If you are not interested in my story – why I make toothpaste without SLS and my reasons for using the ingredients I do – click the button to get straight to it!
Why I stopped buying toothpaste
Shop bought toothpaste is one of those products I decided to take off my shopping list. I don’t like that chemical aftertaste many of them leave, that false mint flavour and the weird dry feeling it left in my mouth which is likely the SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) many toothpastes contain. It just seemed too harsh.
So around 6 years ago I stopped buying it and began making my own toothpaste without SLS. I have no regrets except wishing I had done it sooner and, surprisingly, my dentist agrees.
The last time I saw my dentist for a check-up, which was around three years ago, I told him I had stopped buying toothpaste and he was initially shocked and asked what I was using instead. I listed the ingredients, it is a shortlist, and he told me whatever I was doing, I should definitely keep it up. So I have.
How to make toothpaste without SLS that really works
I make toothpaste without SLS for family members and friends who all swear by it, your mouth feels moisturised, fresh and the ingredients ensure they continue fighting bacteria in your mouth many hours after you last brush your teeth. I am not a medical professional and this is purely my personal experience, but I swear by it!
It does take a little getting used to, it tastes and feels very different in your mouth from shop-bought toothpaste, but it is so very worth it!
The main ingredient is organic, raw coconut oil, which is known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Many people practice “oil pulling”. This involves not brushing their teeth at all but take a teaspoon of coconut oil and swish it about their mouth and between their teeth for several minutes each day.
The oil coats the inside of your mouth and between your teeth and isn’t just washed away like conventional toothpaste so it continues to work throughout the day. Many people are very happy with this method and I was encouraged by their positive results, but after a week I found that it wasn’t enough for me, I felt I needed something more so I added bicarbonate of soda.
Bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda neutralises acid and is known to be a non- toxic, natural alkalising agent. It has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and it increases salivary pH, which is important for inhibiting bacterial growth. It is also gently abrasive which allows it to help break the bonds of molecules that stain the teeth.
Many conventional toothpaste brands use bicarbonate of soda in their whitening toothpaste for this very reason. I was pleased with this combination but I wasn’t keen on the salty taste and knew I needed a sweetener, so I decided on stevia.
Stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener made from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, (a member of the chrysanthemum family). I didn’t choose this for any particular health benefits, I wanted something to take the edge off the bicarb. There is some research showing the health benefits of stevia but my interest was purely in the taste!
This wasn’t enough though so I decided to add some essential oils for their taste and beneficial properties, you can choose which oils you prefer to use but I decided on a combination of three different organic essential oils.
1. Frankincense essential oil
I use frankincense oil, it has a woody, spicy taste that I love (in small doses!) Used in Ayurvedic medicine for many hundreds of years frankincense offers many benefits, including good oral health.
It helps prevent bad breath, toothaches, cavities and mouth sores. It contains boswellic acid, which has strong antibacterial properties which helps to treat oral infections.
In one study frankincense extract was effective against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, a bacteria which causes aggressive gum disease, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Another study had high school students with gingivitis chew gum containing 100mg of frankincense extract for two weeks, this was more effective than the placebo used in the study. Added to this I use cinnamon essential oil.
2. Cinnamon essential oil
Like frankincense, cinnamon has a spicy taste, it is “warmer” in taste than frankincense oil and the smell reminds me of Christmas. It contains a number of compounds believed to be beneficial to health. This includes cinnamaldehyde, a compound found to reduce inflammation and act as an antimicrobial, something that destroys or supresses the growth of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi.
Preliminary findings have also found that compounds in cinnamon essential oil may also help destroy Streptococcus Mutans, a type of bacteria linked to the development of cavities. Lastly I add peppermint oil.
3. Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is a popular flavour for conventional toothpaste, I use it not only for the fresh feel proper peppermint essential oil gives your mouth, but peppermint also has antibacterial and antifungal properties to help you fight plaque and bad breath.
Tips for making homemade toothpaste
All these ingredients come together to make a fantastic toothpaste without SLS that really works.
The only downside is that coconut oil is not stable, if it is too hot it goes very liquid and the ingredients separate and if it is too cold it can get quite hard so it’s important to try keep the temperature constant. It’s nothing to worry about if it doesn’t though, just mix it all up together again and get it back to a stable temperature.
If you have an allergic reaction to any of the essential oils then stop use immediately. Remember this is my choice of essential oils, you can pick just one or use any combination you choose, for example, you may want to incorporate clove oil if you have a toothache. Just play around with it until you find a flavour and results you like best.
Recipe for Homemade Toothpaste without SLS
½ cup raw coconut oil
1 ½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tbsp stevia
5 drops frankincense oil
5 drops cinnamon oil
5 drops peppermint oil
Ensure the coconut oil is at room temperature, gently but thoroughly blend all the ingredients using a spoon, if you use a blender the coconut oil may get too hot and become too liquid.
I really hope you like my recipe for toothpaste without SLS and it helps you like it has helped me. Enjoy!