Making toothpaste was one of my first zero waste DIYs. As it turns out, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to keep your teeth clean – you can even use plain old baking soda and get by. Before my fiancé and I started going zero waste, we used Kiss My Face toothpaste sold in a squeezable plastic tube. I like the brand because they use natural, cruelty-free ingredients that won’t clog my pores (important for an acne-prone gal). But sadly, they only sell plastic toothpaste tubes that go straight to landfill after use.
Most DIY toothpaste recipes fall into two categories: tooth powder or a coconut-oil based paste. Coconut oil is out for me, because as I said, I’m acne-prone and coconut oil is comodogenic, meaning it tends to block pores. I have some friends who can slather coconut oil all over their body with no breakouts. It just doesn’t work for my skin.
The first tooth powder recipe I tried called for baking soda and bentonite clay (both bought in bulk at Rainbow Foods in SF) and stevia extract and peppermint oil (packaged in recyclable glass bottles). It was a real disaster. The taste was ok, but the texture was super clumpy and unappetizing. My fiancé was appalled.
For batch #2, I decided to go the paste route. Instead of using coconut oil, I used aloe vera gel which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits (more on that below). The result was excellent: great taste, great consistency, clean teeth, fiancé approved.
A little bit more on the active ingredients in my paste:
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera kills the bacteria that causes cavities and gingivitis and is anti-inflammatory. It’s also nonabrasive, which is ideal for those with sensitive teeth (like me!).
Baking Soda: Baking soda is alkaline and neutralizes acids in our mouth and helps prevent tooth decay. It is mildly abrasive (less so than many abrasive ingredients found in store bought paste) and helps prevent stains.
Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay absorbs and removes toxins from your mouth, and leaves behind minerals that are nourishing for your teeth.
And with that, here’s my recipe:
ZERO WASTE, COCONUT-OIL FREE TOOTHPASTE
4 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp aloe vera gel
1 tbsp bentonite clay
1 tsp water
1 tsp peppermint oil
10 drops stevia extract
1. Mix dry ingredients together: baking soda and bentonite clay
2. Mix wet ingredients together: Aloe, water, peppermint oil and stevia
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk with a fork
4. Store in a sealable glass jar
* Important: do not store in metal container, it deactivates the bentonite clay