Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
We all want to know how to whiten teeth naturally, but getting it done is another matter. Harsh whitening strips and pastes are a no-go for me. This whitening toothpaste recipe with charcoal is an easy, gentler way to get a brighter smile.
Avoiding Harsh Whitening Treatments
Those slick ads with gorgeous smiles can be pretty tempting, but our family avoids artificial whitening. Chemical whiteners like chlorine dioxide can cause sensitivity, gum irritation and burning, and permanent enamel damage. Scientists aren’t entirely sure how tooth bleaching even works or the full scope of its effects.
A Natural Way to Whiten Teeth
I write a lot about oral health, and I’m fascinated with how it really does affect the whole body! I’ve spent years working on creating natural toothpastes and oral care. I wanted something that was safe enough for my kids to use and also not aggravate my health issues.
While there are many excellent natural toothpastes you can buy (one from yours truly!), for years I used this cost-effective DIY recipe. (Because, um, 6 kids!). It’s my favorite toothpaste recipe so far and the least expensive. It’s also the best whitening toothpaste I’ve used, especially when combined with oil pulling.
Natural Oral Care Options
Some of my favorite healthy mouth recipes to date are:
- Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste
- Remineralizing Tooth Powder Recipe
- Homemade Mouthwash
- Whitening Teeth With Charcoal
- Oil Pulling
My other toothpaste recipes get a lot of comments about substitutions, and if certain ingredients are necessary. Since the other recipes use coconut oil, some people complain the toothpaste is too hard to use when it’s cool.
This whitening toothpaste recipe is simpler and uses only the most beneficial ingredients. It’s the same consistency at any temperature, works well, and tastes great. Even my kids like the taste, and I don’t have to freak out if they swallow some.
How Does Natural Whitening Toothpaste Taste?
Natural toothpaste may not be as sweet as conventional, and it doesn’t have the foaming action. This recipe doesn’t have any baking soda in it, so it’s not salty like some natural options. I add a blend of essential oils to our toothpaste to customize the flavor. The essential oils also have antimicrobial properties that help with oral health.
Essential Oils for Toothpaste
Not every essential oil is safe to put in your mouth, and some that are safe for adults aren’t safe for kids. We also have to consider how much of each oil we’re using. Irritating essential oils like cinnamon and peppermint should be used more sparingly than something like orange. Essential oils are optional, but they really help improve the taste. Peppermint, cinnamon, and clove can be too harsh for young kids, but mine really love grapefruit or lemon!
Here are some safe essential oils choices for your whitening toothpaste: You can find quality essential oils at Plant Therapy.
- Cinnamon (use sparingly)
- Clove (use sparingly)
A Weird Way to Whiten Teeth
I’ve found calcium and MCT oil do a good job of whitening on their own, but there’s a way to boost the whitening power. Activated charcoal (AC) is one of my favorite ways to whiten teeth. I was pretty skeptical at first, but it’s really grown on me. AC is good at removing surface stains from foods like coffee and tea.
From the research I’ve done I’ve found AC is safe to use with fillings and veneers and won’t leach minerals from teeth. Charcoal actually benefits teeth by improving mouth pH to help prevent cavities and gingivitis. That’s why it’s one of the main ingredients in my Wellnesse Charcoal Toothpaste.
If you have any concerns about using it with your dental work though, then be sure to check with your dentist first!
Benefits and Cautions of Xylitol
If I add something sweet to our meals I go for natural options like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Sweeteners like xylitol aren’t something you’re going to see in my recipes. So why use it in toothpaste?
There is some evidence that xylitol benefits oral health. Specifically, it helps reduce plaque and cavities while it kills bacteria. Big caution here though… xylitol even in small amounts can be deadly to dogs. So don’t keep your toothpaste where Fido can eat it!
The xylitol I use is a little course so I ran it through the blender first. You could also use a coffee grinder. The second time I made the toothpaste, I just put all of the ingredients in the blender and it came out all creamy.
The blender was tough to clean after my experiment, but a quick wipe with the paper towel helped. Once I got the residue, out I washed my blender as usual.
MCT Oil for Teeth
Medium-chain triglyceride or MCT oil is my secret ingredient in this recipe. It’s derived from coconut or palm oil but stays liquid at different temperatures so it’s easier to work with. Fractionated coconut oil is similar to MCT oil, but it’s usually for skincare only and isn’t safe to eat.
It can get confusing because sometimes manufacturers use terms like liquid coconut oil or fractionated MCT oil. Bottom line, we’re using liquid coconut oil that’s high in MCTs and food grade.
How to Store Natural Whitening Toothpaste
When I make toothpaste, each person in our family gets their own jar. This helps prevent bacteria from being swapped back and forth and everyone gets their favorite flavor. We just dip our toothbrushes in the jar but a popsicle stick is another option. A clean popsicle stick can help prevent microbes from growing in the toothpaste. If you’re using essential oils these also have some preservative properties.
