DIY Toothpaste & Mouthwash
Want to skip the chemicals in commercial toothpaste and mouthwash? I've got a solution. Two solutions, in fact: a DIY recipe, or, an awesome, wonder-working Thieves toothpaste and mouthwash you can purchase with just one click (if DIYing is "just not your gift" ;).
One of my earliest steps on this all-natural journey was my decision 3 years ago to make my own toothpaste and mouthwash. I soon after found a recipe for crafting my own deodorant - and Essentially Lemmon-Made was born!
This DIY toothpaste is just as good, (if not better) than the stuff off the shelf for more than one reason.
Everyone who uses this stuff says it feels like they've just had their teeth cleaned! For extra alkalizing support, the mouthwash includes trace minerals and calcium carbonate or their mineralizing properties. And - essential oils, of course, lend a hand in the yuck-fighting with their potent, plant-based powers.
Tea Tree essential oil (which is FREE this month at 190PV if you're on Essential Rewards!) has been used in Australia for millennia for oral health, wound care, and many other purposes. It is powerfully cleansing, and is so much better than the harsh, mouth-drying alcohol in regular mouthwash.
And, of course, classic Peppermint essential oil has been central in toothpastes, gum, mouthwash, and all things to un-stink our breath for as long as modern man can remember. It comes in the Premium Starter Kit too, because no household is complete without a bottle of peppermint! Click here for a blog post on tons more uses besides oral care!
But What's Wrong with Colgate?
One reason I stopped buying conventional toothpaste is that most store-bought options contain fluoride. Read a post on why that is significant here.
The other reason was ...those tubes of chemicals just weren't doing much for my teeth at all! Here was my experience with store-bought toothpastes:
- They didn't adequately fight the bad bacteria
- They killed off the good oral bacteria needed for balance
- They did nothing to stabilize my enamel
- They did not alkalize my saliva's pH to prevent acidic, enamel-eroding conditions
- They didn't adequately remove the "scum" that lead to plaque buildup (requiring more frequent, pricy trips to the dentist for cleanings just to keep up)
- They didn't help my tooth sensitivity (not even Sensodyne Pronamel!)
- My gums bled regularly
In other words...just like MOST conventional personal care products, or anything else you buy at a drug store... they were one-dimensional.
They only accomplished one purpose (and actually, did a very poor job, at that!!). They didn't get to the multi-faceted "roots" of the issue. They weren't truly preventative. AND - they made me dependent on someone else, to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars, to simply bandaid (and in some cases, compound) the issues at hand.
My Oral Health Journey: Going Beyond the "Band-Aid" Routine
My dentist never taught me that oral care starts from the inside - with nutrition.
He never suggested to change my diet (beyond the painfully obvious advice, "Eat less sugar and don't drink juice without rinsing with water"). He never mentioned that eating "normal" American food like wheat products will strip my body of what it needs, and severely alter my saliva's pH, literally resulting in the literal acid-washing of my enamel day and night.
He never mentioned that an adequate balance of Vitamin K2 (an essential nutrient virtually missing from the modern American diet), an abundance of healthy fats, and avoiding gluten and processed starches are key for someone with chronic oral issues. He never suggested that "going paleo" and focusing on pastured meat, alkalizing vegetables, and grass-fed dairy would give my body the building blocks it needed for rebuilding damaged teeth.
He never even recommended changing my toothpaste to something more natural.
Nope. He just said, "Keep brushing with Colgate with fluoride and flossing. And keep coming back to fill the 6 cavities that have formed since your last visit. Oh yeah - and that back molar has rotted beyond repair - so let's get that root canal on the books."
This is insane...
Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: "...doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
My definition of insanity: waiting til I'm over $5,000 in the hole, with 14 fillings and 2 dead/missing teeth to decide to do something different.
The dentist eventually suggested that there was a chance that my oral bacteria balance and pH was simply off, so I was "doomed to frequent oral problems," despite my diligence in brushing and staying away from enamel-eroding sugar and carbs.
I told him I wanted a better answer than that. I said, "There must be SOMETHING I can do to actually SUPPORT my mouth naturally, instead of just doing all this chemical-based damage control."
The Turning Point
Despite my frustration, there was a silver lining with that dentist.
Ironically, he introduced me (somewhat reluctantly), to the concept of using essential oils for oral health. And for that - I am still so grateful. Probably need to send him a thank-you note.
I was shocked when he finally recommended Young Living's Thieves mouthwash (many visits and thousands of dollars into our relationship). He made it clear "I'm not all into that essential oil stuff," but admitted he'd seen it make a huge difference in several of his patients' oral health care.
After looking into the essential oils contained in the Thieves mouthwash and their effects, I purchased it and made a decision:
I would depend on conventional, chemical-based personal oral care no more.
$5k, 14 fillings, 2 lost adult teeth. Why not try what humanity had used for decades to care for their mouths? I had nothing more to lose.
