Introduction: How to Make Toothpaste

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!

Step 1: Gathering the Goods

Picture of Gathering the Goods

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

Picture of Preparing the Goods

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

Picture of Combining the Goods

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

Picture of Blending the Goods

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

Picture of Brushing Your Goods

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!


konfab (author)2013-11-21

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 (author)konfab2013-11-21

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.

lovethebackwoods (author)metqa2016-04-14

Hi metqa. I don't know how much fluoride, if any, is present in the natural aquifer, but I presume that dentists, politicians, etc. either know that there is none or consider it an insufficient amount for dental protection. However, we live in a rural area where we all have private wells and presumably little if any fluoride. I've never tasted water as cold and delicious as ours, and we pay to have it lab-checked every year or two. My husband has dentures and there is no defense for him benefiting from added fluoride. I definitely do not need it. I have my natural teeth with a few (very old) restorations and one permanent bridge. I see my dentist twice a year and all I ever need is the routine cleaning and occasional X-rays. We do not "need" fluoride added to our water. Politicians who were truly concerned about childrens' health would promote natural healthful diets sans added sugars, plus appropriate and timely dental care. -end of rant-

fluoride is used in hi-security prisons to get detainees to calm down, or somewhat sedate them.

metqa (author)lovethebackwoods2016-04-14

Glad you have delicious water and great dental health. I'm not sure if you misread my intention when I said you don't need to add it to homemade toothpaste. I said that because it's in the municipal drinking water. I wasn't saying you "need" fluoride, just that whether you like it or not or know it or not, if you drink city water, you are ingesting it, and there is no need to try to add it to a natural homemade toothpaste. I don't think fluoride is a mineral that ends up in water in much quantity on it's own, so I also can't comment about natural aquifers either, but I don't see the need to add it to water or toothpaste, so there was no need to rant. LOL

lovethebackwoods (author)metqa2016-04-16

Thanks, metqa. I wasn't misreading that I thought you meant for us to add fluoride to homemade toothpaste, I was just carrying on about it being added arbitrarily to water (which yes, I know many people believe in). I talked with a physician a couple of days ago, who also has a private well. He said that some areas of the country/world have natural fluoride in the water, but that our area (rural AK, USA) does not. Patches of Texas do, he said. A small neighborhood about three miles west of us has a lot of sulphur in their water. I didn't even know we had it anywhere near us until our daughter looked at renting an apartment there. The landlady finally backed down and said that previous tenants had taken their laundry into town and that they did not shower at home! They brought bottled water for drinking and cooking! So, no, our daughter did not rent there!

metqa (author)lovethebackwoods2016-04-16

wow, good thing your daughter didn't rent there, sulfur would make everything smell bad. What a hassle it would be to not be able to shower at home . Thanks for explaining your rant it makes more sense now to me. There are so many "experiments" going on on the public some I agree with( like vaccines ) some I don't( like the lid hypothesis ) the fluoride thing is so weird I don't know what to think about it. There are pros and cons on both sides but without an overwhelming Pro it seems to me that I'd want not to expose excessively.

EmmitS (author)lovethebackwoods2016-04-14

Well water is more likely to contain fluorine, depending on what minerals are present in your aquifer.

poco424 (author)metqa2016-04-14

I let my brush soak in H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide purchased OTC @ Walmart) after brushing. My brush is always sanitary the next time I use it. It is important to remember, though, to use a container that doesn't let light disassociate the extra oxygen atom from the peroxide molecule. I just stick the brush into the bottle that the peroxide came in.

metqa (author)poco4242016-04-16

thanks for that tip. usually I just put in a little cup with a little bit of peroxide and refresh the liquid cup the next day as I need.

poco424 (author)metqa2016-04-16

The peroxide will last quite a while if not exposed to light.
The photons knock the extra oxygen off the molecule.

metqa (author)metqa2013-11-21

Also, you can get natural Flourine from Tea, much better and not harmful when absorbed by the body.

lassensurf (author)metqa2013-11-22

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 (author)lassensurf2013-11-22

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 (author)metqa2013-11-22

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 (author)lassensurf2013-11-22

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.