Like most of my toothpaste recipes, I like making this in small batches because the shelf life isn’t as long as store-bought. If your family is a lot smaller than mine you could also cut the recipe in half. Be sure to pitch your whitening toothpaste if you notice any off-smell or color.
The shelf life depends on several factors but mine typically lasts for several weeks at least. If you’re not down with the jar, then a squeeze tube like this one is another option.
Natural Whitening Toothpaste
- ¼ cup calcium carbonate powder
- 3 TBSP xylitol powder
- ¼ cup MCT oil
- 2 tsp activated charcoal powder
- 20-30 drops essential oil of choice optional
- Make sure the xylitol is finely ground and not coarse, grinding it in the blender or coffee grinder if necessary.
- Mix all the ingredients by hand or with a blender until incorporated.
- Store in a glass jar or squeeze tube and brush as usual.
Discussion (177 Comments)
Do you ever use powdered egg shells in these mixtures?
What a great recipe! I have one question!
I already have some coconut oil at home, do you think I could you that instead of MCT oil??
You could certainly try it…
Wow, MCT oil is expensive! How much does this recipe make? Is it about the same as a store bought tube? Is it worth using such an expensive oil in a recipe that we are not eating? Could another oi, such as extra light olive oil be used instead with the same results and health benefits?
Katie - Wellness Mama
I’m actually trying sesame oil now (non-toasted) and it seems to work well and not have a strong flavor as long as enough essential oils are used, btu olive oil would be another option.
How many drops of essential oils and what kind have you used
I use 20-25 for 3 oz and 40 for 6 oz. I like peppermint.
I love that you posted this! I often tell my patients to make a homemade paste very much like this one instead of buying commercial paste ( I am a dental hygienist). I can now just refer them to your site. 🙂
My dental hygienist told me not to use baking soda to brush with as I have receding gums and it would be too rough (I guess). What are your thoughts? What might be a good substitution? I love that you are in to healthy options!
Believe it or not…paste isn’t really needed. Biofilm (plaque) just needs to be physically broken for removal. You can just use a soft tooth brush along your gum line for biofilm and stain removal. If you Google Modified Bass method…it will demonstrate how to angle the brush to remove plaque from under the gums and also help with angulation so you are not too rough on those areas. The reason baking soda might be just a little too abrasive for those areas is because they are no longer protected by enamel. The tissue you see that looks just a little more yellow is called dentin and is much softer. If you brush gently daily….you can keep stains away just fine without any outside abrasive. I find that my patients really just feel better with something to brush with…and everyone likes a little help with morning breath..haha. 🙂 Personally, I have tried a daily made paste with diatomaceous earth and it worked okay…but as far as the actual molecular abrasive quality of it compared to baking soda…I am not really sure. Hope this helps.. 🙂
I am a retired dental hygienst and I have tried various recipes (and will try a few more!) but at the moment I use a mix of diatomateous earth, bicarb and xylitol.(blended finer) When I want to brush my teeth I put a bit of powder in a small container, add a tiny amount of water and brush. My teeth feels so clean and stay clean for longer than when I used toothpaste. Once a week I add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and one drop of peppermint oil ( because it taste terrible)
Any healthy natural suggestions for someone with little to no enamel left on the teeth? Baking powder would be too rough I assume…I started rinsing with peroxide. I want to whiten my teeth and make my own tooth paste..
Hi Jina 🙂
How do you know you have very little enamel left on your teeth? I am in no way saying you are wrong, it’s just if the wording is a little off then I can have different advice. 🙂 In any event, if your enamel is really thin, I would suggest actually not using any abrasive at all. Most people actually do not need an added abrasive to remove plaque. A soft toothbrush is all you really need. The main benefit to commercial paste is the added fluoride, but for someone trying to avoid fluoride…there is no reason at all to purchase any. I have found personally that any benefit to ready made easy abrasives found in stores is far outweighed by all the “extra” ingredients in the tube. I make my own abrasive paste because I just really like the slick feeling it gives afterwards. You can achieve this by using a dry washcloth believe it or not. 🙂 Your tongue will tell you if you have successfully removed all the plaque attached to the surface…the trick is in keeping everything dry. haha. I have seen some really neat essential oil recipes you can dip your toothbrush in for the added freshness you might desire from a toothpaste.