Let the Wellness Journey Begin!
Once I ran out of that bottle of Young Living mouthwash (since I was not yet a Young Living wholesale member, and didn't want to pay the retail price) I resorted to finding some all-natural recipes for mouthwash and toothpaste.
I dug through the volumes of natural oral care ideas on Pinterest and found a few toothpaste recipes that claimed to be "remineralizing." I loved the idea of presenting our teeth with the minerals they need to help rebuild, "non-toxically", and at the very least create an alkaline environment in our mouths instead of the acidic one that the American diet and regular oral care creates.
For many other reasons besides oral health, I started cutting out nearly all wheat products. I started taking supplements for bone and tooth health, and never bought another toothpaste or mouthwash from the store again.
And since then, I've had no new issues crop up at my dental appointments. They always tell me my teeth are so clean whenever I go in for cleanings, and to keep doing whatever I'm doing!
Not up for DIY just yet?
(Confession: I do like to hit the easy button sometimes, and alternate with ready-made toothpaste from Young Living.
Young Living's toothpaste options have calcium carbonate and baking soda like mine, but are infused with the incredible power of their Thieves essential oil blend (click here for a blog post on Thieves). Clove has been used for millennia for oral care, and for good reason. Pair it with the Thieves mouthwash too, and those cinnamon-spicy essential oils will linger in your mouth working their wonders for hours!)
DIY Peppermint+Spearmint Toothpaste
I adapted this recipe from Wellness Mama - one of my favorite blogs ever! She was a major catalyst in my journey to holistic wellness. Visit her site for more information on this toothpaste, on how to support your mouth and teeth nutritionally from the inside out.
I got all the ingredients from Natural Grocers (except Costco baking soda, and the YL essential oils, of course!). I find Natural Grocer's prices and selection to be much better than Whole Foods.
Here are the benefits:
- Xylitol: a recent favorite in the dental and all-natural worlds. It is a sugar alcohol, extracted from sugar, and is used as a safe substitute for sugar. It does NOT cause tooth decay like sugar does, and it actually fights oral bacteria that cause plaque! It also provides amazing scrubbing power for buildup.
- Calcium Carbonate: Our teeth are made of calcium phosphate, and calcium carbonate is one of the closest substances to that mineral. It also helps with whitening.
- Coconut Oil: the mildly antimicrobial base for the toothpaste. Will liquefy at temps above 75 degrees, so try to keep the bathroom cool in the summer, or store your toothpaste under the sink.
- Baking Soda: used for generations in oral care for its scrubbing power and whitening effects.
- Young Living Peppermint & Spearmint oils: I only use therapeutic grade, guaranteed-beyond-organic oils because I know their potency will be as high as possible, with no pesticides or herbicides are concentrated in the oil. Remember- our oral membranes absorb whatever we put in our mouths!
DIY Toothpaste Ingredients
- 5 Tablespoons Calcium Carbonate
- 2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
- 3 Tablespoons Xylitol Powder (blended on low for 5 seconds in the blender so it's a finer consistency)
- 4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (use refined if you don't like that coconutty flavor)
- 10 drops YL Peppermint Oil
- 5 drops YL Spearmint Oil
In a bowl, mix the powdered ingredients first. Then, mash in a tablespoon of coconut oil at a time until incorporated. Add essential oils and mix well. Spoon into a 4 oz or larger glass jar, and use a small spoon or popsicle stick to scoop out the paste.
(Note: this toothpaste will not make you "foam at the mouth." And that's a good thing. That foaming agent, sodium lauryl sulfate, not only is linked to annoying canker sores and dry mouth, but it's also highly toxic.
Also - the coconut oil and xylitol sort of neutralize the mintyness of the oils...so for lasting breath-freshening, make sure to follow up with the mouthwash!)
DIY Mint & Tea Tree Mouthwash
This is deliciously minty and sweet (but with no sugar, of course!), and has remineralizing/akalizing calcium carbonate and trace minerals to support your enamel. I've adapted it from the blog Living the Nourished Life.
Tea Tree essential oil (free in April with a 190PV purchase if you're on ER!) Is incredibly cleansing for any sort of preventative or emergency needs, whether it be in your mouth or on the skin. And a little goes a long way!
Again - the trace minerals, calcium carbonate, and stevia I get from Natural Grocers down the street.
- 1 1/2 tsp Calcium Carbonate
- 10 drops Liquid Stevia
- 10 drops Liquid Trace Minerals (I add these to our drinking water daily because we SO need adequate minerals to function properly!)
- 10 drops YL Peppermint Oil
- 5 drops YL Spearmint Oil
- 3 drops YL Tea Tree Oil
- 16 oz. Distilled Water (tap water has fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, and other gunk in it that may cause things to grow or congeal in your mouthwash if you leave it for long - so just use distilled for all your DIY things!)
Mix the calcium, stevia, and the oils to a 16 oz. glass bottle. Add the distilled water and shake well.