Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three Easy Steps for Baking Soda Toothpaste (Safe for Kids)

Toothpaste is supposed to clean your teeth, leaving it smelling fresh and healthy. Supposedly. 

It is also supposed to be safe for kids, if it's made for kids. Supposedly

But is it just me or do I sometimes feel that my mouth is still not clean enough after brushing with toothpaste? 

How about those chemicals I can hardly pronounce in my baby's toothpaste? Are they really safe?

If you want to know more on why you should be making DIY toothpaste for your kids and yourself, read on, if not, meaning you're convinced you want to make a homemade toothpaste, you can proceed to the recipe at the end.

Commercial Toothpaste's Ingredients: Are They Safe? 

For the first time in my life, I checked the ingredients of my toothpaste (a local brand). I researched on what they are for and their risks/disadvantages. Below is a snapshot of my toothpaste's ingredients.

toothpaste ingredients DIY homemade toothpaste
What My Toothpaste Contains (Kind of murky-looking because of the shadows, and also perhaps because the murkiness foreshadows its deep dark secrets, scary musical background added)
Flouride, aka sodium monoflurophosphate, in my toothpaste, check. 

Sorbitol. What is this? I checked and when consumed in large amounts, it can lead to "a range of gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating," according to the The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and "Nausea, gas, diarrheastomach cramps or anal irritation" said the WebMD

Now I wonder how much sorbitol is in my toothpaste, hopefully not 10 grams or more

Okay, I am learning more about the science of making toothpaste.

Hydrate silica.  It seems safe, as a mild abrasive to clean teeth and to provide a gel-like quality to toothpaste.

Water is another ingredient of my toothpaste.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Another unknown entity for me. It is added to toothpaste because it serves as a surfactant. Sources are mixed on the safety level of this chemical. Some say it's carcinogenic, while others say it is not, although higher usage may lead to some problems, such as skin irritation. Okay, knowing that it can be an irritant and it may be carcinogenic just makes my toothpaste a lot less appealing.

PEG-12. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) lets the toothpaste foam and produces the smooth feeling after brushing. Is it safe? Not proven to be carcinogenic but it may "contain potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane." Manufacturing impurities. Interesting in a mood-deflating sense.

Cellulose GumGum seems nice, while cellulose sounds greenish and natural. Cellulose gum is a "a chemically-treated cellulose derivative" that comes from "cell walls of woody plants, most often trees and cotton." 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rates cellulose gum as GRAS/FS, or "generally regarded as safe, but subject to limitations in some foods."This means consumption must be limited and "in accordance with good manufacturing practices."

Cellulose gum is used in both edible and non-edible products. It does not really harm humans, but it cannot be digested, so it just goes out of our system as it is. It is in toothpaste because as a polymer, it lets different things that don't mix well to mix well.

Sodium Saccharin. It's an artificial sweetener. It has been linked to bladder cancer in rats, although one academic journal article suggested that it does not translate to bladder cancer among humans. 

MethylparabenMethylparaben belongs to the paraben family of preservatives that is commonly used in food, pharmaceutical, and personal care products. Parabens act like estrogen, so it may possibly disrupt the hormone (endocrine) system. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer and toxicity issues, though other studies do not find a connection between methylparaben and cancer.

Propylparaben. It is a fragrance ingredient that has the same risks as methyparaben.

Mica. Mica is a mineral that acts as an abrasive that cleans teeth and it gives a shimmering effect to toothpaste.

CI 42090. It gives my toothpaste its bluish color. It is not potentially toxic or harmful to people.

Basically, my reaction after doing my research is, whoa. That makes my toothpaste not exactly safe to use and healthy to me and my kids. It's definitely better to just make my own homemade toothpaste!

Enter, the Baking Soda

These chemicals that seek to clean my teeth and protect it from cavities have some health risks involved (not so kid-friendly!), so what should I do? What can I use as toothpaste?

BS. Yes, Baking soda! Baking soda will be my new toothpaste.

Why Baking Soda?
Contrary to (somewhat) popular (mis)belief, baking soda does not erode tooth enamel, according to the study of Menezes et al. (2004). 

Furthermore, baking soda, based on my experience and anecdotal evidence (users comments from Wellness Mama, for instance), can clean teeth and freshen breath better than commercial toothpaste brands and can result to strong, white, healthy teeth and gums because it can effectively remove plaque.

