Recently, Piper and Londyn (my two littles) discovered the great joy of playing together in Piper’s room. The whole twenty minutes of pure silence, kids nicely playing together, is the perfect time for this mom to warm that cup of coffee I never finished this morning and sit. At least for a few minutes, uninterrupted.
A couple of months ago, the normal twenty minutes of play was extended. Not by my doing, but the kids seemed to be really enjoying their time together. Check-in or sit and savor the last few drops of coffee? As any practical mom would do, I raised my voice enough to be heard from the bottom of the stairs, “Are you two okay up there?” Silence. I put down the coffee (it was hard) and walked upstairs. I quietly peeked down the hall and saw her, covered, mouth full of pink paste.
Londyn had successfully broken away from playtime with Piper, wondered into the bathroom, and grabbed the bottle of kid-friendly “natural” toothpaste. The bright pink color and strawberry-flavor was just too appealing for a two year-old. And when anything is that appealing, much like chocolate, the only logical thing is to attempt to eat and cover yourself with the entire tube. I caught her just in time, most of the paste covered her body and the sticky hand-printed walls. I’m sure she ingested a small amount too. The idea of a child loving toothpaste so much that she viewed it as an edible treat, candy, terrified me.
I’ve been making and using homemade toothpaste for over a year. I’ve noticed an incredible difference in my dental health. Ditching the commercial paste has proven to be a wise decision. My kids are less than fond of my homemade concoction. The taste is “too hot” for their liking. (“Too hot” is Piper’s way of saying a food is too salty.) With the desire to make brushing teeth an enjoyable experience, I’ve been buying a popular “natural” brand of toothpaste: pink, strawberry-flavored, and super kid-friendly. Never giving thought to homemade “kid” toothpaste until Londyn’s scary toothpaste adventure.
Today, my kids use homemade toothpaste. A recipe very similar to my peppermint paste, but made kid-friendlier. So, what’s different? In the kid-friendlier recipe, I omit the salt and use less baking soda, reducing the salty taste. My kids aren’t a fan of peppermint, so I turn to a kid-friendly and safe essential oil, sweet orange. The addition of stevia adds a bit of sweetness, just enough to make teeth-time enjoyable. A recipe I can feel good about my kids using without the temptation of viewing toothpaste as edible candy.
Do I guarantee your kids will love this paste? No, I don’t. In fact, if your kids are used to processed, overly- sweetened paste adorned with lovable cartoon characters, it will take effort and time to get used to a homemade version. In the beginning my kids were skeptical. How did I transition them from pink slime to homemade paste? Here are a few tips:
1. Transition Slowly. My kids weren’t keen on the whole cold-turkey thing. I started putting a small amount of homemade paste on their toothbrush, followed by the commercial paste on top. Slowly, every couple of days, I decreased the amount of commercial toothpaste, adding more homemade paste. Eventually, the commercial paste was no longer needed. They also stopped trying to eat or “drink” the toothpaste once the transition took place. Toothpaste is now viewed a something we use to brush our teeth, not a treat.
2. Squeeze Bottles. I recently learned about these GoToob squeeze bottles. They’re amazing! I was hesitant to spend the money, but I’m glad I did. They’re soft and squeezable, very similar to a toothpaste tube. I bought the three pack, one for the kids’ toothpaste, one for mine, and the extra for homemade lotion. The squeezeableness (shhh, let’s pretend that’s a word) of the tube makes homemade toothpaste much more desirable for my kids. I think they feel “normal.”
3. Make it Together. Just like real food, getting your kids involved in the process of creating is always a win. This recipe is simple enough kids can assist in the making.
Homemade Kid Toothpaste
- 1/3 cup coconut oil soft but not melted
- 1 TB baking soda
- 1 TB bentonite clay
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
- 4-10 drops sweet orange essential oil Lemon or Peppermint are also an option if that's more appealing to your kids.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the coconut oil, baking soda, and clay. Mix thoroughly.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and mix.
- Store in a jar or for squeezable toothpaste, use these.
- Note: When mixing bentonite clay, please use a wood or plastic spoon. Bentonite clay should not come in contact with metal because it deactivates the clay.
- The consistency of this recipe can vary depending on the temperature where the toothpaste is stored, due to the nature of coconut oil. This toothpaste isn't meant to be stored long-term, so I recommend making small batches frequently.
I’m sure someone will ask about baking soda being abrasive. I personally, after much reading, feel safer using baking soda than commercial toothpaste. It’s much less abrasive than commercial toothpaste, even the organic options. You can read more information and view a chart here. Also, if you’d like to skip homemade toothpaste and purchase a “cleaner” store-bought option, I love Nature’s Gate or Earthpaste (both are available at health food stores, or online).
