Finding a good toothpaste can be difficult. Detergents, artificial colors, and chemical sweeteners have been added to most of the commercial toothpaste on store shelves.

Allow me to make this simple for you – some of those chemicals and additives that reside in store-bought toothpaste can be toxic to your health. (Check out our recent article on toxins in your toothpaste to learn more.) If you’re not already making a simple homemade toothpaste, we encourage you to consider it as a way to avoid harmful chemicals in your personal care routine.

Whitening Tooth Powder


Powder on your teeth?

We are currently learning more about the subject of our oral health, and have found Ramiel Nagel’s book, Cure Tooth Decay, to be an invaluable resource.

In his book, Nagel recommends a simple tooth powder to use for brushing, consisting of only baking soda, sea salt, and a bit of essential oil. I had seen tooth powders in the past as I perused shelves of my local health food stores, always wondering, “Why in the world would you brush with a powder???” I saw several brands of natural tooth powders and noticed a range of natural products on the ingredient lists — clay, activated charcoal, several different types of ground herbs, and essential oils.

As I researched other herbs that may be beneficial for teeth, I found that sage has been used for years by other cultures as a natural tooth whitener. I gave it a shot in my own tooth powder concoction, and once we began using the homemade powder for brushing we realize the draw of brushing with a mineral-rich powder.

Our tooth powder contains only a few ingredients that can all contribute to a healthy smile and promote fresh breath.

Before you decide tooth powder is too strange for you, allow me to show you how easy it can be to mix up your own. If you’re still not convinced after seeing the recipe, keep reading to learn more about the awesome benefits of each ingredient! 

Whitening Tooth Powder 1

Peppermint Sage Tooth Powder

(Makes ½ cup of tooth powder)

Ingredients:

Directions:


Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a non-metal spoon. Drip essential oils into the mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to a small container or jar with a tight fitting lid. Particles of the tooth powder are fine enough that a small squirt bottle like this can also be used (as long as you don’t get the squirt-tip wet, which will cause clogging). Note: Bentonite clay loses its beneficial properties when it comes into contact with metal, so it’s best to use plastic or glass when mixing and storing your tooth powder.

To brush with tooth powder, simply dip your toothbrush into the powder, or carefully squirt some onto a wet toothbrush. Brush teeth as usual. Follow with homemade mouthwash if desired.

Note: If using the dip method to get powder onto your toothbrush, you may want to consider giving each family member his/her own container.

Whitening Tooth Powder 2

Benefits of ingredients

Bentonite clay – This natural clay has the unique ability to bind to toxins in the body. It is especially useful in eliminating toxins from heavy metals in your mouth, like mercury from mercury fillings. This clay will never bind to any of the beneficial elements in your body. Bentonite clay is also rich in minerals that can nourish teeth and gums.

Baking soda – This ingredient has been a trusted tooth cleanser long before it was added to the tubes you’ll see on store shelves. Baking soda gently polishes teeth and naturally whitens your smile. This chart, which shows the Abrasiveness Index of some common brands of toothpaste, lists baking soda as less abrasive than most commercial toothpastes.

Sage – Sage has been recognized by many cultures for its natural tooth-whitening abilities. Known for its astringent properties, sage is perfect for oral health and whitening discolored teeth.

Xylitol – This ingredient is optional, but can be added to sweeten the finished product. Research has shown that xylitol has many benefits for oral health. A pinch of stevia powder can be used as a substitute for the xylitol in this recipe if you wish.

Sea salt – Pure sea salt is full of tooth-nourishing minerals, and is especially helpful in healing irritated gums.

Peppermint essential oil – This essential oil has antibacterial, antiseptic, and pain-relieving properties. Peppermint is said to be beneficial for mouth and gum infections (although you should consult your dentist if you suspect a serious condition). In addition, it adds a cool, minty fresh flavor to this tooth powder. If you don’t like peppermint you can substitute spearmint to create a different minty twist. (find 100% pure essential oils here)

Last words

I should also add that, this is now our favorite homemade tooth cleanser! It’s the least time-consuming to mix up, has the longest shelf life (since there is no water added), has a nice flavor, and produces dazzling results.

