How to Make a Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe for Naturally Healthy Teeth

Homemade tooth powder is a simple and effective way to naturally clean your teeth. This DIY tooth powder recipe is so easy to make, too!

I thought I was seeing my doctor for a basic new patient appointment. Instead, she handed me a diagnosis. After the shock wore off, I started asking questions about everything I put in, on, or around my body.

One of the first places I started was toothpaste.

Like most other people, I scrubbed my teeth using a soft bristle brush, gentle up and down strokes, and foamy blue paste twice a day.

The first two parts of that combination were fine. The third one, though? Well, once I started reading, I became uncomfortable with what that foam actually contained.

How to Make a Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe for Naturally Healthy Teeth

After trying different natural toothpaste brands, I came across an idea that seemed crazy at first: homemade tooth powder. All I could think was “How do you use it? Does it work as well? Does it feel like dirt in your mouth? Will my dentist think I’m crazy?

But once I tried it, I quickly gave up toothpaste altogether.

My family has used this all-natural tooth powder recipe with herbs and essential oils for over a decade now. Everyone, even the toddlers, loves it. It’s one of the easiest DIY body care projects you can try, coming together in mere minutes. And best of all, my dentist only gives our teeth rave reviews when we go in for cleanings.

If you’re looking for a natural way to care for your teeth, you can’t find an easier solution than this tooth powder. Read on to learn more and get the recipe, including a free printable recipe card at the end of the post.

What’s Wrong with Regular Toothpaste?

Since toothpaste is something you put in your mouth twice a day, you need it to be as harmless as possible. Your mouth tissue is very thin, so substances can be absorbed through it. It’s also quite sensitive.

And whether you think you do or not, you probably swallow a little toothpaste each time you brush your teeth.

Unfortunately, conventional toothpaste contains ingredients that may not be as safe as you’d like them to be, especially if you prefer to live a natural lifestyle.

Consider, for instance, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). SLS is commonly used in toothpaste as a foaming agent and detergent, but it’s also a common detergent known to cause irritation and inflammatory reactions in skin.” That doesn’t sound like something I want in my mouth or in my children’s.

close up of tooth powder jar and bamboo tooth brush on clean countertop

Fluoride is questionable, especially when it’s swallowed. This is why toothpaste for young children, who will likely swallow toothpaste, is fluoride-free.

Artificial dyes are also used in those baby blue pastes or bright red gels. These coloring agents have been linked to many behavioral/neurological problems in children, but there may be other issues with them, as well.

In fact, before I was into natural products, I noticed that anytime I used toothpaste with red gel in it, the corners of my mouth would break out into dry, cracked sores.

Is Tooth Powder Better Than Toothpaste?

If you scan the shelves at a large chain store for toothpaste, you’ll probably find some natural options. With more people looking for non-toxic personal care products, stores and brands are responding.

These natural toothpastes tend to be pricier than conventional brands, but they’re convenient. Sometimes you need a quick and easy answer, especially when you’re just starting out with natural remedies.

You also still have to read the labels carefully. Many “natural” toothpaste brands contain SLS and/or fluoride. Depending on your preferences, you may wish to avoid those ingredients.

You can actually find recipes online for homemade toothpaste. Sometimes they’re held together with vegetable glycerine and sometimes with oil, like coconut oil. These homemade options can work really well and keep your teeth healthy and clean, but I prefer making homemade tooth powder. Here’s why:

  • There are fewer ingredients since you don’t need to add a liquid to bind everything together.
  • It has a very long shelf life since there’s no moisture in the final product.
  • It’s so easy to make that a 10-year-old child can do it.
  • You can tweak the recipe to suit your preferences and dental needs.
  • Glycerine may leave a coating on your teeth that prevents saliva from contacting tooth enamel like it should. Tooth powder rinses off completely.

The main reason you might not want to use tooth powder is that it’s so different from what you’ve probably used your whole life. And while tooth powder is different, it’s not hard to use.

homemade tooth powder with tooth brush and ingredients top view

How Do You Use Tooth Powder?

Using tooth powder is a really simple process.

