Remineralizing Clay Toothpaste
Bet you never knew making your own toothpaste was so simple! Plus you’ll have that “just from the dentist” feel every time you use it.
One of the recipes I get asked about the most is, surprisingly, the bentonite clay toothpaste recipe we use. Which, to dispel any myths right off the bat, is not my own, but a recipe I stumbled upon almost 3 years ago from Keeper of the Home. We have since found our preferred ratios, and I’ve made my own substitutions here and there. But, for your reference (and step by step instructions) you can view Stephanie Langford’s recipe here.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a tube of toothpaste? Did you ever consider your toothpaste could have things like Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Flouride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and even carageenan? All of these (and more) lurking in something you use twice daily, and subsequently absorb over 700 times in a year! #notgood
Ingredients Found in Mainstream Toothpaste
Let’s look at the commonly found ingredients in mainstream toothpastes together and I’ll share why you definitely want to avoid them like the plague.
- Glycerin- Adds a “protective” layer to your teeth while brushing. In actuality, this coating prevents your teeth from being able to remineralize (something most dentists tell you isn’t possible) and can actually cause teeth to weaken over time.
- Propylene Glycol- An ingredient found in anti-freeze! Probably not something I want to brush my teeth with! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says the following, “Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin conditioning agent. It has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis as well as contact urticaria in humans; these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2%.” Basically, a whole-lotta bad, from something that’s supposed to be good. EWG also states there is moderate concern for organ system toxicity. Umm, no thanks!
- Fluoride- Facts are facts regardless of opinion, and the facts are that fluoride has been found to damage fertility, destroy bones and cause early puberty in children. Also, water fluoridation has been banned in countries around the world, some of which are China, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Hungary and Japan. Dentists in regions where water is not fluoridated will often prescribe fluoride tablets to give to your kids until age 18! So is it a toxin or a helpful supplement? I’ll leave you to form your own opinions.
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)- SLS is made from coconuts (harmless, right?), but during the manufacturing process, or ethoxylation, SLS is contaminated with a carcinogenic by-product called 1,4 dioxane. (carcinogenic=causes cancer=bad news bears)
- Triclosan- The same ingredient we try to avoid in antibacterial hand soaps and sanitizers. This is a chemical known to instigate allergies and weaken our immune system.
- Blue #1 and Red #40- Both of these dyes require a warning label in other countries, and both are made from chemicals derived from petroleum. These dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children as well as asthma, skin rashes and migraines.
- Carageenan- A known carcinogen that is used as a stabilizer (and can be found hiding in a slew of household foods and products). Prevention.com says this about carageenan: “Although derived from a natural source, it appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella. The result: ‘It predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding.’ explains veteran researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago.”
How’s that toothpaste tasting now?
I don’t write all this to terrify you, but simply to bring awareness to the ingredients in our everyday “healthy” products. Check out Jason’s reaction to mainstream toothpaste after having used this clay recipe for over two years.
Cleaning your teeth is good, right? Absolutely! We don’t want cavities and we don’t want our kids getting cavities (which, in large part, is supported by diet as much as tooth brushing). We also don’t want to expose ourselves to toxins where we can avoid it. I made the addition of Calcium Carbonate, a basic calcium supplement that contains one of the highest concentrations of elemental calcium. This is great for supporting healthy teeth and aiding in the remineralization process if you’re trying to reverse cavities*. So, grab the following ingredients, your trusty stand mixer, and 20 minutes of your time and let’s whip up some toothpaste!
(The following recipe is said to be similar to Earthpaste, so if you’re not gung-ho on making your own toothpaste, this should be a similar alternative.)
Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: Approximately 2 cups toothpaste
- Serving Size: A pea size amount
- Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer and a non-reactive metal bowl (clay reacts with metal and all tools and utencils should be non-reactive metal, such as stainless steel, or glass or ceramic) mix together clay, optional calcium carbonate and salt.
- With your mixer on the lowest speed possible, add in the boiling water. Remember, it’s boiling, so please be careful to avoid burns and splatters! Once the clay and water are combined, you’ll want to check the consistency. You’re looking for a spreadable “toothpaste” consistency. I err on the side of “soupier” because the clay tends to continue to soak up water as it cools.
- Add in stevia and essential oils (start with the lowest amounts and do a little taste test). This is your toothpaste, so make it taste good to you! If you’re transitioning from mainstream toothpastes and have little ones in your home, you’ll probably want to make the toothpaste extra minty and sweet so the transition is smoother.
- Scoop into desired container (try to avoid metal or plastics) and store. We put our (the “grown-ups”) toothpaste in a glass jar with screw top plastic lid (remember, metal reacts with clay). For our kiddos, since glass is not conducive to children (I have the cracked sink to prove it) we use this GoToob and it works great (best with extra-soft toothpaste, so add a little extra water). This also makes a perfect travel toothpaste!
Keep in mind this clay will dry out if the lid is left off/open. If this happens, you should be able to mix in a little extra boiling water. Also, this clay is grey/brown in color, so if left to dry in your sink it will take a little scrubbing to get it clean (however it does not stain). If you swish after brushing it rinses right off (and actually helps keep your sink clean and disinfected…bonus!).
* This toothpaste alone will not remineralize cavities. If you’re trying to assist the reversal of cavities or cavitations, you will need to know how to change both your diet and oral health. For more on healing cavities and improving oral hygiene, check out this post on oil pulling, this post on naturally whitening teeth or the book Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition by Ramiel Nagel.
** If you’re concerned over the rumors that there are dangerous levels of lead found within Earthpaste and Bentonite Clay, read what my friend Meagan wrote, over at Growing Up Herbal.
- Our family chooses to use Plant Therapy for their high quality, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils offered at affordable prices. For $10 off your first order, click through any of our Plant Therapy links and use promo code: signup10. This is an affiliate link, which means you get to enjoy the same great low prices for quality oils, and we’ll get a little kick-back to help keep food in the fridge…thanks! As always, Plant Therapy offers free-shipping and returns on all orders (no minimum purchase required).