeds out.
g_Bear cahebayx4 months ago
Fluoride is not used to prevent cavities. It is used to create a stronger and tighter enamel matrix by replacing the natural OH groups in the enamel with fluoride groups. This makes it harder for the acids produced by the fermenting organisms in your mouth to permeate. On the other hand, it also makes your teeth more brittle and the naturally occuring fluoride in teas is enough to add strength and density without causing too much brittleness.
There are lots of poisons used in daily activities. What's poisonous to one thing in one amount is not in other situations.

The best way to think of fluoride is as a trace mineral. It's naturally occuring and very beneficial and harmless (unless you have kidney problems and then fluoride is your last concern) in the correct amounts (.5-1ppm). The early days of fluoridation were rough since no one knew what what the best amount was and there were adverse effects.
philby5 months ago
The active ingredient in toothpaste is sodium fluoride. It is this that strengthens teeth against decay. So while I love this idea , unless we can find a way to add fluoride...
g_Bear philby4 months ago
Fluoride is NOT the natural form for tooth enamel. While it is true that sodium fluoride hardens your enamel by replacing the OH groups with Fluoride in the hydroxylapatite mineral making a stronger matrix, it also makes your teeth more apt to chip. Think of metals, The softer metals are less likely to break. The baking soda provides the necessary OH groups for NORMAL tooth enamel, and the naturally occuring fluorides teas and the fluoride in most city water is sufficient to provide some added strength without creating a strong but brittle matrix.
For those concerned about getting sufficient chemical reactions on your teeth to form fluorapatite, an altered and harder form of tooth enamel once the fluoride replaces your natural calcium, don't be. You get orders-of-magnitude more than necessary through coffee, tea, soda, and any other source of Tap Water in the U.S. Besides rat poison, it is difficult to get ahold of your own Sodium Fluoride, since what you're filling your mouth with is essentially a toxic chemical by-product of fertilizer and metal ore processing, it is a neurotoxin, a carcinogen, causes mutations and deformities, and only 5 grams is enough to kill you. So enjoy not only making your own toothpaste, but also the fact that it is a MUCH healthier alternative. Also, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a much milder abrasive than the typical Aluminum Hydroxide or larger grit additives like various hydrated silica (sand). It has a better natural whitening effect than toothpastes without it, especially when combined with some Hydrogen Peroxide, which I would recommend adding to this recipe. It IS an 'active ingredient' as it also has anti-cavity effects, neutralizes acids in the mouth, and is a mild natural antiseptic to help prevent infections. If you prefer a bit of sweetener, I recommend a tablespoon or so (to taste) of Xylitol from your local supermarket or pharmacy, as unlike sugars it helps kill 'bad' bacteria that cause decay. If you need an additive for dental hypersensitivity, only a pinch of Potassium Nitrate is needed. The other necessary is a detergent to dissolve fatty substances and create mild lather while cleansing, and the one recommended appears to be what is available on Amazon in a 'peppermint' variety in a small 4oz. bottle...time to experiment!
You'll only get fluoride in your coffee and tea if your water is fluoridated, which only about half the US is, and bottled waters (also in Soda) are not. If you're in the habit of drinking soda, you have bigger health concerns than the trace mineral known as fluoride.

Only a pinch of nitrate (of which potassium nitrate is one type) is needed to make my hot dogs awesome, too. Steam is also a by product of fertilizer, and is an industrial waste, though it's incredibly useful in killing germs too.

My baseball bat is poisonous to rats too, but healthy in all other situations. It all depends on the dose. If I were to eat blocks of limestone and call it a calcium supplement, I'd be sure to have health issues, even though it's the same mineral as in your health-food store calcium supplements. (I grew up in my dad's health food store and have attended dental school I understand both sides of this issue VERY well, and there's a great deal of misunderstanding on BOTH sides). Fluoride might be made in some industrial processes, but it is a naturally occuring mineral in many parts of the world (in some areas, water treatment plants have to remove it from the natural water supply, as it is too high). It is a valuable trace mineral. Note the world trace, just like the bottles of expensive Trace Minerals you buy in the health food store. You wouldn't want too much of any of those other ones either or you'd have SERIOUS problems, too.

You're correct about the xylitol and the baking soda! Thanks for being diligent and educating yourself. Keep it up!
You will not find sodium fluoride in modern rat poisons. One is not "filling your mouth" with a toxic chemical when using modern toothpastes, one is using a product that uses ingredients in proper non toxic concentration and has been proven safe for use multiple times daily.

There is absolutely zero evidence to suggest that the OP's formula is a "much healthier" choice, because you have done no testing and commercial toothpaste has a proven safety record in billions of applications.

Your antifluoridation talking points are not helpful here.
KROKKENOSTER4 months ago
I am just wondering what did our ancestors do before this got known. Fluoride is only needed up to the age of seven years after that the effect on people's body is hair raising . Now I can make my own and be safer Thanks a googal for this instructable!
seidl84814 months ago
If you want to check the safety of ingredients, go the the website of "Environmental Working Group." If you think something has been "proven" safe, I have 2 acres of swamp land.
amalkhan (author) 4 months ago
Castile oil soap isn't necessary. Your mouth will still get plenty clean with the other ingredients =)
ablasi4 months ago
Castille soap. Anything else that could be used instead? I loathe the smell of that stuff and the thought of putting it in my mouth made me gag.
qcidiana4 months ago
Very good, I would like to try this. I am in British Columbia, what is Castile soap?
stanwitham4 months ago
Very interesting! I'll have to try it.
My question is WHY do you NEED soap for this???
hsteinbe4 months ago
talk to your doctor, they can give you a prescription for fluoride tablets (they are cheap to buy). Our kids take them because we live way out in the country, no fluoride in the water.
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