Why I Stopped Using Toothpaste

Why I Stopped Using Toothpaste. Did you know there are some ingredients in toothpaste that you probably don't want in your mouth? Find out why I stopped using toothpaste--and what I use now instead!


{There are so many toxins in personal care products these days.  One of the best ways to reduce your exposure is to make your own products like moisturizing cream, homemade foaming soap, and homemade hair spray.  Today I am so pleased to introduce you to Andrea Fabry, of MomsAWARE. Andrea is sharing Why I Stopped Using Toothpaste, along with her Tooth Powder Recipe. Andrea and I have known each other for quite awhile. She has a fascinating, albeit frightening, personal story about how her family had to evacuate their home due to mold toxicity. You can read more about that here.}

My decision to find an alternative to toothpaste began when a health crisis forced me to reevaluate my personal care regimen. I knew that if I hoped to turn my health around my product choices needed an overhaul. I learned to read labels.

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Thanks to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and other watchdog groups, I awakened to the truth that the vast majority of ingredients in toothpaste and other personal care products haven’t been reviewed for safety.

Also influencing my growing aversion to conventional toothpaste was my poor dental health.

Numerous cavities and gum problems haunted me. It only made sense to question my dental protocol.

So–What’s In a Typical Tube of Toothpaste?

Toothpaste ingredients. Why I Stopped Making Toothpaste. Tooth Powder Recipe

Typical Toothpaste Ingredients

1.  Sodium fluoride: This is a colorless crystalline salt used to fluoridate our water supply. It is also used as an insecticide as well as in the treatment/prevention of tooth decay. I have a natural aversion to the ingestion or topical use of a chemical that is used to kill insects. It’s a simple, logical train of thought; toxic is toxic. Swallowing fluoridated toothpaste is so hazardous the FDA now requires a poison warning on every tube of toothpaste containing fluoride.

2.  Triclosan: This is a chlorinated aromatic compound first registered as a pesticide in 1969. It has been found to be effective against gingivitis but red flags have been raised when it comes to long term health implications. The FDA is currently reassessing its safety.

Toothpaste ingredients. Why I Stopped Making Toothpaste. Tooth Powder Recipe

3.  Inactive Ingredients: From propylene glycol, to titanium dioxide, to sodium lauryl sufate, inactive ingredients are added to preserve or facilitate the effectiveness of the active ingredients. The term “inactive” can be misleading as it might be assumed these additives have no implications to our health.

4.  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, for example, has been linked to skin and eye irritations, organ toxicity, development toxicity, endocrine disruption and more. While its presence in a toothpaste is quite minor, I’d rather clean my teeth with something that carries no risks or poison warnings.

I explored natural, chemical-free toothpastes. EWG offers an excellent list of 679 toothpastes and evaluates each for levels of toxicity. I gravitated to Herbodent, an antibacterial formulation utilizing 21 herbs.

I still buy this for my kids.

For myself, however, I continued to experiment and discovered success with homemade tooth powder. The recipe is based on the advice of controversial dentist, Dr. Hal Huggins, a leading proponent of the mercury-free movement, who states in his Client Education Packet:

“Over the years, one ‘tooth paste’ has won all records, and it is not really a paste. It is a powder. Salt and baking soda. About 20% salt, 80% soda, altered to taste. Some like 50/50, some 10/90. . .the more salt the better it is for your gum. It feels like brushing your teeth with sand, yet is less abrasive than any tooth paste.”

Note:  This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on them, I might make a commission, but your price does not change.  Your support of my blog is much appreciated and enables me to continue to produce health posts, and whole food recipes for free :)!

{From Adrienne: We stopped using traditional toothpaste a long time ago as well and I just received ingredients in the mail for making another tooth powder–this post is great timing!  If you would like to make Andrea’s recipe, read Which Essential Oils Company is Best? to see which essential oils I use.}

It’s been 2 years since I stopped using toothpaste.

My gums and teeth feel healthier than ever. I’ve had no sign of decay.

At a recent cleaning, my hygienist noted the improvement in my overall dental health and encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing – advice I intend to follow.

Where to buy the products to make the Tooth Powder?

Amazon has all of them.

You might also try Mountain Rose Herbs.

More Non-Toxic DIY Personal Care Products

– All Natural Personal Care
“Best” Eye Makeup Remover
Nourishing Body Scrub
Alcohol-Free Hair Spray that Works

Please note- Neither Adrienne nor Andrea are dentists so you need to make decisions with your dental professional for your own dental care.  Please don’t change your toothpaste without consulting him or her.  Thanks!

