11 Fantastic All Natural Toothpaste Alternatives

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

The global toothpaste market is huge and growing. By 2020 it’s projected to be worth a staggering $14 billion. But that’s money well spent, right? After all, we need modern, high-tech toothpastes to protect us from the bacteria that want to eat our tooth enamel and turn our gums to mush.

Well, that’s what the toothpaste manufacturers want us to believe. But the truth is, we don’t need toothpaste at all, and some of those wonder ingredients ‘protecting’ our teeth can be considered downright dangerous.

Take Triclosan as an example. In September 2016 the Federal Food and Drug Administration banned triclosan from hand and body washes. They gave companies one year to remove triclosan (and some other newly banned substances) from their products, or remove them from the market.  

Mae Wu, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which originally asked the FDA for the ban, says that there is evidence that triclosan can disrupt hormone cycles and cause muscle weakness.

And did you know that triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 and is also listed as a possible carcinogen?

So it’s a good thing that the FDA finally got around to banning triclosan isn’t it? It certainly is. But get this, they didn’t ban it from toothpaste! That’s right, you can’t wash your hands with it, but it’s fine to put it into your mouth. WOW.

And let’s not forget the little warning printed on every toothpaste tube telling us to contact poison control if even a tiny amount is swallowed.

What are we doing putting this stuff into our mouths? And how many other toothpaste ingredients, considered safe today, will turn out to be toxic timebombs?

Well you don’t have to wait for the slow moving wheels of the government regulation to protect you from the chemical soup in toothpaste.

You can take charge of your health right now with these safe toothpaste alternatives:

Toothbrush And Water

It doesn’t get any more basic than this. But don’t be fooled into thinking that basic means ineffective.

It’s the mechanical action of brushing that removes food debris and the sticky biofilm that builds up over the course of the day.

Of course you’ll need to brush effectively, and that means using the right method and the right toothbrush.

An investigation into the efficacy of manual vs powered toothbrushing concluded that  

“There is moderate quality evidence that powered toothbrushes provide a statistically significant benefit compared with manual toothbrushes with regard to the reduction of plaque…”

And

“With regard to gingivitis, there is moderate quality evidence that powered toothbrushes again provide a statistically significant benefit when compared with manual toothbrushes…”

So if you plan to eschew additional tooth cleaning agents, then an [easyazon_link identifier=”B00QZ67ODE” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]electric toothbrush[/easyazon_link] might be a good choice. 

Bentonite Clay

[easyazon_link identifier=”B00Q96XGUU” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Bentonite clay[/easyazon_link] is a gentle abrasive, rich in minerals. It’s also an alkaline and helps to reduce acidity levels in your mouth which protects your tooth enamel.

It’s fairly, tasteless and inexpensive. You can easily [easyazon_link identifier=”B00Q96XGUU” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]find it online[/easyazon_link].

The clay comes in the form of a finely ground powder.  To make a toothpaste from it, take 100g of clay and mix it with enough boiling water to form a smooth paste. You can add some peppermint (or other) essential oil to give it a nice fresh flavor.

Only make small quantities at a time, as it doesn’t store well.

Baking Soda

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that toothpastes containing baking soda consistently removed more plaque than toothpastes containing none.

It’s safe to say that baking soda is an effective tooth cleaner. Many toothpaste brands contain baking soda, but you can ditch the rest of the toothpaste ingredients and use baking soda solo.

Some people will caution that baking soda is too harsh an abrasive to use on teeth and that it will wear away at tooth enamel. This isn’t true.  Baking soda is actually less abrasive than most commercial toothpastes.

All manufactured toothpastes have to undergo testing by the FDA  to determine their RDA value. RDA means relative dentin abrasivity. Basically it’s a measure of how abrasive the toothpaste is.

Baking soda has been tested too.

Here’s how baking soda stacks up against some of the leading brands

  • Straight Baking Soda – RDA 07
  • Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder – RDA 08
  • Tom’s 0f Maine Sensitive – RDA 49
  • Colgate Total – RDA 70
  • Sensodyne – RDA 79
  • Crest – RDA 95
  • Aquafresh Whitening – RDA 113
  • Ultrabrite – RDA 133
  • Pepsodent – RDA 150
  • Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control – RDA 200

The FDA has an upper recommended RDA limit of 200 and the American Dental Association recommends an upper limit of RDA 250.

As you can see plain baking soda is less abrasive than toothpaste! So don’t worry about it grinding off your enamel. It just won’t happen.

Baking soda is a great choice if you tend to drink a lot of tea or coffee and suffer from stained teeth as a result. It’s also an alkaline (pH 9 – 11) which helps to reduce the levels of enamel eating acids in your mouth.

