I used to have sensitive teeth. I used to use a maximum strength sensitive toothpaste. I used to use a numbing gel I got from my dentist everyday. And I STILL had sensitive teeth & gums. And then I started making DIY, nontoxic, homemade toothpaste. My sensitive teeth are a thing of the past. Bye bye Sensodyne!
The Problem With Toothpastes For Sensitive Teeth (well, with most commercial toothpastes actually….)
Here are the ingredients for the Sensodyne toothpaste I used:
- Active Ingredients: Potassium Nitrate* – 5 % (Antihypersensitivity), Sodium Fluoride – 0.15 % (Anticavity)
- Inactive Ingredients: Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Flavor, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, PEG-8, Pentasodium Triphosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol, Sucralose, Titanium Dioxide, Water, Xanthan Gum
The Environmental Working Group is a great source for checking the toxicity of your products. EWG gives each product a toxic rating from 0 (nontoxic) to 10 (very toxic). The site breaks down the risks and side effects associated with each ingredient. And here’s what the Environmental Working Group says about some of the ingredients in my Sensodyne:
- Sodium Fluoride: Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), & Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive). A toxic score of 5.
- Flavor: Flavor is a term used by cosmetic manufacturers for substances or combination of substances added to a cosmetic product to produce or to mask a particular flavor. A toxic score of 4.
- Cocamidoprophyl Betaine: Cocamidopropyl betaine is a synthetic surfactant; it has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, reactions that could be due to the ingredient itself or to impurities present in it, such as 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. A toxic score of 4.
And the MAIN problem with my sensitive toothpaste was that it DID NOT CURE anything.
I still had sensitive teeth & gums. Everyday. I used that toothpaste for several years and my sensitivity never decreased and actually got worse. It got so bad that my dentist then gave me a numbing gel with fluoride that I applied to my gums everyday. So I was brushing my teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and then rubbing a fluoride gel on my gums. Fluoride has been linked to acne, rashes, arthritis, and thyroid problems. Read more here, here, and here. I have a long history of dental problems. I had periodontal disease at the age of 20 and had periodontal scaling done. If you’ve never done this, lucky you. The dentist digs under the gums and removes plaque at the root of your teeth. My dentist did it in 6 sections, so I went back for 6 appointments for him to dig around with his poking stick. It’s a bit uncomfortable. Around the same time I had a root canal. I was blessed with quite the overbite and had some sort of metal in my mouth for 13 years (from an appliance before my braces, then braces for 5 years, then a retainer), which I am pretty positive why I have a history of unhealthy gums. It is difficult to clean behind all those wires!
I have not had a single problem or sensitivity since switching to this homemade toothpaste!
Homemade Toothpaste Recipe
All of these ingredients are safe, natural, and nontoxic. Meaning my 1 year old son can swallow his toothpaste and I don’t have to worry about it.
- Coconut oil is anti-fungal and gets rid of bacteria.
- Natural baking soda disinfects and whitens. Use a natural, good quality baking soda. Find out if your baking soda is natural here.
- Bentonite clay pulls toxins out of your body. It is volcanic ash with an electric charge. Bentonite clay also happens to be my favorite face mask.
- Xylitol decreases bacteria and remineralizes teeth.
- This concentrated trace mineral liquid contains over 72 trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc. These minerals are essential for strong teeth. Learn more about trace minerals here.
- Mix all ingredients with a non-metal spoon in a non-metal bowl (bentonite clay is volcanic ash with an electric charge). If your coconut oil is solid or difficult to mix, heat it on the stove on low heat until for a few minutes.
- Store in a container (preferably glass). Dip your toothbrush in and brush normally.
- Safe for all children and adults. This will keep for several months at room temperature.
- **When it was just me using this, I added 10 drops of the trace minerals. But my son does not like it that salty, so now I use just 5 drops.
- ***I like lemon, peppermint, and/or Thieves
- ****I add 1-2 tbsp of water in the winter only. Coconut oil changes consistency depending on the temperature. In the summer when it is warmer, the coconut oil is liquid so I don’t need more moisture in my toothpaste then. In the winter, the coconut oil is solid so I add water as needed.
- Will my teeth turn the color of the clay?
- NO! It will not. My teeth are whiter than ever. And I am a coffee and red wine drinker.
- Is the clay safe with metal fillings?
- Yep! From the clay manufacturer: “We have found that a short period of time with metal is not enough to cause a reaction, such as brushing your teeth, or mixing the clay with a spoon. You would not want to leave a spoon in clay for a long period of time, or leave clay packed on a tooth with a filling, but for brushing you are perfectly safe.”
- Can I use something other than xylitol?
- Yes. You can use stevia, honey, or no sweetner at all.
- Is it safe for kids?
- Yes. Everything is natural. My son has used it since his 1st tooth grew in. If you are using it with kids, be sure to check out this article for a list of essential oils that are safe for kids.
The Rest of My Natural Oral Care Routine
- I also oil pull about 3 times a week with coconut oil. This is a magical and amazing detox. If you haven’t tried it, you should!
- I use this homemade mouthwash. I have to admit that my husband is not as into this natural lifestyle and does not use my homemade toothpaste. But he LOVES this homemade mouthwash!
- The most important supplement (and really the only supplement we take daily) is fermented cod liver oil (find it here and read about it here). It is full of vitamin A & D which are important for tooth and gum health.
Find more homemade toothpaste recipes here:
- Small Footprint Family
- La Healthy Living
- Homemade Mommy
- Real Food RN
- Grass Fed Girl
- Veggie Converter
- Eat Naked Now
- The Sprouting Seed
- 12 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives from The Nourished Life
- Easy Homemade Toothpaste from Our Small Hours
Find out more about healing cavities naturally here:
- Kula Mama
- The Paleo Mama
- Balance by Dina
- 5 Secrets I Learned as a Dental Hygienist from Real Nutritious Living