As always, we encourage you to play around with the proportions to create a tooth powder that is perfect for you.

Share your favorite natural tooth cleanser with the community!


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Comments

  1. Lisa says

    I like this combination and it is similar to what I currently use. I am using coconout oil, baking soda and bentonite clay at the moment becasue I prefer a paste to a powder. Do you think I could add these ingredients to a base of coconut oil to make it a paste? Thanks.

    • says

      This is a lovely recipe and similar to one I developed for myself.

      Lisa, I think you could add the ingredients of this tooth powder recipe to coconut oil without a problem. If you don’t like the texture or taste, you can play around with proportions and ingredients.

      When I use my tooth powder I wet my tooth brush and tip a bit of powder into my palm, then dip my toothbrush into that.

      Additionally, I have started using food-grade hydrogen peroxide diluted in water to rinse. It reacts with the baking soda to foam a bit and makes my mouth feel incredibly clean. I am hoping it will hasten the whitening process a bit.

    • Rachel-Hannah says

      I have thought of doing this too, but decided to use Distilled water for the paste instead. I didn’t want to hinder the detox effects, by coating the clay with oil, (or in our case powdered charcoal), Instead we are making 2 different pastes; one simply Baking Soda and Coconut oil for morning brushing, and Baking Soda w/Charcoal powder for evening. BTW, Charcoal removes stains on teeth.

  2. Jaime Roden says

    I like the toothpaste that I make for our family and is almost the same. I don’t always measure just make enough to go in a mason jar: baking soda, coconut oil 1 tbls, this is good for your teeth too, for the whitening put in peroxide, and peppermint extract and enough water to make a paste filtered water and I use a few drops of stevia for sweetening. Our teeth are actually whiter and we haven’t had to go to a dentist every 6 mths because our teeth are so clean.
    sometimes it would be nice to have pwd tooth paste too.

  3. Gail says

    When I went to purchase the clay it says for external use only. Do you have more information on this item to knw this is safe that yu can share?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, I called the company to ask why the warning was only listed for the bentonite clay and not the others. They said they have to put that warning on items (and they were actually surprised it didn’t show up for the other varieties of clay) because they can’t assume everyone knows how to use their products. However, the gentleman I spoke with said it is absolutely fine for a tooth powder. In short, it’s a liability thing.

  4. Mel Brueggeman says

    I went to the site that was recommended for the clay and for the Bentonite clay, it says for external use only. I’m sure it must be okay because it looks like alot of people use it for toothpaste.

  5. Cheryl says

    Just a word on the hydrogen peroxide that I see several people using. I saw a dentist at the University of Nebraska School of Dentistry after I had been using hydrogen peroxide for about a month as a mouth rinse. They were adamant that I stop using the peroxide immediately as it can cause burns to the gums and tongue and it is an acid. They said the worst thing you can do is to leave an acid in your mouth overnight–even if it is the lower percentage peroxide. Only use the peroxide for short periods of time for the express purpose of lightening your teeth or for to heal up a wound in the mouth.

    • Jen says

      That is totally false. My boyfriends grandmother has used hydrogen peroxide a a mouth rinse for years and has amazing teeth for an 80 year old and her son and grandson are dentists and say it’s fine to use just don’t swallow it. So you can believe who you want but I have not seen any research saying it’s bad for your mouth or teeth.

  6. says

    I’m glad y’all are addressing all toxins even in toothpaste, like Flouride, and offering solutions. Flouride in most toothpastes is a neurotoxin that damages and chemically poisons the cells and has been linked to brain tumors, cancers, dimentia, and Alzheimer’s disease……
    We use USANA health sciences toothpaste which is natural. There products are rated highest quality in the nutrition industry. The founder is the only Albert Einstien Award winning scientist in America that founded USANA. He is also a well known published author of books such as, the healthy home, a mouth full of poison, and invisible miracles. USANA has been leading the healthcare industry now for over 20+ years all naturally. They have such partnerships with the Linus Pauling Institute, TOSH The Orthopedic Specialty Hospitals, and most recently Dr.Oz’s Health Corps….I’d only trust my health to the best, USANA health sciences.
    I love learning from y’all site as well doing things naturally with least amount of chemicals and toxins. Just wanted to share the information that maybe able to help others too. You may contact us for more information any time. Jasonandterri.usana.com