 

How to use baking soda to clean your teeth

You can use it straight out of the box. Just wet your toothbrush and dip it into the baking soda, then brush as normal.

The downside to using it straight is the taste isn’t so great and some people find the grittiness unpleasant.

One of the best ways to use this toothpaste alternative is to make it into a paste, using coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint (or other) essential oil.

Here’s how

  • ½ cup[easyazon_link identifier=”B00CPZPYLS” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]coconut oil[/easyazon_link]
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 15-20 drops[easyazon_link identifier=”B00OEIBJRW” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]peppermint essential oil[/easyazon_link]

Melt the coconut oil in your microwave, then stir in the baking soda and essential oil. Stir several times as the mixture cools to keep the baking soda evenly distributed. Then transfer to a small glass jar and leave it to cool. Once it’s cooled completely, it will be solid again.

 

Castile Soap

11 Fantastic All Natural Toothpaste Alternatives 1

You could use any old bar of soap to clean your teeth, but then you run into the same problem we highlighted earlier. You don’t know whether the cryptically named ingredients are safe.

That’s not the case with [easyazon_link identifier=”B00DAI76TC” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]a pure Castile Soap[/easyazon_link]. Castile Soap is made from pure olive oil.

The most well known Castile Soap in the United States is the Iconic Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Peppermint Soap. But Castile Soap didn’t originate with Emanuel Bronner. Castile Soap has a long heritage, dating back to 16th century Europe.  

You can use either bar or liquid form Castile Soap to clean your teeth. If you use a bar, just wet your toothbrush and rub it over the soap to coat the bristles. With the liquid, you only need ato dd a few drops to your brush.

Once you have the soap on your brush, clean your teeth in your normal manner. Make sure to spit out all of the soap and thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

The downside to using soap is the taste. Even with the addition of peppermint essential oil, the soap taste is still present. But advocates of this toothpaste alternatives promise that you’ll soon get used it.
[easyazon_infoblock align=”none” identifier=”B00DAI76TC” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]

Tooth Cleaning Twigs or Chewing Sticks (Datun’s)

While the synthetic toothbrush is a modern invention, a completely natural implement  – the tooth cleaning stick – has been in use for millennia. Used by the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians,  the earliest chewing sticks date back  to Babylonia in 3500 BC.  

The Prophet Muhammad advocated their use in many Hadiths, and  Sikh Guru’s advised their followers to use them.  Chewing sticks are still widely used in Africa, the Middle East, and India today.

The Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica) – People in India have cleaned their teeth with twigs from the Neem tree for thousands of years. An early Ayurvedic text – the  Charaka Samhita – recommends twigs from the Neem tree, stating that they should be chewed several times a day.

The Neem tree is the source of Neem Oil which is famed for its antibacterial and  antifungal properties.

The Peelu Tree (Salvadora persica) – Promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for oral hygiene use and used for centuries as a natural toothbrush.

The Peelu tree is a popular source for the Miswak sticks commonly used in the Arabian Peninsula and throughout the Muslim world, hence its nickname,  ‘The Islamic Toothbrush’.

Research suggests that wood from the Peelu Tree contains a number of medically beneficial properties, including antiseptics, astringents, detergents, enzyme inhibitors, and fluoride.

Other species of wood used to make tooth cleaning sticks include, Olive, Cinnamon, Dogwood, Walnut, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus.

Tooth cleaning twigs are inexpensive, they remove plaque and stimulate blood flow to your gums. They keep your breath fresh and they’re super eco-friendly.

How To Use A tooth Cleaning Stick

  1. Chew the bark off the end of a new stick. You want to expose about 1 inch of the soft wood underneath. Discard the bark.
  2. Chew the stick until the wood fibers separate and form bristles. You’ll know that stick is ready to use because the end will resemble a paint brush.
  3. Dip the bristly end of the stick in water, then work the tip over your teeth.
  4. To keep your tooth cleaning stick fresh, cut off the bristles every couple of days and chew a new section off the stick.

Oil Pulling

This toothpaste alternative isn’t for everyone, but it has a wide fan base, with its adherents not only claiming that they have incredibly clean teeth, but that Oil Pulling has cured their tooth decay, gum disease, and even their abscessed, infected teeth. Many users report that it is effective at breaking up the hard scale that usually has to be removed by a dental hygienist.

So what is Oil Pulling? – It’s a practise taken from Ayurvedic Medicine. Basically you take a spoonful of oil and swish it around your mouth for several minutes. As you do this the oil draws or ‘pulls’ toxins from your mouth and dissolves the sticky film of plaque on your teeth.