  • Get your tooth brush wet and tap off any excess water. (If tooth powder gets wet, it clumps. If that happens, just pick out the clumps and throw them in the trash or compost.)
  • Lightly tap the top of your tooth brush into the tooth powder so it’s evenly coated but not caked in powder.
  • Brush your teeth as normal, using light, circular motions. If you’re used to foaming toothpaste, it might feel strange to not notice any foam. But don’t worry, your teeth are still getting clean!
  • Rinse your mouth and spit as usual. You’re done!

Natural tooth powder is so harmless that you can actually swallow it after brushing, but most people prefer to rinse and spit.

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included. If you make a purchase, your cost is the same while I may earn a commission.

Homemade Tooth Powder Ingredients and What They Do

Most DIY tooth powder recipes call for a handful of simple, natural ingredients that you can easily find at a health food store or online. In my recipe, I use these ingredients:

  • Baking soda is a very mild abbrasive that can work as a stand-alone tooth powder in a pinch. It doesn’t taste very good on its own and may not keep teeth as clean long-term, though. Just buy regular baking soda; aluminum-free baking soda is a marketing ploy. All baking soda is aluminum-free. (Baking powder is a different story.)
  • Bentonite clay gently cleans teeth and acts as a mild abrasive. Some people claim that since clay contains lots of minerals, it can add them to your teeth. However, I haven’t been able to find any evidence to verify that. That’s why I don’t claim my recipe is “remineralizing.” I like to use Redmond’s bentonite clay. Use the code THRIVE at checkout for 15% off at Redmond!
  • Non-GMO xylitol adds a sweet flavor so even kids enjoy using the powder. But even more importantly, xylitol has been shown to improve oral health. While I personally don’t use xylitol in my cooking, it’s a helpful addition to my tooth powder.
  • Activated charcoal helps lift stains and whiten teeth, even though it’s black. It’s important to use finely ground activated charcoal to protect your tooth enamel (more on that in a moment).
  • Sea salt adds some additional cleaning action and promotes a healthy oral microbiome. Redmond’s Real Salt is what I use for food and tooth powder. Use the code THRIVE at checkout for 15% off at Redmond!
  • Ground herbs, spices, and essential oils provide some antimicrobial benefits and also flavor the tooth powder. By changing the herb, spice, and essential oil combination, you can create endless tooth powder flavor options!
close up tooth powder ingredients with jar of powder and tooth brush

Herbs to Use in Tooth Powder

Flavorful and medicinal herbs make great additions to homemade tooth powder. Mix and match any of these to create a unique flavor and support your dental health. You’ll use up to 2 tablespoons total of powdered herbs.

  • Mint (Mentha piperita [peppermint] or M. spicata [spearmint]) will add a traditional minty flavor while also providing some anti-inflammatory and gentle antimicrobial properties.
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) offers anti-inflammatory, astringent, and potent antimicrobial actions and will give your tooth powder a unique herbal flavor.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It has a very strong flavor, so consider combining it with milder herbs, spices, or essential oils.
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum) will add a unique flavor to your tooth powder, especially if you can find a fun variety like lemon, lime, cinnamon, or thai basil. Each will add some anti-inflammatory and gentle anti-microbial actions.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is antimicrobial and has a lovely citrus-herbal flavor.
  • Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) offers unique benefits for tooth powder: it has a naturally sweet flavor but doesn’t contain sugar. It’s also anti-inflammatory and demulcent, meaning it’s soothing to tissue. If you have painful gums, licorice may be a great choice for you.
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is anti-inflammatory and vulnerary, meaning it can help heal sore, injured, or painful gums. It has a mild carrot-like flavor since it contains carotenes.
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has a slightly bitter, medicinal flavor, but it’s a powerful antimicrobial and astringent. This means it could be a great fit if you have irritated and receeding gums, but you’ll want to add spices and essential oils to offset the flavor.
  • Plaintain (Plantago major, P. lanceolata) has a very “green” flavor, but it’s a fabulous herb for healing inflamed or injured tissue. Bonus: it’s a common yard weed! You can learn more about plantain here.

Mountain Rose Herbs and Starwest Botanicals are excellent sources for high-quality herbs.