Finally, baking soda has no fluoride, so it's safe for babies and young kids. Although  for my toddler, I just use virgin coconut oil as his toothpaste (it has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties) because he might not like baking soda's salty taste.

Homemade Baking Soda Toothpaste Recipe
I searched for baking soda toothpaste recipes online and the one from Wellness Mama appealed the most to me because it is so easy to do and I have most of the ingredients at home. 

I have the simplest version, which is found below. That's my daughter, my toothpaste model :) 

how to make your own baking soda toothpaste that is non-toxic, natural, easy, and affordable

Here's another version of homemade baking soda toothpaste, as adapted from Wellness Mama.


  • 6 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (warm enough to be liquid, which means above 76 degrees F)
  • Calamansi (lime) or lemon extract
  • 10 drops orange oil or other oils you think your babies would prefer (for babies and kids to like the taste)

Wellness Mama had the following additional ingredients in her toothpaste.
  • 2 small packets of stevia powder (for  sweeter taste because baking soda is salty)
  • 15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil (optional for taste)
  • 10 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract (optional)
  • 10 drops myrhh extract (optional)

What To Do: Three Easy Steps to Make Baking Soda Toothpaste

1) Melt the coconut oil if it has hardened. Combine and manipulate all ingredients, including essential oils, according to the taste and consistency you want. If it's too runny, add more baking soda. Too hard? Add more oil. 

2) After mixing everything, put your toothpaste into a small glass jar. Let it cool if hot. 

3) Dip your clean toothbrush into it every time you need it or use a small spoon to take out the toothpaste. It's important to keep your toothpaste clean because since it is natural-made, it can spoil if you put in something dirty. 

Brush like ordinary toothpaste, but limit it to two minutes at the most because baking soda can affect tooth enamel according to some users. 

Rinse mouth with water after. Rinse again if you still taste something salty on your mouth. Baking soda is salty by the way, so your toothpaste will taste salty.

Babies cannot gargle yet, but with a small amount of this toothpaste, you can be sure it's safer because it does not have all those questionable manufactured chemicals in them.

If your toothpaste has hardened, you can add a little more coconut oil to soften it or just get a spoon and scoop it out and press and spread it on your brush.

Expiration Date

The mixture may be enough to last a month or so, depending on how many are using it. Wellness Mama says hers lasted for six months without spoiling. Virgin Coconut Oil acts as a natural preservative, so your toothpaste should last long enough until you fully consume it. Make sure you mix well for the baking soda to absorb the oil well.

After You Baking-Soda Your Dental Care, What Happens?

seven surprising benefits of baking soda toothpaste

After I brush, my teeth and gums feel cleaner and my breath is a lot fresher. 

So far, I've personally experienced seven benefits of using baking soda toothpaste: 1) clean teeth, 2) fresh breath, 3) safe because of the absence of toxic chemicals, 4) kid-friendly because it has no fluoride, 5) decreases teeth sensitivity to coldness, 6) reduces plaque, and 7) so much affordable to store-bought brands.

I simply love my Homemade Baking Soda Toothpaste, enough said. It's an effective, safe, and practical alternative, especially when compared to more expensive toothpastes. 

Baby-Friendly Toothpaste

This toothpaste is baby-friendly because it does not have fluoride. In order to be more palatable to your kids, you can add orange oil or any other oil you think will make this natural toothpaste taste better for them. Or you can just use virgin coconut oil on your baby.

Where's the Fluoride?

Well, some dentists will hate me for saying this but it is not exactly needed to have clean and healthy teeth and gums. I will make a separate blog entry for that. Also, we regularly eat food with fluoride. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these are several fruits that have some fluoride in them: 

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Bananas are mainstays in our diet, while we eat avocados, watermelon, and strawberries, when they are in season and less expensive. 

Toothpaste Heaven
Heaven feels safe. Good. Natural.

That's what baking soda toothpaste is for me.

Toothpaste heaven without added artificial preservatives, colors, and other chemicals that are not needed to clean our teeth. 

Toothpaste heaven to share with you all.

Have you checked what your toothpaste has too? What are some chemicals in it that surprised you? 

Have you tried making your own toothpaste? How was the experience?