  7. Joyce says

    I am not sure if the Bentonite clay is actually absorbing toxins in your mouth, because it is not hydrated. We use Living Clay, which is pharmaceutical grade, and every “recipe” for it uses the clay hydrated. I have made tooth powders with it before because it cleans my teeth well, but in general it has to be totally hydrated to actually absorb toxins from where ever you are using it. It will wet in your mouth, but it takes at least a half hour to hydrate it for general usage.

  8. marla says

    What is the shelf life of this mixture when stored wet? I use the salt, baking soda, peppermint oil mixture, except for in a wet form. I would like to try this but I need to know how small the batch needs to be in order to use it wet. I tried using coconut oil in my recipe, but my sinks were so greasy from it and I do not want to have to scrub them every single day.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I know, I hate how greasy things get with coconut oil toothpastes. :) I can’t quote you an exact shelf life for this mixture when stored wet. My best advice would be to only make what you can use within a week or two.

  9. Joyce says

    There is a product called Earth Paste that I have bought and a tube lasts for quite a while and has never gone bad: http://www.earthpaste.com/about-earthpaste/

    It is basically rehydrated clay, finely ground sea salt and essential oils. (I would not add any herbs to it as those would probably go bad.)

    You could make it yourself, but I would put it in a squeeze bottle, like a ketchup bottle found in restaurants (not sure how food safe it is, this is just an example) rather than dipping my toothbrush directly into it. However, it is not very whitening so I put some on my toothbrush and then dip it in baking soda.

    Also, once rehydrated you cannot store it in a container with a metal lid; the clay will react with the metal, “pull out the metal” and then will be “spent” and cannot pull any toxins out of your mouth, etc.

  10. Chris says

    Please don’t use peroxide as a wound healer in your mouth. It actually slows healing. Better to use a saline solution, which is the same as your body uses and which makes healing much faster. (Saline is just salt and warm water. You can buy packets which contain a perfect combo to add to warm water…or, just some sea salt in warm water is fine to gargle.)

  11. Vanessa Brundidge says

    May I ask why you use Xylitol instead of Stevia?

    Also, do you sell this so I don’t have to make it myself? ;)

    • Rachel-Hannah says

      I have seen other recipes, on youtube.com, that use xylitol, and it was mentioned in several of those that xylitol as beneficial properties specific to oral health as well as the sweetening properties. Enjoy the research.

  12. Vanessa Brundidge says

    I have a question about the Sage.
    Does it need to be that specific kind of Sage? I know there are many different types of Sage…

  13. says

    Hi, I just wanted to say that breastfeeding mothers should not use mint or sage, as both of these can stop or slow milk production! This is not mentioned here yet and I think it is very important to point out, as plenty of nursing mothers may not know this about these ingredients. I would hate for someone to lose their milk prematurely or have undersupply issues and a hungry baby! So I cannot use this recipe exactly now, but your post is helpful nonetheless, thanks! I enjoy your site!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Millie, thanks for commenting! It’s my understanding that sage can be harmful if used in concentrated amounts during pregnancy. There is only one tablespoon in 1/2 cup of tooth powder here, of which you will only use a pinch each time you brush. However, I’m definitely not a medical professional, so pregnant or nursing mothers should always check with their health care providers before using herbal products. Great thinking on adding this comment to the discussion, and thanks for reading!

    • Raven says

      That’s if you consume it, but in trace amounts in a tooth powder, which shouldn’t be swallowed in the first place? I’m nearly 8 months pregnant, and wouldn’t see the harm. There’s likely more to be worried about in most commercial toothpastes than in this.