Mt Rose Herbs banner

Spices to Use in Tooth Powder

Ground kitchen spices are an easy way to add more flavor and medicinal value to your natural tooth powder. Since they pack more of a flavor-punch and can be a little “hot” to sensitive mouth tissue, you’ll use less spice than you do herb. I recommend up to 1 teaspoon total spice.

  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) will give you a more traditional toothpaste flavor (minus the red gel). Cinnamon is astrigent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) adds a fresh, warming spiciness to your tooth powder and provides similar medicinal actions as cinnamon.
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) has been traditionally used to numb painful teeth and gums and promote oral health.
  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) offers a delicious spicy, warm flavor and similar benefits as cinnamon and ginger.
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a potent anti-inflammatory spice that’s revered for countless health benefits. It offers many oral health benefits, but you’ll need to add other herbs or essential oils to offset its strong flavor in your tooth powder.
tooth brush, tooth powder ingredients, and finished jar of powder

Essential Oils to Use in Tooth Powder

Essential oils add a powerful burst of flavor and antimicrobial actions to this tooth powder recipe. This list is just a start. If an herb or spice works well in tooth powder, it’s highly likely the essential oil could be a great addition, too.

  • Citrus oils, like lemon (Citrus limon), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), or grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) add a fresh, bright flavor that balances out stronger tasting herbs. It’s best to only use up to 20 drops total of most citrus oils because they can cause severe burn reactions (called phototoxicity) if you’re exposed to sunlight after putting them on your skin.
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita) packs a minty punch since it’s high in menthol, but it can be too strong for kids if you don’t combine it with other milder essential oils.
  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is a milder, sweeter mint that is safer for children since it has less menthol than peppermint.
  • Cinnamon leaf or bark (Cinnamomum verum) is a “hot” essential oil, meaning it can irritate tissue at high concentrations. I recommend using up to 20 drops cinnamon leaf or 10 drops cinnamon bark in the tooth powder recipe.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) gives a warm, gingery flavor without the spice you get from the dry powdered herb.
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) lends a flavor very similar to the whole ground spice. The essential oil provides a stronger numbing action, so I recommend blending clove with other essential oils.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a highly antimicrobial essential oil. The flavor is also pronounced, so like the herb, you’ll probably want to blend it with other essential oils.
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) has a medicinal flavor, but is a great choice when you want more antimicrobial action. It’s uniquely antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) has been traditionally used in dental care products because of its astringent and antimicrobial actions. It’s very thick, so consider blending it with thinner oils like mints, citrus, or rosemary.
  • Frankinsence (Boswellia serrata)is highly antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, lending a spicy, earthy flavor to your tooth powder. 

My favorite essential oils come from Florihana, but I also use and recommend Plant Therapy and Mountain Rose Herbs.

Unlike other recipes and formulas I create, you won’t dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil for the tooth powder. Since you use just a pinch of tooth powder each time you brush your teeth, your essential oil exposure is minuscule.

However, if you’re uncomfortable using essential oils this way or are particularly sensitive to them, you can leave them out and just use herbs and spices in your tooth powder.

Is Tooth Powder Too Abrasive?

Before we get to the recipe, there’s one more important issue to cover. Some people wonder if tooth powder is too abrasive. That’s a good question, because you never want to harm yourself while trying to do something good. I’ve been there.

To help determine if a product might be too harsh on tooth enamel, the ADA (American Dental Association), along with other agencies, created the RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasion) value. Anything with an RDA under 250 is considered acceptable, but most dentists consider anything above 150 to be potentially harmful.

Baking soda is one of the least abrasive teeth cleaners with an RDA of just 7. A plain toothbrush and water rank just above it at 4. Since baking soda is a major ingredient in this tooth powder recipe, that’s good news!

It’s hard to find RDA values for the rest of the ingredients since these values are typically given for commercial toothpaste. However, Redmond Earthpowder, a bentonite clay-based natural tooth cleaner has an RDA value of 105. They also report finely powdered activated charcoal ranks at a 70 RDA value.

