Easy, Affordable (and Tasty) DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste

This zero waste toothpaste recipe is fast, easy, affordable and light on the baking soda (which makes it much more appealing to kids and adults alike). I’m honestly not a big fan of the super-salty baking soda based toothpastes. But on the other hand, I also don’t like the idea of using charcoal based toothpaste – mostly because I don’t want to stain my clothes! And I think bentonite clay tastes like…dirt.


My zero waste toothpate recipe uses more coconut oil and less baking soda than others I’ve discovered online. I’ve found this ratio of oil to baking soda produces the same fresh result, but with less abrasiveness and a more pleasant flavour.

And of course, the best part is that I’m not throwing toothpaste tubes in the landfill unnecessarily! And it’s so fast and easy. You’ll find it takes just a fraction of the time you’d spend buying commercial toothpaste at the store.

Are you a fan of oil pulling? Even if you haven’t tried it, I’d recommend swishing the liquid in your mouth for at least 20-30 seconds before you spit. Why? It helps draw out any lingering food residues and will leave your mouth spotlessly clean and fresh.

What about oral health?

I’ve had excellent mouth health since switching to this toothpaste a couple of months ago. My mouth is quite sensitive to sodium lauryl sulfate, which is quite common in most commercial toothpastes. I find it irritating, and it can cause outbreaks of angular cheilitis (nasty looking red marks on the sides of your mouth) if you are sensitive to it. It can even cause mouth sores like the ones you get from eating too many acidic foods. Sodium lauryl sulphate and other ingredients used in toothpaste are known to cause soft tissue injury in the mouth . Not exactly what you want from your toothpaste!

Of course, this toothpaste doesn’t have any of that. It also seems to protect my gums more than regular toothpaste. I don’t get cavities, but I do suffer from gingivitis, no matter how careful I am to floss. I’ve found that this homemade toothpaste actually seems to help with that, perhaps again because it doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals found in store-bought varieties.

The power of marketing

Interestingly, foaming agents weren’t widely used in toothpaste until after WWI. And at first marketers had a terrible time trying to sell them to the public. People were pretty satisfied with their homemade zero waste toothpaste (or sometimes, store-bought toothpowder). Toothpaste seemed expensive, wasteful, and completely unnecessary. But marketers were determined to succeed.

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes how marketers discovered a way to get people to buy toothpaste. Admen brilliantly decided upon the idea to tell consumers there was a “film” that needed to be removed from teeth, and that the foaming detergents in toothpaste proved it was being removed.

Of course, the marketers neglected to point out that the detergents didn’t actually remove the film. That task is accomplished by abrasives in the toothpaste and by the brush itself. Surfactants in the toothpaste (like sodium lauryl sulphate) actually dry out the mouth and can even lead to bad breath! But in a classic example of misdirection, they do cause a foaming action, and that makes it look like something miraculous is happening. Today, a glance at the store shelves reveals hundreds of types of toothpaste – all of which owe their existence to clever folks from Madison Avenue.

What about Fluoride?

I’m not anti-fluoride. But I’ll confess I am less than enthusiastic, because my daughter experienced fluorosis in an adult tooth thanks to the fluoridated water supply in a city we used to live in. But that’s just an anecdote, and scientific consensus shows there are some benefits. However, the Canadian Dental Association advises Canadians that fluoride is not necessary unless you are experiencing dental cavities, so I wouldn’t worry if you have good teeth.

Zero waste toothpaste

4 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon baking soda

20-30 drops essential oil of your choice.

(if you don’t already have a collection of essential oils, I really enjoy this set of oils from “Fabulous Frannie”. You receive 14 bottles of oil for $34.95, and I use them for all of my DIY projects – zero waste deodorant, toothpaste, cleaning products, etc. I’m very impressed by the price/quality ratio.

1/8 teaspoon stevia or 1/2 teaspoon organic erythritol 

Instructions: Combine! It really is that easy! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

What do you think? Join the conversation!

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