package free: toothpaste

toothpaste vegan zero waste copper tongue scraper

One of the easiest ways to lead a more sustainable life is to learn how to make your own products instead of relying on someone else to do it for you.  Not only is this cheaper and more environmentally friendly, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction knowing, “I created this for myself and I know exactly what goes into it”.  Plus, you can tweak it anytime you like to make it exactly how you want it.

I think there’s this misconception people have about zero waste that it takes forever to make stuff; like you’re going to be slaving away all day crafting all these products from scratch.  But really, for me, its much more convenient to whip this toothpaste up in 5 minutes in the comfort of my home than to buy it at the store.  Pull open the drawer, realize toothpaste is low or we’re out, have to make a trip to the store, buy the toothpaste, and come back home.

Coconut oil toothpaste

I’ve been making and using this recipe for about 5 years now, actually before I went zero waste.  I had researched what kinds of chemicals were in toothpaste because I was worried about my kids swallowing small bits of it.  What I found DISGUSTED me- Many of the top brands, like Crest, Sensodyne, Biotine, Colgate test on animals and use all kinds of chemicals in them- to make them foam, for the colors, to make them smell and taste good= not to mention the microbeads aka tiny pieces of PLASTIC in some varieties.  Our mouth is highly absorbent so any chemicals in oral care products can easily go right into our blood stream.  Also, pretty much all commercial toothpastes contain glycerin, which coats the teeth and prevents natural remineralization from your own saliva.

I asked our family dentist for his insight on the formula before I started using it and he said it was great and actually gentler than many commercial toothpastes.  Did you know “whitening” toothpastes generally have quite a strong abrasive in them to polish aways stains (and enamel)?  After years of use, our teeth are always really clean and when I go in for cleanings, the hygienist tells me I have essentially no plaque.  Obviously I have good oral hygiene too- I floss daily, scrape my tongue twice a day, brush twice a day and use a gun stimulator to massage my gums.  I also swish with water after eating anything.  And I use a water pik- it’s really old from pre zero waste but I love how clean it makes my gums.  I have al my wisdom teeth so it can be hard to reach all the way in the back with floss, so I go over it with the water pik.

If you don’t want to/can’t make toothpaste yourself (or your partners not having it), there are some better options out there: fat and the moon makes a whitening tooth powder with activated charcoal in a glass container, Weleda toothpaste comes in a recyclable metal tube (I used their salt toothpaste for years and loved it), David’s toothpaste also comes in a metal tube, and Uncle Harry’s comes in a glass jar.  The most sustainable option is to just make it yourself- and you probably have most of the ingredients laying around.

vegan zero waste coconut oil whitening toothpaste


*edited 6/27/2018 to add: I’ve been leaving out the clay and stevia for the last few months simply because I haven’t been able to get them in bulk locally and I personally love it a little better like this even. 

zero waste toothpaste

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup baking soda

1 tablespoon stevia (optional- my kids like it with this because it tastes less salty with the sweet stevia, you could use xylitol too or if you’re ballsy just leave it out tbh)

2 tablespoons bentonite clay (optional)

40 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil (or a mix)

Mix all ingredients together in a glass or plastic bowl with a NON METAL UTENSIL- metal deactivates the charge of the bentonite clay.

Bentonite is an optional ingredient here and it makes the toothpaste gray- I ran out of it which is why in the pics the toothpaste is white.  But it’s high in minerals, gentle, and has a magical ability of binding itself to toxins in your mouth so they can be spit out with the toothpaste.  I bought a giant bag of it years ago on Mountain Rose Herbs and I just ran out.  It did come in plastic at the time (this was before zero waste for us).  If you live in the Bay area of California, you can buy it package free at Rainbow Grocery.

I’ve heard from some people that coconut oil can clog drains- I live in an old house with terrible drains and I haven’t had any issues.  I’ve heard some people spit in the compost or outside or in the toilet instead.  You can always pour hot water down the drain periodically if you’re worried, or simply omit it and use it as a tooth powder.

For extra whitening, you can add in activated charcoal to the mix.  For sensitive gums, try adding in myrrh essential oil or a specific gum health EO blend.  Some people might be worried about the absence of fluoride.  I personally believe its toxic and not necessary, and my dentist agrees.  See the comment I replied to below for a more in depth about why.

Please let me know if you try the recipe and be sure to tag me on Instagram @mamaeatsplants !  I love seeing your variations and connecting with you.