Considering the RDA value of baking soda and products similar to this tooth powder recipe, along with our family’s history using it, I feel it’s safe to say this tooth powder is a gentle tooth cleaner that’s safe for the whole family. However, it’s always important to check in with your dentist regularly to make sure your dental hygiene habits are keeping your teeth in good shape.

natural tooth powder ingredients, finished powder, and tooth brush

Easy, Natural Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe with Herbs and Essential Oils

After all that background, it’s time to get to the recipe! Homemade tooth powder isn’t an exact science, so have fun adjusting the recipe to fit your preferences after you try it my way. And don’t forget your printable recipe card at the end of the post!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup bentonite clay (I prefer Redmond Clay; use code THRIVE for 15% off at checkout)
  • 1/4 cup non-GMO xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (I use Real Salt; use code THRIVE for 15% off at checkout)
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground activated charcoal powder
  • Up to 2 tablespoons powdered herbs, optional (from Mountain Rose Herbs or Starwest Botanicals)
  • Up to 1 teaspoon ground spice, optional
  • Up to 50 drops essential oils, optional (from Florihana, Mountain Rose Herbs, or Plant Therapy)

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients, except essential oils, in a medium sized bowl and thoroughly mix until the tooth powder looks uniform.
  2. Drop the essential oils, if using, on top of the powder and thoroughly mix one last time to incorporate them through the tooth powder. Alternately, you can add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds to fully mix all the ingredients.
  3. Store in a non-reactive container with a lid, away from potential water splashes. Mason jars work great for adults, but be careful if you have kids or ceramic tile floor bathrooms. Ask me how I know…
  4. Use as directed above, adding a small amount of tooth powder to a damp toothbrush and brushing as usual.
homemade tooth powder close up with tooth brush

Want to Adjust the Tooth Powder Recipe? Try These Ideas!

  • You can make a very basic tooth powder with just baking soda, bentonite clay, and salt. This doesn’t taste great, but if you need something super simple, it’ll work.
  • If you need something extra gentle to clean your teeth, you can leave out the activated charcoal and/or sea salt.
  • Some people prefer to avoid xylitol. If you’d like to leave it out, you can sweeten your tooth powder with up to 2 teaspoons powdered whole stevia leaf (not the powdered extract) or just use powdered licorice root (discussed above with the herbs).
  • Always use caution when using essential oils in and around your mouth. The tissue in your mouth is very sensitive, so too many drops, or too many “hot” oils (like cinnamon and oregano), can cause irritation. I err on the side of caution with 50 drops as it gives a very mild flavor, but you can always use less.

Try These Flavor Combinations for Your Tooth Powder

With all of the herbs, spices, and essential oils you can add to your tooth powder, the combinations are almost limitless! Here are some ideas to help you get started. They’ll make your tooth powder taste great and keep your mouth healthy.

  • Rosemary Orange: 1 tablespoon rosemary powder with 50 drops sweet orange essential oil (sweet orange is not phototoxic)
  • Sage & Spice: 2 tablespoons sage powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, and 30 drops clove essential oil
  • Herbal Anti-Inflammatory: 1 tablespoon calendula powder, 1/2 tablespoon plantain leaf powder, 1/2 tablesoon licorice root powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 20 drops myrrh essential oil, and 30 drops spearmint essential oil
  • Spicy Mint: 2 tablespoons peppermint powder, 1 teaspoon ginger powder, 20 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil, 2o drops spearmint essential oils, 10 drops clove essential oil
  • Basil Surprise: 2 tablespoons basil powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, 20 drops lemon essential oil, 10 drops tea tree essential oil, 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Printable Recipe Card for Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe

homemade tooth powder close up with tooth brush

How to Make a Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe for Naturally Healthy Teeth

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

It's easy to have naturally healthy teeth with this homemade tooth powder that uses herbs, essential oils, and other natural ingredients.

Materials

  • 1/4 cup bentonite clay
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup non-GMO xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground activated charcoal
  • Up to 2 tablespoons powdered herbs, optional (see notes below)
  • Up to 1 teaspoon powdered spice, optional (see notes below)
  • Up to 50 drops essential oils, optional (see notes below)

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients, except essential oils, in a medium-sized bowl and thoroughly mix until the tooth powder looks uniform.
  2. Drop the essential oils, if using, on top of the powder and thoroughly mix one last time to incorporate them through the tooth powder. Alternately, you can add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds to fully mix all the ingredients.
  3. Store in a non-reactive container with a lid, away from potential water splashes.
  4. To use, dampen your toothbrush and tap off any extra water. Gently tap the toothbrush into the tooth powder and brush as usual. You can also use a very small measuring spoon to sprinkle a pinch of tooth powder over your toothbrush.

