On the hunt for a homemade toothpaste recipe? Be sure it has what it takes to prevent cavities and clear harmful bacteria from the mouth. Brushing our teeth isn’t only meant to freshen our breath. We brush our teeth morning, night, and after meals to remove plaque. Plaque is the build-up of sticky bacteria from food. It can turn into a hard-as-a-rock substance called tartar if it’s not removed. Dental plaque and tartar are harmful to our oral and overall health. They not only cause disease in the mouth, but they are also connected with heart, brain, lung, and kidney damage. That’s why brushing our teeth well is important to both the health of our mouth and our body.
Choosing an ADA-certified toothpaste vs. homemade toothpaste
People may choose to make their own toothpaste for a variety of reasons. It allows us to know exactly what it’s made of, to recycle the container it’s kept in, and it often allows for organic ingredients to be used. It’s important that a homemade toothpaste has the following:
- bacteria-fighting abilities
- anti-inflammatory abilities
- (gently) abrasive stain-fighting powers
The dentists we partner with follow the ethics and principles of the American Dental Association (ADA), whose mission is to advance the overall oral health of their dentists’ patients. So what does the ADA have to do with homemade toothpaste recipes? The ADA has a seal of acceptance they give to dental products, which is universally seen in the dental industry as safe and effective. The ADA only certifies toothpaste brands as effective if they contain fluoride.
Many homemade toothpaste recipes claim to be as effective as commercial toothpastes. The ADA and Delta Dental have your oral health at heart. We recommend selecting your toothpaste from this ADA approved list.
What Do Homemade Toothpaste Recipe Ingredients Really Do?
Curious what these homemade toothpaste recipe ingredients really do? Keep in mind that just because an ingredient is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Homemade toothpaste can sometimes cause more harm than good to your mouth.
Coconut Oil – Studies on the effect of coconut oil on the mouth are becoming more common. But there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove that coconut oil or oil pulling are effective dental health practices.
Baking Soda and Charcoal – Scrubbing your teeth with abrasive materials like these may seem like it would polish away stains. Unfortunately, if you’re a fan, there is no evidence that shows dental products like these are safe or effective for our teeth.
If we scrub our teeth too hard, we can actually make them look more yellow. When the outer coat of enamel is rubbed away, a softer, yellow tissue called dentin shows.
Lemon Juice – Acidic liquids like lemon juice have the ability to erode our enamel. When combined with an abrasive like baking soda, it’s a homemade toothpaste recipe for disaster.
Essential Oils – When used as a mouthwash (along with other ingredients), essential oils can be used to help control plaque and gingivitis. When combined with ingredients like fluoride, essential oils can help prevent decay.
Essential oils should only be ingested if they are 100% pure, therapeutic grade, and regarded as safe by the US Food & Drug Administration. Essential oils are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Ingredients that Make a Good Toothpaste
Fluoride is considered “nature’s cavity fighter.” It’s been proven to significantly reduce cavities and cavity-causing bacteria since the 1960s. When we have fluoride in our toothpaste, it gives our mouths super cavity-fighting powers.
Other toothpaste ingredients that are necessary to a healthy mouth help:
- Lessen tooth sensitivity
- Whiten teeth
- Reduce gingivitis or tartar build-up
- Prevent enamel erosion
- Prevent bad breath
When looking for a homemade toothpaste recipe that works, it’s helpful to know what active ingredients the ADA recommends. Cavity-fighting ingredients have different names. You may see “sodium monofluorophosphate,” “sodium fluoride,” or “stannous fluoride” on the ingredients label. They also fight cavities. These are the only ingredients the FDA certifies as preventing cavities. All ADA-accepted toothpastes must contain fluoride.
Tooth sensitivity is usually a result of tooth decay. The protective layer of the tooth has worn away, exposing sensitive areas. The ADA recognizes the following ingredients are reducing pain from tooth sensitivity:
- Potassium nitrate
- Stannous fluoride (this can also help reduce gingivitis)
- Strontium chloride
Toothpaste uses “abrasive agents” to help gently scrub away surface stains and plaque. The ADA recognizes certain ingredients as cleaning the teeth. They may also help whiten teeth by physically removing surface stains. Look for the following on the ingredients label:
- Calcium carbonate
- Dehydrated silica gels
- Hydrated aluminum oxides
- Magnesium carbonate
- Phosphate salts
Detergents, sugar-free flavoring agents, and ingredients to hold moisture all help a toothpaste work effectively. Toothpastes are sometimes made with flavoring agents that make them tastier. Unfortunately, some brands include sugar for flavor. The ADA won’t certify any toothpaste with sugar in it since sugar is directly associated with cavity-causing bacteria.
Make it easy on yourself and choose a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The seal lets you know the toothpaste you choose is safe, effective, and won’t damage your teeth.
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