  14. Meg says

    I need to read on what the clay and pure baking soda does to enamel but sounds like a great idea! Anybody have any news on if these wear enamel down or no?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      According to the American Pregnancy Association, sage could be harmful during pregnancy when consumed in concentrated amounts. This tooth powder does not contain sage in concentrated amounts. However, we recommend checking with your health care provider before using any herbs during pregnancy.

  15. Raven says

    I’d add black walnut husk powder. They’re found in gel caps from nutritional stores, and even now, I open a capsule, pour it into a little dish, and dip my brush in it. It turns my mouth brown for a minute, but then it rinses away, and my teeth feel fantastically clean. Considering I’m not a big fan of mint as a flavoring (except in tea and savory dishes), I think cinnamon might be a nice switch for the taste.

    Very nifty DIY, thanks! ^_^

  16. Sari says

    I just made a whole batch of this, used and enjoyed it (my teeth feel so clean!), BUT, without thinking! I’m 6 months preggie and know that most essential oils are not safe during pregnancy. Sure enough, a quick google search showed that peppermint oil can cause contractions and is not safe to use during pregnancy. :(
    I guess my hubby will have to enjoy it all alone…
    So ladies, if you’re pregnant, leave out the essential oils unless you’re sure the one you want to use is safe.

    • says

      Glad you like it Sari and glad you’re doing your research, be sure to use whatever you’re comfortable with (and this goes for everyone). Also, always check with your health professional. My personal position, after researching the topic, is that it’s not an issue since it is such a small amount of essential oil and you’re not consuming it, just brushing with it and spitting it out.

  17. Bridget says

    Just an FYI, bentonite clay looses effectiveness when it touches metal so use plastic spoons and a plastic lid. Also I buy the clay at a healthfood store and they are very good about only using wooden or plastic to measure it so make sure if you buy it from the bulk area thatvthey know that too!

  18. Thomas says

    My dentist has me rince with peroxide, if you will read most bottles even have it on the label. It’s called briding the teeth. Bentonite clay is safe, I even make my own capsules and take it internally for toxins. Bridget is very correct about not letting the clay touch any metal. Metal will adhere to the clay. That is how it grabs the toxins and metals in your body. Activated charcoal will help whiten teeth. The black will rinse right off. I use it in most of my toothpaste mixes. I want to try this powder though. Thanks Betsy and Mat. I will make some this week.

  19. Vanessa Brundidge says

    The use of essential oils while breast feeding and pregnant is perfectly safe in this case, because you would not be ingesting them. I can’t imagine using such a small amount in the mouth would do any harm, but that is just my personal opinion!

  20. Vanessa Brundidge says

    I have actually taken peppermint essential oil (in small, concentrated amounts) internally and it did not decrease my milk supply. So even if you accidentally swallowed a small amount, I wouldn’t be concerned. Just thought I would share that!

  21. Vanessa Brundidge says

    Thanks for responding, Betsy and Matt. I am new to your blog and wasn’t sure if you sold any products. I guess that’s why it’s called Do It Yourself! ;) I absolutely LOVE Dr Christopher’s Herbal Tooth and Gum Powder (that’s what I’ve been using for nearly a year instead of toothpaste), I just hope to someday make something like this myself. Since I started using herbal gum powders (instead of paste), my teeth are so much healthier and cleaner. I actually went to the dentist for the first time in five years, and guess what? They could not find ANY plaque!! My teeth were so clean!

    I am wondering if the local sagebrush plants could be used – I could harvest some leaves, dry them out and make the powder myself. I’ll see if it is much different from the white sage which is used to make the powder sold by Mountain Rose Herbs (great company, by the way)! I just wasn’t sure if any sage would work or if it needs to be a certain type, I suppose I could do some of my own research on that and let you know what I discover.

  22. Vanessa Brundidge says

    BTW, Cure Tooth Decay is a great book, I also highly recommend it. His recommendations have definitely worked for me!!