Lots of love,

xx Amanda

19 thoughts on “package free: toothpaste

  1. It’s interesting that your dentist approves because I sent mine several diy recipes including one the same as yours and they basically would not say it was ok for me to use any of them. They were particularly concerned about the lack of fluoride. Did your dentist comment on this aspect at all?

    1. Hi! Yes, like I said, our dentist does not believe fluoride is necessary or even good for teeth. I’ve done extensive research on this and of course you need to do your own research and come to a conclusion that you believe to be right for you. Our dentist is a small family practice that is very conservative in their approach to dental care. He told me that in his professional opinion, the benefits to fluoride are minimal and can actually cause more damage than good over time. Fluoride works by hardening the teeth slightly through fluorosis, which also makes teeth more brittle. Calcium fluoride occurs naturally in water and the calcium, not the fluoride, is what is more likely to create the observed effect of protecting against cavities. Sodium fluoride, what most toothpastes have, is actually a chemical byproduct of the aluminum industry. The first campaign promoting fluoride as safe was promoted by an aluminum company. Coupled with the potential neurotoxicity, and impaired thyroid function seen at twice the normal rate in communities with fluoridated water, and the relationship between thyroid and hormones especially in growing children/women, I personally choose to not use fluoride and have not for over a decade even when I did use commercial toothpaste. I have nothing wrong with my teeth and even have all my wisdom teeth. Of course, you should draw your own conclusions based on research and possibly seek a second opinion. Hope this helps xx

  2. Thank you for this. It is very timely as looking at options for toothpaste is on my list. You are lucky to have good teeth, mine are less robust and I need to consider the best way to be sustainable and keep my teeth healthy.

    1. Of course everyone needs to do what’s best for them based on their own research ❤️ There are lots of options out there but this is what works for us. You may want to look into a glycerin free toothpaste if you do decide to get a pre made one. In my research, I’ve read that what can influence cavities are if your saliva is rich in minerals, if the teeth are able to remineralize without glycerin, and the natural balance of bacteria/what strains your personally have in your mouth (can be modified with dental probiotics). Thanks for reading!!

  3. I’m excited to try this out. We are always jumping between brands and the amount of plastic is insane. Do you know if this would be safe for a one year old? Maybe I’d need to add more stevia for her?

    1. Hi! Yes the plastic is crazy right?! In my opinion this would be safe for her (I’ve used it exclusively on my son since he was ready to brush teeth) but obviously I’m not a doctor or dentist 😉 you can try adding more stevia if you like or changing the essential oil to somethin like sweet orange which may be more palatable than peppermint for her❤️

  4. What an awesome DIY toothpaste recipe! I got into making my own tooth powder after learning about all the toxic chemicals in store brand toothpastes, and it worked so well that I now sell it as part of my ethical + eco-friendly self care business!

    1. Ooh how cool! I love that! We need more people making nontoxic products. What’s your company called? Thanks for reading Christianna

  5. hi from France! I tried to make your toothpaste recipe but definitely I can not stand the sensation (and the salty taste a bit weird) bicarbonate crunching on the teeth! I had to spit it out! (oops sorry: D) Is it mandatory? can not I replace it with something else? Also I did not have bentonite clay, but a green clay banal … it will go? Thank you for your reply. I write specifically from Marseille and yes your soap to do the dishes is a specialty of my city 🙂 besides I have also adopted for the dishes since I read your post and indeed it’s very good 😉 Thank you for your reply ! Elodie

    1. hi Elodie!
      Sorry to hear you are having trouble with the toothpaste. Indeed, the taste is a bit salty. Green clay will not be the same as bentonite. Did you use the stevia? The stevia helps to balance the saltiness. Another option to try is Weleda, which should be easy to find in Europe right? Their toothpastes come in a recyclable metal tube. Im so happy to hear you have switched to the soap for dishes! I just love it too. Lots of love from California xoxo

  6. Hi Amanda!

    We would love to share your updated recipe on toothpaste on our Instagram page @pureosophy if you give the permission for us to do so? 🌿 We will use it in a future post where we feature our bamboo toothbrushes and of course tag you and give you credit for the recipe!
    Hope to hear from you – have a lovely day!
    Best regards Lea //

      1. Thank you ☺️ Are the measurements the same for coconut oil etc when leaving out the clay and stevia?

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