uzannesay (author)metqa2016-04-14

There are plenty of people in the US that don't have fluoridated water. Well water can have no fluoride or a ton (that's why it has to get tested and then you need certain filters or make sure you get fluoridated tooth paste). As far as I know the bottles of water with fluoride are for kids(I've never seen it say it's for babies specifically.) the kids bottles are usually in very small sizes. I imagine for younger kids where they have teeth that are hard to brush(because they hate it) and the toothpaste for that age has no fluoride. You shouldn't be giving water to babies before 6months and usually after that they have at least 1 tooth. Hope that helps!

metqa (author)uzannesay2016-04-14

I guess someone is doing their marketing wrong, cause here are a couple of large almost gallon sized bottles marketed for babies with added fluouride. I wonder if as Lassensurf said, the fluoride is added to the same level of tap. I wonder if this water is for people mixing formula?

lassensurf (author)metqa2013-11-22

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.

prickly vegan (author)lassensurf2015-01-11

or maybe it has to do with the fact that back when they were 6, there wasn't as much high fructose corn syrup being put in everything? I'm not sure anecdotal evidence proves anything. I got lots of fluoride as a kid and had a mouth full of cavities. I've see lots of studies that do not support your stance. Still, even if what you say is true, then it is better to have fluoride treatments, not treat the drinking water. Then people can choose and we are all happy.

oogilygumballs (author)metqa2014-09-15


lassensurf (author)metqa2013-11-22

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)metqa2013-11-21

Metqa, I concur. Thank you for your informative response.

tazmo8448 (author)2016-04-14

One of the best homemade toothpastes is 50% Salt & 50% Baking Soda...that came straight from a well known and respected dentist. I remember asking why that is and he said 'what you buy in stores is strictly made to get kids to brush because it tastes good but actually does very little to actually clean' adding 'salt is a natural fine abrasive and acid neutralizer and baking soda is also a neutralizer and breath freshener that combined maintains a healthy bacterial balance.' He also said go ahead use what you buy if you like but do make some up in a small jar or tupperware container and use it from time to time; I did and still do and that was in the 70's and it works folks.

LenaN (author)tazmo84482016-04-23

Do you mix it with any liquids? How does it stay on the toothbrush?

tazmo8448 (author)LenaN2016-04-23

dampen the toothbrush and dab it in til you have enough and repeat as really does clean and refresh the sure to use a soft brush and use it lightly (not like you're scrubbing a floor :} )

CarlosR123 (author)tazmo84482016-04-26

So u dip ur toothbrush on h2o or h2o2? and then on the baking soda+salt mix and then brush ur teeth?

tazmo8448 (author)CarlosR1232016-04-26

what i mean by dip is moisten the brush...and yes i usually use water; the h202 to me is hydrogen peroxide, which i have used to gargle with every now and then, but not as a 'wetting' agent while brushing.

LenaN (author)tazmo84482016-04-25

Thanks. I'll have to try it someday

metqa (author)tazmo84482016-04-16

That makes sense to me. After some years of using my own homemade paste, I used some commercial toothpaste my mother gave me and my mouth did not feel clean at all! I was glad to get back to my own salty paste, LOL

babydawl43 (author)2016-04-16

why do you put soap in tooth paste

cainchar (author)2016-04-14

Wondering if anyone knows how this works for people with sensitive teeth. Or, better yet, anything we could add to help with the sensitiveity?

VictoriaH40 (author)cainchar2016-04-14

I have sensitive teeth too. I'm going to try and make this but without the castile soap (I have everything but the castile soap already), and see how my sensitivity is after a few days. Looking on line, baking soda supposedly helps with sensitivity

cainchar (author)VictoriaH402016-04-15

I'll look forward to hearing your results.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-04-14

I don't understand... Why do people even brush their teeth?

I just pour some Hcl in my mouth ;)

GreyBeard1953 (author)Yonatan242016-04-14

The act of 'brushing' one's teeth is not primarily to do much with any specific tooth, but is to mainly remove small food particles from between your teeth, or to massage the food out from between ones teeth and gums.
The main thing that happens is that one's gums get a vigorous massaging, which helps tremendously in keeping your teeth anchored into place inside one's mouth.