  23. Carly Seiden-Brown says

    Hi there, looking forward to trying this powder, very excited! I have been very disappointed with commercial tube toothpastes lately. This may be a silly question, but I’m assuming that you wet the toothbrush, then dip it in the powder? If I’m not using the little squirt bottle? It seems like to do it reverse, dip then wet, will rinse the powder away, but wet then dip seems like it might start clumping in the powder. Thanks!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Not a silly question at all! It actually took me a long time to figure out that I didn’t need to wet my toothbrush at all. I just dip it in dry, then brush dry, and let my saliva do the work to wet everything. If you don’t like this method, you can wet your toothbrush and sprinkle a little on, or dip it in wet (but yes, it will start to get clumpy in your container).

  24. says

    Love the recipe. Ours is similar but with a coconut oil base and no clay. I haven’t purchased clay yet but want to soon. Would it mix into a coconut oil base well? My two year old only accepts no sweeteners because of the coconut oil.

  25. jen says

    hi there, i was wondering how you get the herbs to become fine powder. is there a special tool you use? bcause if not too fine a powder they stick to the teeth and in between causing problems…

      • jen says

        thanks for the reply! can you do cinnamon sticks too? and sage leaves with the same grinder? cinnamon seems too barky and sage has too much fluff… could this grinder handle both…? sorry to be asking so many questions but i want to be sure i get a machine that gets the job done… :)

        • Betsy Jabs says

          Haven’t tried cinnamon sticks, but sage is definitely doable in this grinder. With the cinnamon sticks you may just want to break it into more manageable chunks before adding to the grinder.

  26. Thomas says

    Well, I made it and it is now one of my favorites. I had to use a mortar to grind the sage though as I order my herbs by the pound and it was not the powdered type.

    Nicolew…virgin coconut oil blends fine with the clay. I do this with two of my other toothpaste mixes.

    Thank you Betsy and Mat for this blend. I ordered you book also but I’m not sure if it’s just household cleaners and not any of your other great mixes.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great, we’re glad you like this mixture! The only book we currently have out is just household cleaners, but our book about personal care products is in the works! :)

  27. cindy says

    Wow, lots of good comments on this! And I’m excited to start making my own toothpaste, adding it to my DIY personal care recipes. I didn’t note anyone mentioning where to get the plastic squirt bottles…. I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday and saw some in the cake decorating aisle that would probably be perfect. They’re smaller than condiment bottles, and if they have lids (don’t recall but I’m sure some do), they’d make good travel bottles for this and other personal care items.

  28. Manda says

    I’m trying to get my husband to be open to the natural do-it-yourself ideas I get from your website, one way I convince him is by showing him how we could save money with the do-it-yourself projects. So my question is, in the long run, would this method of making your own toothpaste be a moneysaver? Thanks!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      That’s a hard question to answer, because it all depends on prices you’re able to find on ingredients, and how quickly you use this up vs. store-bought toothpaste. This small 1/2 cup batch lasts me a few months, and I already buy most of these ingredients in large quantities (especially the baking soda, xylitol, sea salt, essential oil), so it’s definitely more cost effective than buying a $5 tube of natural toothpaste that is gone in a few weeks. If you want a way to REALLY convince him easily, make our ultra-simple DIY toothpaste recipe you can find here: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-toothpaste-recipe-easy-and-frugal/

      • Manda says

        great, thank you! I’m excited to try this, my goal has been to do one do-it-yourself project about once every week or so. Last week, I made the do-it-yourself dryer balls, and they turned out beautiful, this week . . . toothpaste : )

  29. Lynne says

    I went to my local health food store yesterday to purchase everything on the ingredient list – it was getting a little expensive – i decided not to purchase the xylitol. they also did not carry the clay – only in a liquid form – and suggested that i could easily use white clay (by a. vogel) as it would be the same. I did buy the white clay and just wanted to ask if this would have the same benefits as the bentonite clay. Its unfortunate that my local health food store does not sell bulk product so you could just purchase the quantity that you needed. thanks for all your great information posts – love your site and facebook page :)

    • Betsy Jabs says

      White cosmetic clay has natural absorbency properties as well, but is used mostly in cosmetic applications. The research I have read about clay pulling toxins from the body have specifically named bentonite clay. However, I would recommend doing a little digging around on the Internet to learn more. Thanks for reading – glad you’re enjoying our posts!