What do you use to brush your teeth?

Andrea Fabry - A woman dedicated to detoxifying her family for health's sake.Andrea is a former journalist and the mother of nine children ranging in age from 28 to 12. Following a toxic mold exposure, Andrea and her family discovered the wonders of natural living. Andrea is the founder and president of momsAWARE, an educational organization designed to empower others to live healthy in a toxic world. You can follow her family’s journey at Our Health Journey. She is also the owner of Just SoNatural Products.

Shared at: Ricki Heller.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. There are rather too many unnecessary synthetic chemicals in personal care products these days but, as your recipe shows, toothpaste can be simple. I like EarthPaste which is bentonite clay and remarkably effective! We are wise to avoid triclosan not least as it washes down into the drain and into our water supply.

  2. I just went on WebMD about Neem Powder. This seems just as chemically dangerous.. it said:
    Neem is a tree. The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine. Less frequently, the root, flower, and fruit are also used.

    Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and liver problems. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions.

    The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, pain, and fever.

    The flower is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, and treating intestinal worms.

    The fruit is used for hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, urinary tract disorders, bloody nose, phlegm, eye disorders, diabetes, wounds, and leprosy.

    Neem twigs are used for cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, low sperm levels, urinary disorders, and diabetes. People in the tropics sometimes chew neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes, but this can cause illness; neem twigs are often contaminated with fungi within 2 weeks of harvest and should be avoided.

    The seed and seed oil are used for leprosy and intestinal worms. They are also used for birth control and to cause abortions.

    The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent.

    Some people apply neem directly to the skin to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds, and skin ulcers; as a mosquito repellent; and as a skin softener.

    Inside the vagina, neem is used for birth control.

    Neem is also used as an insecticide.

    How does it work?
    Neem contains chemicals that might help reduce blood sugar levels, heal ulcers in the digestive tract, prevent conception, kill bacteria and prevent plaque formation in the mouth.

    • Hi Becky!!

      Thanks for looking up Neem on MDWeb. I knew that Neem has many medicinal uses but didn’t realize there were so many. I’m not sure Neem is a chemical (wrong word to use here as it is not a chemical, it is natural). There are many trees, bushes, flowers that have many medicinal uses to heal the body. Andrea states that using Neem is optional but, with its noted benefit to heal gingivitis & bacteria in the mouth. It makes it a very good addition to the tooth powder. We all need healing from these things in our mouths. Don’t you think?

      • Everything is a chemical because everything is a result of chemistry; everything has a chemical make up. Therefore, neem is a chemical. Both naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals can be good or bad, especially depending on how they are used. So, be careful throwing the word “chemical” around as bad thing. I, for one, am thankful for the “chemical” H20. It is necessary for life, but drinking too much can result in water intoxication. Just an example.

  3. Won’t the baking soda make abrasions on the teeth leading to more bacteria adhering to the teeth?

    • It’s true that baking soda is abrasive, but nowhere near conventional tooth paste. Baking soda on an average brush has an abrasiveness of 7 (brush and water is 4). Colgate total is 70 and Colgate Luminous 175.
      Hope that helps! :)
      Source: epinions.com/content_3128664196?sb=1

  4. Fascinating post! I too have been working on switching to safer and safer body products. It’s a work in progress! Is the Neem Powder necessary? I just want to get using this right away so thought I could make a batch without it for now? Thanks for sharing!

    • Neem is not necessary. Other options include Aalgo seaweed (which I really like), or clove powder. The basic recipe is salt and baking soda. Add whatever you’re comfortable with. There is some controversy about baking soda being too harsh. I haven’t found it to be so. You can always try for a period of time and see how it works for you.

  5. Can I add coconut oil to this?

  6. I’ve read about tooth powders and have been meaning to make my own for ages. . . for now, still using (holistic) toothpaste. Thanks for the “recipe”! :)

  7. I’ve had a lot of moderate teeth issues, along with a receding gum line (I am 21!!!), so I thought about making my own toothpowder. It seems too much of a hassle to find ingredients (I live in Sweden), make it, figure out a way to store it without causing bacterial growth and use it without causing a mess, travel with it. I ended up bying HealThy Mouth Blend (that’s about the cheesiest name I’ve ever seen, but they seem serious anyway) from OraWellness instead. It’s an oil, which feels more convenient for me than a powder. I’ve only used it for about 2 weeks, so I haven’t seen any real results, but my mouth smells nice after brushing at least :)

    • So sorry for the delay in responding. Trying to go through old comments that I missed. I love that line and am going to be working with them. I just met one of the owners this past week!