Which Oils Are Used? – [easyazon_link identifier=”B0057RHECS” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Unrefined Olive[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B00CPZPYLS” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Coconut[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B00KNH9EG6″ locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Sunflower[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link identifier=”B0000CNU10″ locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Sesame oils[/easyazon_link].

Method

  • Use a tablespoon of your preferred oil. You can add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil to the oil to help with the taste if you need to.
  • Swish the oil slowly and methodically around your mouth.
  • Swish for 10 minutes, or as long as you can stand. Initially you might need to spit it out very quickly. It’s a technique that takes some perseverance to get to grips with.
  • Spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • Make sure that you don’t swallow the oil. It will be loaded with all of the nasties that you’ve just cleansed from your mouth!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a must-have for anyone concerned with good health. It’s claimed to be the healthiest fat out there and it’s well known as a miracle skincare product.

With its antibacterial and antifungal properties it also makes a great tooth cleaner.

Coconut oil can be used alone or combined with a little baking soda and a few drops of a fresh-tasting essential oil.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to chlorine bleach and it’s safe to use in your mouth to help whiten teeth and kill germs.

You must ensure that you use[easyazon_link identifier=”B00B7V584E” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]food grade hydrogen peroxide[/easyazon_link] that’s formulated as a 3% or less concentration. Don’t use anything stronger. At first you should further dilute the peroxide with water and see how you get along as some people find that the full strength burns their gums. We reccommend Essential Oxygen’s Hydrogen Peroxide: [easyazon_infoblock align=”none” identifier=”B00B7V584E” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]

To clean your teeth with hydrogen peroxide, dip your brush into the liquid and get brushing. You can also combine it with baking soda if you need a mild abrasive to help remove stains.

Herbal Tooth Powders

You can find herbal tooth powders at your grocery store, local pharmacy, or online. They’re made with all-natural safe ingredients designed to remove plaque, kill germs and leave your breath clean and fresh. Tooth powders might seem like they cost a lot more than toothpaste, but a tub of tooth powder will last a long time, so they’re actually pretty cost effective.

Sea Salt

Salt has powerful germ killing properties, and it makes a cheap and simple toothpaste alternative. You’ll need to dissolve the salt in a little warm water to use it safely, since salt can be a harsh abrasive and could damage tooth enamel.

Essential Oils

11 Fantastic All Natural Toothpaste Alternatives 2

Essential oils are famous for their antibacterial properties and make a great toothpaste alternative. While your toothbrush does the job of removing food debris and plaque build up, adding a few drops of essential oil will kill germs and freshen your breath.

You can use individual oils or you can mix and match to create a blend.

Only therapeutic grade oils should be used to ensure purity and safety. To use essential oils, dilute a few drops in a small amount of water and apply to your toothbrush.

The Top 6 Essential Oils For Healthy Teeth And Gums

  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00OEIBJRW” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Peppermint and Spearmint Essential Oils[/easyazon_link] – Both of these oils are antimicrobial and they will leave your mouth tingly clean and your breath MINTY FRESH!
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00QR6SS6O” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Lemon Essential Oil[/easyazon_link] – Has antiseptic properties and helps to whiten teeth.
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B0019LRZ2A” locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Eucalyptus Essential Oil[/easyazon_link] – As well as being important to have on hand when colds or flu strike, eucalyptus oil is antimicrobial and help fights gum disease. It’s a common additive to commercial herbal toothpastes.
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00QJBVUY4″ locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil[/easyazon_link] – Researchers found that cinnamon essential oil has the greatest antimicrobial potency against streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. It’s also a potent ally in the fight against gum disease, effective against lactobacillus plantarum.
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00PM8Y5Y2″ locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Myrrh Essential Oil[/easyazon_link]- Myrrh, commonly known as one of the treasures delivered to the newborn Christ. Myrrh essential oil is derived from the resin of the Commiphora myrrha tree. Due to its antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties it’s especially useful if you have gum disease.
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00PM7S5R6″ locale=”US” tag=”balancemeb-20″]Clove[/easyazon_link] – Clove oil is well known treatment for toothache. In addition to its ability to numb pain, clove oil has germ busting properties too.

Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing is something that you do away from the bathroom and is a method used to get rid of plaque build up. You can do this whenever you have a free hand to hold your toothbrush. So it’s a perfect activity to do while you’re in couch-potato mode.

All you do is take your toothbrush, dip it into plain water and work it gently and methodically over your teeth.

Whichever toothpaste alternative you choose, it will take a little getting used to. The texture and the taste will be very different to commercial toothpastes, especially as most are artificially sweetened to make them palatable. But don’t let that put you off. Finding a natural alternative to toothpaste will be better for you in the long run.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.