Notes

  • Suggested herb options include: peppermint, spearmint, sage, rosemary, basil, lemon balm, licorice root, calendula, yarrow, and plantain
  • Suggested spice options include: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, turmeric
  • Suggested essential oil options include: lemon, sweet orange, grapefruit, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon leaf or bark, ginger, clove, rosemary, tea tree, myrrh, frankincense

Lemon, grapefruit, and some other citrus essential oils are phototoxic. Use in very small quantities. Sweet orange is not phototoxic.

Cinnamon essential oil can be very hot on delicate mouth tissue. Use in small quantities. Ginger and clove are warmer oils but milder than cinnamon.

Switching from blue foam toothpaste to natural homemade tooth powder didn’t magically restore my health. But it was my first natural DIY project, my first feeling of natural health success, and a big step in the right direction.

Have you ever used tooth powder?

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    14 Comments

    1. Hi Kristen,
      Your measurements aren’t really clear – what is a T supposed to be? A tablespoon should be shortened to Tbsp, and a teaspoon should be shortened to tsp. I assume it’s tablespoon but I really hate to assume, and I’m sure there are others who wouldn’t be. Could you please clarify? Thanks.

      1. Hi Mony. I’m sorry my abbreviations were confusing to you. Yes, you are correct with assuming T. as tablespoon and t. as teaspoon. I’ll clarify when I update this post in the near future. Thanks.

    2. This recipe for DIY toothpaste looks great, I’ve just ordered all the ingredients and can’t wait to try it! Can you tell me how long the powder lasts before it is past its best?

      1. Hi Mia! Since there’s no moisture in the tooth powder, it’s really shelf-stable. It’ll be months to years before it would go bad. The only thing you really need to consider is the age of your essential oils since they will eventually start to oxidize. I make a big batch and keep it in a dark cupboard, then pull out 1 cup or so at a time, add essential oils, and then keep it in our bathroom to use.

    3. I just made a batch of this and WOWZERS!!!!! my teeth were noticeably whiter with one brushing. Don’t get me wrong they weren’t flashy white but in comparison to my toothpaste I’d been using its a big difference!

    4. Just wondering why the sea salt? I noticed you did not give a reason.. I really want to try this but would have to break this down more seeing as I will be the only one using it.

      1. Hi Tia! I have sea salt listed up there with baking soda and clay. The salt acts as a mild abrasive to help clean and polish teeth. I find that 1 T helps the powder effectively clean without being too salty. If you think you wouldn’t like it, you can definitely use less or leave it out altogether!

          1. Hi Tia!
            I have the finely ground salt, so it just kind of becomes a more unified powder when I process it all together. I honestly don’t know if a food process will grind it up for you, but my guess is that it would do so with the other ingredients in there. If you’re concerned that it may not, I think you’d be fine leaving it out.

    5. Hi, Kristen! I was just thinking about a homemade toothpaste the other day as my Toms of Maine is now owned by Colgate. I know this happened a while ago but it just occurred to me I should be looking for something else. I’ve heard some people use a coconut oil and baking soda combination but since I use it for my deodorant it seems a little weird to use it in my mouth.

      Your recipe sounds interesting but can you explain the benefits of clay and activated charcoal? Seems like they’d make the powder chalky.

      Thanks!

      Sarah

      1. Hey Sarah!

        The clay mostly helps with cleaning. It’s a mild abrasive (very mild!). In fact, Redmond has a toothpaste that’s made just from hydrated clay and essential oils! I’ve used it and liked it.

        The activated charcoal really helps with whitening. I know it sounds weird, since it’s black, but I can tell when we go for a while without using it in the powder! It is supposed to help draw tannins and stains out of teeth.

        The texture isn’t really chalky, I don’t think. I actually don’t really notice any texture in my mouth at all while using it. I really prefer this to plain baking soda, which we use when I’m out of the powder and haven’t made more!

        Does this help?