  8. I love this post- thank you for sharing…especially the homemade recipe!! So easy!! I’m wondering if the salt would sting any wound inside the mouth, including mild gingivitis or something. People with mouth issues might be weary of the recipe. Anyway, I happily shared this on my Facebook page. :)

    • I think Andrea will get back to you. :) Thanks for sharing, Roz.

    • Roz,
      The salt does sting a bit. As my gums have improved I no longer feel any discomfort. You can start with more baking soda than salt and then see how things progress. I can also say that Dr. Huggins speaks highly of the benefit of swishing your gums with Vitamin C for gum health. (Just another thought for you.)

  9. I think I’m really going to make this but I’m a newbie and need help!
    Sea Salt – will any do? Or does it have to be more or less coarse/fine? The Amazon link is for Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt. Is that right?
    Dried Ground Stevia Leaves – Is this like Stevia powder? Otherwise, how do I buy it? Can I just go to Whole Foods and ask for that?
    Baking Soda – Can I get a store brand from the grocery store?
    What does the Neem Powder do? It’s close to $20 on Amazon and you say it’s optional. Wondering if I should just go for it? or do without?
    I also see in the comments about coconut oil. I have some – how would you incorporate it? I’m new to that too.
    Also in the comments I saw that you mentioned altering the amounts if there’s sensitivity. How would you advise starting? and then working up to the amounts you have listed here?
    Lastly, when it’s all mixed together, do you just barely dip your toothbrush in it for brushing?
    THANK YOU!!!

  10. Laura M. Ohanian says:

    HI Adrienne,
    Do you have any suggestions for homemade deodorant?

  11. So…do you dip your brush in? How does this work.

    • I keep the tooth powder in a spice container. I sprinkle it on my wet toothbrush. You can dab a clean, moist toothbrush in a container of the powder and it will “jump” onto the brush quite well. I like the sprinkling because it keeps the powder clean but some does miss the brush.

  12. Hi Andrea

    Thanks so much for your article. I have also been concerned with what I am brushing my teeth with. I read the ingredients but didn’t really know what they were. Thanks for telling us.

    I have switched to brushing my teeth with this product: http://www.orawellness.com/. But, I will definitely try a homemade version of what you are making.

    • I am so sorry for the delay – I missed responding to a bunch of comments. I just met the owner of Orawellness this past week and he is great! Thanks!

  13. Will this do any damage to mercury fillings?

  14. I have VERY sensitive teeth. I was using a “natural” toothpaste but it was only making my sensitivities worse. How will this effect my sensitive teeth? Thank you!

    • I had very VERY sensitive teeth before using natural dental care. The tooth powder may have helped but I suspect two reasons my sensitivity improved greatly.
      1. oil pulling. I can’t say enough about oil pulling. Definitely helped with my sensitivity
      2. gum brushing. I actually use something called a miswak to brush my gums…(definitely a future post) – it’s like skin brushing – only you’re brushing the gums….it strengthens them and helps stimulate circulation.

  15. The whitening agent in “whitening” toothpaste causes tiny blisters on the sides of my tongue. I thought I was stuck with baking powder and salt, thanks for the recipe!

  16. I was looking to buy Herbodent for my children but then I looked at the ingredients, did you know that Herbodent has SLS and parabens? I found the ingredients list here: http://www.jaikaran.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=10

  17. I read somewhere that one should dissolve the granules in a bit of water and brush with that. But you are talking about taking the granules straight to your teeth, right? It seems like that is where it might be abrasive until the granules dissolve in your saliva. But you don’t find it so?

  18. How about xylitol instead of stevia or does stevia also help rebuild teeth?

  19. Kayla Buchanan says:

    Hi there! I’ve been making my own tooth powder for a month or so and I was wondering what is the reason for adding salt to your recipe? Is there some significance for using it? I’m new to this so I’m slowly learning the whats & why’s of things. :) Thank you!

    Kayla Buchanan

    • Kayla,
      I think it’s a biochemical issue when it comes to salt. Certain microorganisms cannot thrive in salt, so it adds a certain level of antimicrobial potency. That’s my take on it anyway. Great question.

  20. My dental hygienist says baking soda isn’t good if you are needing to watch your salt/sodium intake, have you heard any info on this?

