No toothpaste for one year… really?


No toothpaste for one year… really?

No toothpaste for one year… really?

Toothpowder. What a vintage word and concept.  It sounds like a product straight out of an apothecary.  A stained old box that you’d see on a shelf in a reenacted historic home.  But now it lives in my bathroom!

During this year of detoxing my beauty routine, toothpaste was one of my top priorities to recreate.

The array of tooth care products in the drugstore today is overwhelming: whitening, tartar control, extra-long breath freshening, sensitive teeth, with flouride or flouride-free, in different sized and shaped tubes, with a variety of flavors.  Do we really need all that to take care of our teeth?

As soon as I started experimenting with homemade toothpaste, my boyfriend admitted that he was a bit concerned about it.  While I won’t seriously hurt myself experimenting with shampoo and moisturizer, he was worried that I might get serious tooth damage if I really go an entire year without commercial toothpaste.

So I did some research.

According to wikipedia, toothpaste doesn’t clean your teeth – the friction of the toothbrush does.  And tooth pastes and powders weren’t common until the 19th century.   So I think as long as I do a thorough brushing, I should be fine with my homemade toothpaste.  Or if not, you’ll definitely hear about it!

Attempt #1: Baking Soda

The first thing I tried was plain baking soda – just dip your toothbrush in the baking soda and brush.  My teeth felt really smooth afterwards, but the taste was pretty bad.

Attempt #2: Sage Toothpowder

This time, I made a toothpowder from crushed dried sage leaves and baking soda.  Sage is antibacterial, breath-freshing and is supposed to whiten your teeth.  The major problem with this attempt is that I mixed the sage and baking soda together first, and then tried to grind them in a mortar-and-pestle.  As a result, the sage pieces were still too big (it’s hard to grind baking soda since it’s powdery), so I ended up with green bits in my teeth.  Not what I was looking for in a toothpaste!  I did like the taste of the sage, so I’ll keep working on this recipe.

Attempt #3: Sage Toothpowder v2

This time I ground up the sage separately first, then mixed with some baking soda – much better!  I carried some of this with me on a recent weekend trip and it worked well, and is easy to carry in a small container.  There are still some bits, but they’re small and rinse away easily.  I’ll probably continue to tweak this recipe over the year!

The sage flavor is nice, but I’m still missing the ‘minty fresh’ feeling – so next up is to experiment with some peppermint essential oil and actually making a toothpaste!

About the author

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur & alchemist. She helps entrepreneurs, business owners & executives rediscover their inner guidance, so they can create meaning, success & magic in their next stage of life & work.

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  1. So I came across this toothpaste recipe using Earth Paste. I tried making coconut oil tooth paste, but our weather really makes it impossible to keep the oil at a stable consistency. So hopefully this recipe will be a good alternative. I personally am going to omit the xylitol on the first attempt. Thought I would pass the recipe on for you to check out. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Waiting on the Earth Paste to arrive.


  2. I’ve got a blog that covers natural beauty. One of my very first projects over a year ago now was a homemade toothpaste. My husband and I still use it now. You can check it out here:

    Also, my favourite books for reference on stuff like this are:
    -1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic and the editors of Natural Health Magazine (it has sections for health, beauty, home, and pets)
    -EcoBeauty by Lauren Cox with Janice Cox

  3. Would be interesting to get a dental checkup before and after the whole year experiment and also to take a before and after photo. I actually believe your teeth would be healthier at the end.

  4. I’ve heard too, the baking soda is not so good for the outside part of teeth, the enamel think is the right word. Do you know something about?.
    Thank you

  5. I’ve heard baking soda can be a bit harsh to use daily. I’ve been on a similar bend to this, in fact — after I found my preferred toothpaste was too hard to come by in shops, I decided to maybe go with something easier and cheaper. I found brushing with regular salt actually did wonders for my gums!

  6. Sorry for not responding sooner, Amanda, I just found your email among a bazillion of other unread messages…

    Switching to healthier options has been quite a long process. Some of the changes include laundry detergent (washing soda, borax, naphtha soap), fabric softener (1 part vinegar, 3 parts water sprayed on a wet load), facial toner (witch hazel, lavender/tea tree oils), castor/safflower oil as a facial cleanser, baking soda with castille soap as an exfoliant, and baking soda/castille soapshower scrub I just started using. I avoid chemically-created fragrances whenever possible.

    There hasn’t been time to look thru your site thoroughly; I’d bet you’re doing lots of these already. I look forward to learning more about you and your remedies.

  7. Hi Amanda – I’m glad to have found your site as I’ve been detoxing several areas in our home, too. Toothpaste-wise, I’ve done the baking soda thing. I’ve tasted worse, but recently I mixed it with Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash. It’s sugar and alcohol free with essential oil of spearmint. I’m still working out the ratio (confession: I’m really just winging it), but mix it and baking soda in a travel-sized jar to a consistency that doesn’t run off my brush after I dip it in the jar. Bonus: no squeezing to get the last bit from the tube! 🙂

    1. Hi Lucy, thanks for your comment, I hadn’t thought of mixing mouthwash with baking soda but that’s a great idea! What are the other areas of your life you’re detoxing?? I always like to hear what other people are using!

  8. Hi Lilah, to be honest I haven’t cracked the toothpaste making yet. I tried straight baking soda (which works in a pinch or when travelling, but the taste isn’t very nice). The sage tooth powder was ok. You could easily substitute peppermint for it! Then later I tried a recipe that used baking soda, peppermint essential oil and glycerine, to make a paste. That was the best of all – but really messy. I’m still not happy with any of the options! Back to the drawing board…

  9. Very nice. Right now I use a tooth powder made of baking soda, salt (just for abrasiveness, I think) and some essential oils. I don’t know exactly everything, because my mom makes it, but it tastes horribly salty. I don’t think pure baking soda could be much worse, so I think I’ll try that.
    What proportions of sage to baking powder did you use? And couldn’t you just very easily substitute mint for the sage?

    1. “Sage is an astringent, antiseptic, tonic herb, with a camphor-like aroma.Sage relaxes spasms, suppresses perspiration and lactation, improves liver function and digestion and has anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant and estrogenic effects.

      It contains phenolic acids, flavonoids, diterpenoids, triterpenes and an essential oil which contains a-thujone, camphor, 1,8-ceneole and other monoterpenes.” ~

      “The proven medicinal constituents in spearmint are 1,8-cineole, acetic-acid, acetophenone, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, apigenin, arginine, benzaldehyde, benzyl-alcohol, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, borneol, calcium, carvacrol, carvone, caryophyllene, diosmin, ethanol, eugenol, farnesol, geraniol, hesperidin, limonene, luteolin, menthol, methionine, niacin, oleanolic-acid, perillyl-alcohol, pulegone, rosmarinic-acid, terpinen-4-ol, thiamin, thymol, tryptophan, ursolic-acid, and many vitamins and minerals.” ~

      i’d add both and you could use the oils rather than the leaves if u want, if u use the oils try not to eat much tho as they can bee a bit strong in the tummy.

      another thing to try is tea tree, you chew the stick and the oil kills the bacteria.

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