As for whitening, I really wouldn’t suggest trying to do that by chemical or physical means. If your enamel is truly thin, then the yellow color you are seeing on your teeth is actually the underlying tissue called dentin. It can’t be changed to be more white, and that process actually might really make your teeth sensitive. Don’t be too hard on yourself though!…I actually work for a cosmetic dentist, and we tell our patients that if their tooth shade is the same color as the sclera of their eye..then they are actually just fine. Everyone isn’t supposed to have super white bright chompers. We all have different tooth shades just like each person has a different skin tone. The beauty is in the difference. 🙂 Also, you can try playing with different shades of lipstick…the cool tones tend to weaken the warm yellow color and can actually make your teeth look about two shades whiter. 🙂
The peroxide is a great idea when diluted with equal parts water. It is such a fantastic inexpensive resource when you need a little extra help with gingivitis. If you see any bleeding when brushing or flossing, just swish with it a couple times a day. I wouldn’t try to use it to help with whitening though. If you do not have any blood pressure problems, you can try warm water and sea salt for the same problem. The salt water helps kill bacteria by reducing the acidity in the mouth and the warmth of the water mixed with it helps pull out the infection and bring healthy cells to the area faster. Plus, any movement of liquid can dislodge soft debris that might be causing an issue. Traditional mouthwash is the most useless creation in the dental world in my opinion..haha.
I hope this was helpful, and I answered the questions you had. 🙂 Best wishes.
Catherine, fantastic information! Do you have any idea if coconut oil will loosen a crown attached to an implant? I’ve searched far and wide for this information with no luck. I’d love your opinion.
Hi Cate. 🙂
I haven’t had much experience with removal of implant crowns. I do not think coconut oil would loosen it simply because an implant crown is cemented to an abutment (the metal piece that twists into the screw-like implant) and that bond is not exposed….but I am really not sure. If you would like to remove the crown…having a dentist cut it off is probably the most safe way..just so there is not too much stress on the actual implant. If you are trying to figure out why a crown keeps coming off, then that can possibly be the cement the dentist is using, or the crown and the abutment are not fitting properly. I know the dentist I work for uses a less adhesive cement for implant crowns..just so if there ever is an issue..he can remove it more easily. Hope this helps. 🙂
Thank you SO much for your comments! I love that you are a dental hygienist who loves natural remedies. This is super helpful to me. Thanks for taking the time to write this. 🙂
Watched a video about the wonders of peroxide. He said you can use to remove plaque, but not too often, can separate gums from teeth I think. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HL9HcRHidM
Just something you might want to research just in case he’s right
1. MCT oil is in fact the name of the oil; not a category of oils? i.e., almond, coconut, etc. oils aren’t MCT?
2. Do you get MCT oil and the other 2 ingredients at a health food store? Walgreen’s?
3. I do oil pulling with coconut oil – my 3rd week. I guess my teeth are as white as they are going to get, right? So using the toothpaste vs. my usual isn’t going to whiten them any further, right?
Katie - Wellness Mama
1. MCT is medium chain triglyceride oil which is the concentrated fats from coconut oil.
2. I get them online since our local store does not carry much.
3. This might still help since it is providing mineral externally and oil pulling continues to work over time.
Also looking at the reviews of the less expensive product your link goes too, I don’t think I would recommend it!
I love using the coconut oil. I also use the tubes. If it gets too cold to squeeze easily, I just hold it in my hand for a bit wrapping my fingers around it. Works great!
Is this ok to use if you have sensitive teeth? How much essential oil would you use?
I’ve used a similar blend with peppermint, spearmint, maybe some cinnamon (not sure whether leaf or bark) or clove oil.
At any rate, since switching, my formerly-sensitive teeth aren’t sensitive anymore. I know the coconut oil has something to do with that, maybe the oils and oils do too.
I think you’ll probably be fine. I’d give it a shot 🙂
Please be very careful when using essential oil in your toothpaste. Peppermint and cinnamon can be very hard on your gums. You must be very careful to not use too much!
Please be cautious with essential oils, many are not safe to be used orally and peppermint in particular can be dangerouse however it is used. Peppermint essential oil is known to cause epileptic seizures in those who are susceptible, particularly in children.
What if I use a peppermint oil that is safe to digest instead of an essential oil? Could I use that on my teeth?
I’ve found that my teeth have become MORE sensitive since using it the past week. Is there something I’m missing or doing wrong? Thanks!
I love that MCT oil is I’m this! My daughter has several heart defects and receives MCT oil through her feeding tube to help her gain weight. Finally I have another use for it!
What is MCT oil? Thx!
Katie - Wellness Mama
Where might I get this MCT oil? I need a good, healthy toothpaste!
Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers all carry MCT oil. I actually give MCT oil to my mom who is 83 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 5 years ago. It is beneficial for a number of things.
Your link above to the MCT oil is directing me to the wrong link (a link to buy coffee). Can you please tell me where you buy your MCT oil? Thanks!
Sorry about that, here you go! https://www.amazon.com/Viva-Labs-Concentrated-Performance-Absorption/dp/B00MGW5UVY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkId=d93b5353fd93a483f8a54e552de23364&language=en_US
Has anyone tried adding the crushed charcoal straight into the remineralizing toothpaste? If yes, any feedback?
I would not be tempted to try it as then I would have nothing with which to take off the charcoal.
The charcoal rinses right off your teeth! You do not need anything but water to get it out of your mouth.
Yes, and we love it!
I have. It works very well and easily rinses clean. Keeps the teeth whiter too.