Mine came out very salty. I followed the measurement of the ingredients. Is it the baking soda that makes it salty?
Hey April, Yes, homemade toothpaste is salty. It took a while to get used to in the beginning. You can reduce the salt and baking if you’d like.
I just found this post and like your recipe, but wanted to know if you thought it would still be a good alternative to commercial toothpaste if I omit the bentonite clay and stevia? I realize it won’t be as sweet, or remineralizing but I’d like to avoid those ingredients. And if so, do I need to make any other adjustments to the rest of the ingredients? I also considered adding cocoa nibs ground up in our coffee grinder, but wasn’t sure if that would be too abrasive. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
Hey JessicaB, I think you could leave out the clay and definitely the stevia. You may need to decrease the coconut oil a bit. I personally wouldn’t add cocoa nibs to the toothpaste.
Hello there Kristin,
I just made this toothpaste today for my toddler and so far I love it. Is there an easy way to get the paste in the tube? I had a bit of difficulty, but with a squeeze, stuff, release rhythm I managed to get it all in. Just took a while 🙂
Hey Chas, Yes, that’s the tricky part! I’m glad you got the toothpaste in. I’ve used a small funnel and chopstick or skewer with good success, although it still requires a bit of patience.
Maybe try a pastry bag?
Hi. I know that this post is a few years old but I just recently found it on Pinterest. I have a question since it is an older post. I use to make my tooth soap on a regular basis for years. The recipe I used is very similar to yours. I recently stopped for a round two years now. My teeth were very healthy and my dental appointments were always great. But that was also because my original dental hygiene was already good. The reason why I stopped making my own and went back to NOW FOODS brand was because I noticed that my teeth were not as white as they use to be using the NOW FOODS brand. My teeth were in good health but began to look grey. Now that you’ve had a few years to test your recipe, have you noticed any effects of greying? I would prefer to go back to making my own but being vain about my smile, I don’t want to risk the chance of my teeth not being pearly white. Please let me know. Thank you!
Hey Diana, I go between using homemade toothpaste and purchasing Earthpaste. So far I haven’t experienced an greying. At least, if there is graying, it hasn’t been dark enough to really tell. I know activated charcoal can help to whiten teeth, so I wonder if adding a bit of the charcoal to homemade toothpaste would help whiten your teeth?
Ok, I made the toothpaste! I’m having 2 problems, 1 within about 3 days the toothpaste became so thick and hard it would not squeeze out of the tube. I had to open the cap. Also, I found chunks of coconut oil in the paste. I’m not sure if I didn’t mix it well enough before adding all ingredients? I also noticed when I first used it it seemed like dirt was coming out of my mouth (obviously the clay) but as the toothpaste got harder when I brushed my teeth the clay was less obvious..
Having said all that, I do feel my teeth are so much cleaner. I was just hoping to tweek it a little in hopes to get my little ones to use it. Any suggestions?? Thank you so much for all your time and effort in these awesome healthy product!!
Hey Dawn, My guess is that the toothpaste is super hard due to the cold weather (if it’s cold in your home). One way to solve this may be to add a bit of water, but then you’ll need to use the toothpaste quickly since the water will reduce the shelf-life. The coconut oil chunks may also be due to the cold weather, and maybe they weren’t fully whisked out before adding the toothpaste to the tube.
I would try adding water to the toothpaste and see if that helps–add 1-3 tablespoons of warm water at first (preferably distilled or boiled tap water…boil for 15 minutes).
I have read with many homemade toothpaste that use cocounut oil that you should spit it out in the trashcan so it does not harden back up and clog your pipes. Do you spit yours out in the sink or trash can? (I thought the sink would be fine since when wet it melt anyways….what are your thoughts?)
Hey Shelby, Personally, I haven’t experienced any issues from the small amount of toothpaste that I spit down the drain. Now, cooking with coconut oil is a different story since I don’t want to dump a bunch of oil (just like bacon fat) down the drain at once. We live in Florida, so our pipes don’t get cold or freeze. I wonder if the issue applies mostly to people living in colder temperatures? I’m not a plumber, so that’s my guess ;)…I don’t have any solid information to base that opinion on.
Hey so my twins are 2 and don’t understand the concept of spitting yet, (at least their toothpaste haha!)have you found that it’s ok for kids this age to ingest a small amount of this toothpaste?
Hey Brandy, The only ingredients that would concern me with being swallowed on a daily basis are the clay and essential oil. In that case, I would probably try sticking with the remaining ingredients. Since they are so young they may not notice the difference between flavored and non-flavored toothpaste.
I’m new to essential oils but I’ve been told they must only be used in glass. Is this a big deal?
