We have been using squeezable homemade toothpaste (fluoride free) for awhile and have no plans to go back to conventional store-bought toothpastes. “Why?” you ask. After reading all that I can on ingredients in store-bought toothpastes, and learning about fluoride and water fluoridation, I decided that squeezable homemade toothpaste, made with all natural ingredients and without fluoride, is better for us. It sounds silly, right? I see you rolling your eyes. Ha! Stop it. You probably imagine me as this hippie tree hugger, a conspiracy theorist, and maybe even an alarmist. And you know what. I don’t blame you. Because what’s the big deal about store-bought toothpastes? They get the job done (cleaning and protecting teeth and gums), and they’re cheap (a few bucks a tube). Then why bother with making your own squeezable homemade toothpaste?
The reality is there are quite a few voices out there debating the safety of the garden-variety toothpastes. The ingredient that gets the most attention is fluoride. Fluoride is “a form of the chemical element fluorine” and it’s effective in combatting tooth decay. According to American Dental Association (ADA), all of ADA-Accepted toothpastes contain fluoride. There are more than 300 dental products, including toothpastes, dental floss, mouthwash and toothbrushes, that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. ADA says that its accepted toothpastes are all safe and effective. I wish the fluoride issue is as easy as relying on ADA’s words. And for some (maybe many), ADA acceptance is a sufficient justification to continue to use ADA-acepted toothpastes, which all have fluoride. I am, however, a natural-born skeptic and I dug deeper. Are your eyes still rolling??
There is no question that too much fluoride is bad for us. According to two dental professionals, who authored “Are our patients guzzling too much fluoride?,” “[t]here is no definitive answer on what is a safe fluoride dosage.” Before my little one turned 2, her pediatrician and pediatric dentist reminded me not to use any fluoride toothpaste on her teeth. After she turned 2, they told me to use only a teensy-weensy amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing her teeth. Even Colgate, the big toothpaste brand, acknowledges that fluoride toothpaste is not for everyone and for some, it’s better to use non-fluoride toothpaste.
There is plenty of people out there saying that fluoride is no good, especially in high dosages. WebMD says overexposure to fluoride “can weaken bones and ligaments, and cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems.” The more alarming concern is that high fluoride exposure could result in lower IQ, and even brain damage. According to a Harvard University adjunct professor, “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain.”
High doses of fluoride can also cause tooth discoloration and dental fluorosis in children. In an August 2015 publication, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that dental fluorosis is on the rise. It stated:
Increases in the occurrence of mostly mild dental fluorosis were recognized as more sources of fluoride became available to prevent tooth decay. These sources include drinking water with fluoride, fluoride toothpaste – especially if swallowed by young children – and dietary prescription supplements in tablets or drops (particularly if prescribed to children already drinking fluoridated water).
In addition to dental fluorosis, people have also been concerned about the possible connection between fluoride and cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a 1990 US National Toxicology Program (NTP) study observed a higher than expected number of cases of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) in male rats that had fluoridated drinking water. But because the sample was small, no definitive conclusion could be made based on this observation. The American Cancer Society stated, as of today, the evidence, including evidence from other studies, is inadequate to draw conclusions one way or the other on if fluoride causes cancer. It did note that multiple studies have recommended further research on this issue.
Fluoride is not the only controversial ingredient in many store-bought toothpastes. Some people have voiced their concern about other common toothpaste ingredients, such as triclosan (an anti-baterial chemical), sodium lauryl sulfate, aka, SLS (a foaming agent), propylene glycol (a surfactant), and diethanolamine, aka, DEA (another foaming agent). The Mayo Clinic says that triclosan might be hazardous to human health, because it “Alters hormone regulation in animals,” “Might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs,” and “Might be harmful to the immune system.” SLS, which is also known by a bunch of other names, and propylene glycol cause skin, eyes, and lungs irritation, and both have been classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful” under the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List. The California EPA (California Environmental Protection Agency) has listed DEA as “possible human carcinogen.” Has all this info turned you away from conventional store-bought toothpastes? It has me.
We live in a community that adds fluoride to its drinking water (water fluoridation, a controversial practice that deserves a full discussion in a separate post). This means that every time we drink tap water, we are drinking fluoride as well. The American Cancer Society says that about 3 out of 4 Americans have access to fluoride treated public drinking water. You can find out if your drinking water has added fluoride on a CDC website, My Water’s Fluoride. I know my little one drinks tap water in school and we use tap water to cook. I don’t feel the need to expose my family to additional fluoride, or any of the other nasty stuff, in conventional toothpastes. And that is why we now use squeezable homemade toothpaste that’s fluoride free and made with all natural ingredients.
Squeezable Homemade Toothpaste, Fluoride Free, 3 Simple All Natural Ingredients
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 3 oz of squeezable homemade toothpaste
3 Ingredients for this Squeezable Homemade Toothpaste, Fluoride Free
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- Coconut Oil – 1.5 oz. I use Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. You can get it at Trader Joe’s for $5.99. You can use any brand of coconut oil, but the best kind is organic extra virgin coconut oil.
- Baking Soda – 1.5 oz. You can use Arm & Hammer Baking Soda or Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda. Get it in your neighborhood supermarket.
- Peppermint Essential Oil – 5-10 drops. I use NOW Foods Peppermint Essential Oil. You can also try organic peppermint essential oil.
- Squeezable tube, like a Fan-Shaped Squeezable Tube. I suggest using a squeezable tube that has an opening on the bottom that should make getting your squeezable homemade toothpaste out of the tube easier.
Instructions on Making Squeezable Homemade Toothpaste
1. Whip your coconut oil with a handheld whisk/mixer. You don’t have to do this. But I highly recommend that you do. I have done a few batches without first whipping the coconut oil, and the coconut oil and baking soda separated after a few days.
If you whip your coconut oil, but then keep your squeezable homemade toothpaste in a very hot place, it might melt and lose its whipped quality. I have been keeping my toothpaste in my bathroom, and haven’t had any problem.
2. Mix whipped coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil.
3. Put your squeezable homemade toothpaste inside its tube. This might be tricky. I used a parchment paper cone and piped my toothpaste into the tube. Here is a tutorial on how to make a parchment paper cone. I imagine you can use a mini funnel to do the job as well. But I haven’t tried it.
At the end of the 10-minute prep, you’ll have your own squeezable homemade toothpaste, fluoride free. I don’t use preservative in my toothpaste or any other recipes. Because of this, I usually finish my toothpaste within a month of making it.
That’s it! This is how to make your own squeezable homemade toothpaste (fluoride free) using all natural ingredients. Has the info in this post made you think twice before reaching for that conventional store-bought toothpaste? Or are you still rolling your eyes at me? Will you be giving this easy and simple, 3-ingredient, squeezable homemade toothpaste recipe a try? If you do and like the recipe, be sure to share it and pin it! I’d love to hear about your opinion on conventional toothpastes, fluoride, and any other thoughts you have about this and other posts. So reach out and speak your mind!