Brushing one's teeth is NOT a modern, or even relatively modern habit one can do for general health purposes. It was documented as being done back in Ancient Greece and Egypt; So it is a practice that is several 1000's of years in practice.
Of course, back then they didn't use something with nylon bristles shoved into one side of one end of a plastic or fiberglass stick; but their's did the same job.

So... Smile!

Yonatan24 (author)GreyBeard19532016-04-15

I was sarcastic, It was a joke...

Hcl = Hydrochloric Acid, Which would melt my mouth off if I touched it... :) (I think you might have thought that is mouthwash)

wpayan (author)2014-07-23

Thanks for the instructions, I have a question, I tried a recipe very similar to this one and we like it but when we rinse our mouth we have a residue in our mouth, it seems it's from the Castle soap oils, we have rinse a lot with worm water and the tooth brush has to be clean with hot water and sometimes we have to hit it against the sink to get everything out. Is this happening to anyone else? I love it but this problem is turning me off. Thank you

EmmitS (author)wpayan2016-04-14

It may be your water. Castile soap reacts with hard water to make soap scum. It's insoluble and hard to clean off. If your water is hard, leave out the soap. That's why so many cleaning products use sodium laureth sulfate. It's am detergent that doesn't produce a soap scum in hard water.

prickly vegan (author)wpayan2015-01-11

try the recipe (or any other) without the castille soap. I use a mix a of baking soda, olive oil and essential oils. Works fine for me. No residue and leaves my mouth feeling quite clean.

ArticAkita (author)2013-11-22

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!

smarico58 (author)ArticAkita2013-11-24

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.

EmmitS (author)smarico582016-04-14

The big problem is not whether fluorine is good or bad. Too much of anything is bad. Remember the parents a few years ago who killed their child by making her drink too much water. One of the first things I learned in grade school was that if your water contains fluorine, you should not use a fluoride toothpaste. The combination of fluorine ingested with the water combined with fluorine absorbed through the mouth from the toothpaste would result in an overdose. The state forced our town, about fifteen years ago to fluoridate our tap water. That means that every person in the town gets a daily dose of fluorine, whether they want it or not. But, not one store in the town sells a non-fluorine toothpaste. That alone is enough to justify making your own toothpaste. Another reason is that most toothpastes contain abrasives. How does that make sense? Fluorine to make your enamel strong and abrasives to grind down the surface and make it weaker.

mquaale1 (author)smarico582014-01-27

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.

GreyBeard1953 (author)mquaale12016-04-14

Unless, of course, if you consume a toothpaste tube worth. THAT will make a large adult very sick; and it will kill a small child.
Might be why all toothpaste tubes and boxes tell you not to swallow it; and there is a contact number for the CDC's National Poison Control Center on them both.

Trike Lover (author)2014-04-05

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!

In regards as to your next to last paragraph about fluoride in ground water: Those folks that lived where the ground water had that 'naturally occurring fluoridation' also had a slightly lowered average IQ than the peoples in neighbouring communities. There were several theories about why this was so, but nothing was proven as a definite causation though; at least not in something easily found in public medical journals of the time.

And, no... I'm not one of those 'conspiracy theorists' one hears so much about.

meilinun61 (author)2016-04-02

I'm having a problem with this recipe. Castile is "supposed" to be pure coconut oil. So "why" do I need 3 T. of the soap plus 1/2 c. of some more coconut oil?
Also, this is to be a soap recipe so why Baking Soda? I can't use it. It ? my gums. It actually leaves tiny holes in my gums.
Since Castile is pure coconut oil why not just brush with it. It can't be any worse than the fluoride can it?

Kinnishian (author)meilinun612016-04-14

Baking soda acts as an abrasive for polishing your teeth, that's why it's added. Also balances PH probably.

No idea about the coconut addition, probably because coconut oil has more saturated fats which would make it more stiff at room temperature compared to castille.

Your comment about baking soda making holes in your gums didn't make sense to me. I've never heard of that side effect. More clarity would be helpful

NelsonG13 (author)Kinnishian2016-04-14

Castile soap is made with olive oil--at least Bronners soap is.

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