Is Toothpaste Safe? Plus, a Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

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Is Toothpaste Safe? Plus, a Homemade Toothpaste Recipe | Real Food RN

Have you checked the label on your toothpaste lately? Sure, they advertise that it will fight germs for up to 12 hours, helping to fight plaque and tartar and prevent gingivitis, while also whitening your teeth and giving you minty, fresh breath. But, there is something they are NOT telling you about that pretty blue and white swirl on your toothbrush.

Many of the ingredients in that little innocuous tube are more harmful than you know. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Toothpaste ingredients typically consist of:

1. Mild Abrasives (to remove debris and residual surface stains)

Examples include:

  • Calcium carbonate: a form of calcium, can cause skin irritation
  • Dehydrated silica gels: the stuff found in those little packets in your shoe box
  • Hydrated aluminum oxides: contains aluminum, a known neurotoxin
  • Magnesium carbonate: a form of magnesium
  • Phosphate salts: phosphate salts can irritate the digestive tract and cause stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, and other problems

2. Fluoride (to strengthen tooth enamel and remineralize tooth decay)

This one is a hot topic of controversy! We personally believe that fluoride is harmful and filter it out of our water using this filter. I have read up on fluoride extensively and when I came across an article explaining it as having adverse effects on children’s neurodevelopment, I decided that we do not need fluoride anywhere in our house or personal care products.

3. Humectants (to prevent water loss in the toothpaste)

Examples include:

  • Glycerol: when taken by mouth, glycerol can cause side effects including headaches, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and diarrhea
  • Propylene glycol: (aka antifreeze) propylene glycol has caused skin and mucous membrane irritation when given orally. It has induced skin sensitization reactions in several individuals and when taken orally, it can also induce skin rashes. By the oral route or by injection, propylene glycol has resulted in severe effects on the CNS and metabolic disruptions. (source)
  • Sorbitol: a sugar alcohol

4. Flavoring Agents, such as saccharin and other sweeteners to provide taste. Saccharin has been linked to bladder cancer in rat studies.

5. Thickening Agents or Binders (to stabilize the toothpaste formula) — these are generally benign, but I listed them anyway.

Examples include:

  • Mineral colloids
  • Natural gums: depends on which gum is used
  • Seaweed colloids
  • Synthetic cellulose: this is wood pulp that is processed, dried, and then bleached. Yum!

6. Detergents (to create foaming action)

Examples include:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: EWG Rating. Dr. Mercola really goes into detail about this one HERE
  • Sodium N-Lauryl sarcosinate: EWG Rating. It may enhance the penetration of other ingredients through the skin

So, there you have it. A general breakdown of what might be in the toothpaste you are buying at the store. Even some of the “natural” toothpastes contain these, so always check your labels. OR, make your own homemade toothpaste! Making your own homemade toothpaste is not only easy (and fun!), but it is also cost effective. Many of these ingredients you will already have in your cupboard and this batch will last you a while!

If you do not want to make your own, HERE is my absolute favorite healthy toothpaste! 

Peppermint Homemade Toothpaste Recipe


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil — where to find
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp magnesium and calcium powder
  • 1 tsp non-GMO xylitol — where to find
  • 10 -15 drops peppermint essential oil — we use this kind, because it’s therapeutic grade
  • 10 drops Thieves or Spearmint essential oils (optional) — you can find Thieves here and Spearmint here
  • Toothpaste Tube — we use these because they are easy to fill and BPA free


  • If your coconut oil is in a solid state, melt it into liquid
  • In a small bowl combine all ingredients
  • Add peppermint to your preference. Some like it REALLY minty! Add Thieves if you want to give your paste a boost
  • Put into an empty toothpaste tube
  • Use as needed to brush your teeth and have minty fresh breath!

How to Get Started with Essential Oils

Well, what do you think? Will YOU make your own homemade toothpaste? Let me know in the comments below!

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Is Toothpaste Safe? Plus, a Homemade Toothpaste Recipe | Real Food RN
Learn More About Kate, Founder of Real Food RN

Hi! I'm Kate.

Registered Nurse. Mom. Real Foodie.

Welcome to Real Food RN! A blog with the mission to empower you to live your healthiest life possible, starting today.



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