As more people are becoming conscious about what they put on and in their bodies, many people are reaching for cleaner alternatives to household products—some people going as far as creating their own laundry detergent or cleaning supplies.
But what about toothpaste?
Yes, some people are even taking the homemade route when it comes to their oral care, concocting toothpaste from ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oils.
If you are very ingredient-conscious, this simple approach to tooth care might appeal to you. But it does beg the question: are these homemade toothpastes safe?
The answer: yes and no.
There is nothing about the ingredients used in most homemade toothpastes that would be “dangerous.” In fact, one of the reasons people choose to make homemade toothpaste is to avoid other ingredients they think might be harmful. However, some recipes for homemade toothpaste do contain ingredients that are considered bad for your teeth when used regularly, like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
But the more important fact is that homemade toothpastes are not considered to be the best way to care for your teeth.
In fact, whether or not homemade toothpaste is “safe” is not really the right question. The right question is: does it work? And the answer to that is: not as well as it needs to.
The American Dental Association only advocates the use of toothpastes containing fluoride, an ingredient conspicuously missing from all homemade toothpastes. Fluoride has been proven time and time again to be the best ingredient for cavity prevention, because it helps strengthen the enamel so it is less susceptible to decay. Plus, fluoride is considered safe to use regularly.
Bottom line: a toothpaste with fluoride is always going to be the best bet when it comes to caring for your teeth properly.
Of course, there are other things you can do to promote oral health and an overall healthy lifestyle, such as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and limiting beverages like coffee, tea, and soda. Tobacco products are also notoriously bad for your teeth and your health.
If you are looking for other ways to naturally care for your teeth, or if you have questions or concerns about ingredients in your toothpaste, talk to your dentist. They will be able to ease your concerns and help you find products and solutions that work for your teeth and your lifestyle.