This homemade remineralizing toothpaste takes advantage of the remineralizing powers of bentonite clay (rich in calcium), xylitol (its sweetness also helps cover the taste of the bitter ingredients), calcium phosphate, magnesium chloride and clove oil (1).
It also contains cacao powder. Cacao(raw chocolate — not to be confused with cocoa, which is a highly-processed product) is the best-kept secret in tooth health! It has been shown to fight tooth decay by suppressing the bacteria that cause it and making it harder for them to coat teeth and gums (known as plaque) (2, 3). In toothpaste, cacao powder also acts a mild abrasive. And perhaps even better, it tastes really good, making tooth brushing a pleasure (and helping to cover less pleasant flavors). Hint: if you can’t brush, chew a few cacao nibs for a tasty, on-the-go, tooth cleaning.
We may think of our teeth as permanent structures. But the mineral building blocks (mostly calcium phosphate) in our teeth are in a constant state of flux, with some building blocks leaving and other new building blocks coming in to replace them. If more building blocks are leaving than returning, you end up with porous tooth enamel (the outer layer that is supposed to be super-hard), which is more susceptible to tooth decay bacteria. This net loss of minerals is called tooth demineralization (4).
What can you do to prevent tooth demineralization?
A high-stress lifestyle and eating a Western diet are both associated with tooth demineralization and tooth decay. So managing your stress and following a low sugar, low phytic-acid diet that is rich in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins are two good places to start.
Dry mouth has also been associated with tooth demineralization (5), so making sure you have a healthy amount of saliva is also important. Drinking plenty of water supports good saliva production. If your mouth remains dry, try practicing oil pulling, rinsing your mouth with a solution of slippery elm powder, or sucking slippery elm drops. You can make your own slippery elm drops, but don’t get carried away and suck them all day long as even healthy honey can promote tooth decay.
But can you turn tooth demineralization around?
Yes! Encouraging more mineral building blocks to repair porous enamel and mildly decayed spots on your teeth is called remineralization. And it is a proven technology. This is great news because intact original teeth are better looking, stronger, and longer-lasting than teeth with even the best fillings in them (plus you are saved the discomfort of drilling and filling cavities).
If your teeth are prone to decay, you may well benefit from a remineralizing toothpaste, which is a common way to deliver remineralizing compounds.
What’s in remineralizing toothpaste?
Until very recently, toothpastes designed to remineralize (repair) enamel were prescription-only and all contained high levels of sodium fluoride (NaF), a substance that has been shown to be dangerous to your health (and many still contain this chemical). Thankfully, dental researchers are starting to look for more ways to turn minor tooth decay around. Even better: you can now buy safe remineralizing toothpaste without a prescription or make it at home.
Here are two safe, natural remineralizing toothpaste ingredients that even mainstream dental researchers agree can help remineralize teeth (not that your dentist may have embraced them yet):
Calcium phosphate. Toothpaste containing calcium phosphate (a bioavailable form of calcium found in dairy products, also called amorphous calcium phosphate and casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate/CPP-ACP), has been shown to be an effective way to remineralize teeth, with results appearing in as little as two weeks (6, 7, 8, 9). Such toothpaste has also been found to be more effective than fluoride treatments and fluoride toothpaste for remineralizing porous enamel (10).
Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is prevalent in the Western world and has been linked to a wide range of conditions and diseases, including tooth decay. (11) Teeth with higher magnesium content have been shown to be less prone to decay. (12) Tooth gel containing calcium glycerophosphate, magnesium chloride and xylitol has been shown to reverse early tooth decay spots. Two 15-minute applications significantly reduced tooth sensitivity in most subjects (13).
Although remineralizing toothpaste can be quite effective at preventing, stopping and even reversing mild tooth decay and gum issues, it isn’t a substitute for seeing your dentist for regular exams and professional care of advanced tooth decay or gum disease.
Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste
Total Time: 20 minutes
2–3 tablespoons of organic cacao powder OR bentonite clay OR a combination
3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
1 tablespoon granulated xylitol
10 drops magnesium oil OR trace minerals OR 5 drops of each
½ teaspoon calcium powder (calcium phosphate if possible); use a full teaspoon if you don’t use any bentonite clay
3 drops clove essential oil
3 drops vanilla essential oil
Measure dry ingredients into a small glass or stainless steel bowl.
Add the coconut oil (if it is solid, liquefy it first by setting the container in a bowl of hot water for 10–15 minutes, coconut oil melts at 76 F) and stir until completely combined.
Add the liquid ingredients and stir until completely combined. The xylitol crystals may still be visible; that’s fine.