  21. Hi there!

    Interesting post! As a dental hygienist I try to read up on what alternatives are out there as much as possible, so I can keep up with what my patients are up to. I also try and keep things as natural as possible with my family, while balancing the risk/reward ratio. I have a couple of comments that I hope you don’t mind me sharing.

    1. Yes, fluoride is poisonous if ingested in large quantities, so it should have a warning label. Hopefully you are not swallowing your toothpaste. I totally respect the individual right to choose whether or not you use fluoride. But just a couple of things from my perspective: fluoride does help prevent cavities, and also helps repair potential decay before it becomes a full blown cavity. Dental decay is an infectious, transmittable disease, so especially for children, preventing this is much more desirable than having to treat it. In addition, there are questionable ingredients in all filling materials as well, which stay in the body much longer than the time it takes to brush. Everything on earth is a chemical, and most things are earth are toxic if taken in large enough quantities… Children who cannot rinse and spit properly should not use a fluoridated toothpaste for this reason.

    2. Salt is very abrasive. If you have to use it in a tooth powder recipe, I would really limit it to a very small amount, as fine a granule as you can, and definitely try to dissolve it at least a little before you use it.

    3. It is true that baking soda is abrasive, and true that toothpaste is much MORE abrasive than baking soda. So it is a good alternative.

    4. To the person who asked about Xylitol, it would be a great alternative to the stevia, because it does help rebuild tooth structure. Mind you, I have no idea if it would work in the recipe.

    5. In reality, you do not need toothpaste of any sort. The main point in brushing your teeth is to remove plaque biofilm, and you accomplish this through the mechanics of the bristles against your teeth…toothpaste merely provides fluoride and flavor. So you don’t actually have to use anything but water. And floss : )

    6. If you choose not to use fluoride, you have, have, have to floss. NOTHING, no matter what the claim it makes, gets in between the teeth to remove that bacteria. Flossing doesn’t just help your gums, it helps prevent decay between the teeth.

    7. This should not damage any existing fillings, unless indirectly, because by not using fluoride, the potential for decay to start around existing restorations rises.

    Hope this helps!

  22. How about the organic toothpaste? Is there a brand better to use?


  23. Tiffany Smith says:

    I have a metal allergy which causes serious cardiac and neurological problems. Its not only titanium dioxide that we have to omit but silica as well. I would highly recommend using & specifying the silica free baking sodas. Thanks for the recipe. …the only one I had found so far with no metal but still contains SF is an A&H one.

  24. I use LUSH toothy tabs! They are baking soda based and absolutely amazing! I work for and use LUSH products. It was the very first alternative I’ve found for brushing without all those chemicals!

    Take care

  25. Uma Charles says:

    Hi. thanks for the recipe. I have been looking for ways to incorporate my neem powder into a recipe like yours. Can you add distilled water to it to make it a paste? will it change the effectiveness of the ingredients?

    • Hi there. I am not aware that it interacts w/ any of the ingredients but I guess you could check that. Are you aware of interaction issues? I would think adding water would make it spoil more easily but if you make small enough batches you will probably be fine.


  26. Priya Thomson says:

    I have been making and using two different toothpastes, one using baking soda, salt, peppermint and coconut oil and the other using bentonite clay as the main ingredient. I have noticed a greenish layer on my teeth, particular the back of the bottom teeth for a couple of weeks now. It is reasonably easy to floss off or pick off with a dental pick but it’s a bit of a trial to do this each night when brushing and flossing used to be just fine. Any idea what is causing this? Thanks.

  27. You can take the dry ingredients like the salt and baking soda and put them in your coffee grinder to make them into a finer powder to make them less abrasive.

    (Whizz half of a piece of bread in the coffee grinder to clean out the coffee residue. Then wipe out the bread crumbs before you grind the salt and the baking powder in.)
    If you have a Vitamix and a dry container, you can grind the salt and baking soda to a very fine powder as well.

    I use baking soda in my DIY homemade deodorant and I used to grind it to a fine powder in my coffee grinder. But now I use my dry container on my Vitamix. Both work well.

    I have experimented with various DIY toothpaste ingredients. My favorites are
    Finely ground seasalt & baking soda, bentonite clay, coconut oil, and peppermint oil. Melt half cup of coconut oil, then experiment with the adding equal parts of the dry ingredients teaspoon full at a time until you get a combination that works for you. Experiment with adding more or less of each powder ingredient until you get it just right for your liking. I use a less clay that the other ingredients.

    I also spit the first mouthful, after brushing, into my plastic lined trash can, because the coconut oil clogs the drain.

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