Hey Kate, For long-term product storage it’s best to use glass since essential oils can “eat” the plastic. The tubes I use are made from silicone.
I cannot wait to try this!! I do have 1 question. My children are 3 & 5, and have had dental problems pretty much since their teeth came in. We made our own mouth wash and have been using it. I’ve tried oil pulling (at least a 5 year old tolerant version) for a few days. But the dentist said they need fluoride. Can I add fluoride to this? I feel like that’s a dumb question because I also have no idea how you buy fluoride lol. Thank you!!
Hey Brittany, Our county includes fluoride in the water system (we also use a filter system), so we try to avoid fluoride in toothpaste. I’m not sure if it’s possible to DIY fluoride in toothpaste. I know some dentists provide fluoride treatments, so maybe that would be an option?
just use 2/3 cup baking soda, 10-15 drops of peppermint oil or any essential oil that you like, i.e. sweet orange or spearmint, a teaspoon of fine sea salt if you would like and filtered water to make it as thin or thick as you want! I hope that helps!
Thank you for sharing, Rebekah!
Thank you so much for your notes and the recipe. I’m looking forward to trying this. Before I buy the supplies, I’d like to make sure that I understand the difference between 1) pure stevia, 2) stevia extract, and 3) stevia with glycerite (like the Now brand, for example). I tried internet searches, but it seems that many people are confused. Thanks for your help!
You’re very welcome :).
Stevia has become one of those buzz words that companies like to market, but the actual product can be filled with a million (okay, more like ten) different additives. When making a stevia choice, I highly recommend reading the ingredient list and finding a brand with only 2-3 ingredients max. A bottle with only 2-3 ingredients (not added sweeteners) is the best choice. The actual labeling of stevia is a bit confusing, but sticking with the ingredient label will speak for the product.
I am so happy to find your recipe. I have never been fond of the taste of toothpaste because the flavor is always too strong. Now I can have it My Way! Thanks so much.
That’s great, DonnaT! I’m so glad you found this recipe :). Enjoy!!
Hi! I’m looking for homemade toothpaste for my baby. Would you recommend to add all the ingredients?
Hey Jermaine, I usually reserve the use of toothpaste on my children’s teeth until about 18 months. Before then we simply brush their teeth with water and a toothbrush since they want to swallow everything as a baby.
Is the real salt nesasary?
Hey Olivia, The real salt contains important minerals (something table salt doesn’t have) which is beneficial for teeth. It can be left out, but the toothpaste won’t provide the same mineral benefits.
What’s the shelf life for this?
Hey Casey, As long as water doesn’t come in contact with the toothpaste, this will last about 6 months.
I have been making my own toothpaste with a very similar recipe. My son is 16 months and I currently only brush his teeth with water because of my concern of him swallowing the toothpaste, not to mention I use peppermint, and would prefer not use on him yet. Is your recipe safe for such a young age?
Hey Sabrina, I starting using this recipe on my daughter’s teeth when she was 18 months old. I think the safety issue is a decision each parent needs to make, whether it’s homemade or store-bought toothpaste.
If I am reading your recipe correctly, this is just a recipe for toothpaste, right? The only thing making it a “kids” toothpaste is the flavor?
I see the ingredient are the same with this one and your adult toothpaste so I am assuming its just the flavoring that changes it from “adult” to “kid”.
Hey Christine, This recipe isn’t as salty as the adult version. That’s the biggest different.
Do you spit this in the sink or trash? I am concerned about the coconut oil building up and causing problems in the long run.
Hey Nell, We live in Florida (our pipes don’t get super cold and freeze), so we spit this in the sink. If you live in a location with freezing temps, I would spit this in the trash.
We use a recipe very similar to this and love it, but with one exception. I have a terrible time trying to keep the toothbrushes clean! They really gunk up with the clay and the kids especially seem totally unable to get them clean after brushing. Does anyone else have this problem or a good tip??
Hey Ashley, I’ve also noticed the clay combined with coconut oil can build up a bit on toothbrushes. Every couple of weeks I soak our toothbrushes in a solution of 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 water for a few minutes, then rinse the toothbrushes out very well. I’ve found this really helps to keep them clean. Other readers may have some good advice and tips too :).
Have you tried to use xyletol in place of the stevia? I’m curious about the liquid versus the granules.
Kristi, I haven’t tried using xyitol in place of stevia, but I think it would work well. I’m not sure of the ratio you’ll need.
Thank you for the recipe! Quick question, do you think the orange oil has citric acid in it? Obviously the juice would have the acid, but I wonder if the essential oils from citrus fruits do also?
Hey Lana, You’re welcome! A pure essential oil (like orange essential oil) shouldn’t have citric acid added.