Dentist Approved Toothpowder + Brush With Bamboo
Zero Waste Bathroom
April 22, 2016 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on April 3, 2020
Happy Earth DAY!!!! This post was sponsored by Brush with Bamboo.
All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my full disclosure for more information.
Let’s talk about teeth. They are important. Dental hygiene is important. I may be from Arkansas, but I plan on keeping all of my teeth in my head.
As an actor my appearance is pretty much everything – especially my teeth!
I have been acting a long time. I had my first performance at age four. My dad would always tell me stories of people who got cast just because their teeth were white.
Thinking about it now, it was probably just a ploy to get me to consistently brush my teeth.
But, it worked! I brush these bad boys at least twice a day and water pik for awesome gum health.
I’ve waited to share my tooth powder recipe; because I wanted to work with a dentist on it.
It was important to have input from someone who’s all knowledgeable in the tooth department.
Beyond toothpaste coming in an un-recyclable plastic tube, it has a lot of additives.
- Saccharin and aspartame: Artificial sweeteners which both made the Center for Science in the Public’s Interest’s list of additives to avoid.
- Triclosan: Used in antibacterial soaps and listed as a pesticide. More research is being conducted because of it’s negative effect on thyroid and estrogen levels.
- Glycerin: It’s not harmful, but it coats your teeth, and prevents the beneficial minerals in saliva from reaching the teeth.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate: Commonly referred to as SLS, it’s an unnecessary foaming agent that agitates gums and can cause ulcers and canker sores.
- Silica: A natural component of sand
I won’t even get into flouride. But, if I can avoid these things and have super healthy teeth – why not!? It meets all of my rules of personal sustainability and it costs pennies to make.
- 1/4 Cup of Xylitol: It’s a natural sweetner. It prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth and neutralizes the pH to help avoid tooth decay.
- 1/4 Cup of Baking Soda: A very mild abrasive (less abrasive than commercial toothpastes) that dislodges plaque on teeth, breaks down stain causing molecules, and neutralizes pH.
- 1/4 Cup of Bentonite Clay: Draws out toxins, contains calcium, and is often used to help remineralize teeth.
Stir together. Avoid using metal with the clay, it will deactivate. I used a wooden spoon and store it in a glass mason jar. This is will leave you with clean breath, and tastes like nothing. The sweetness in the xylitol cancels out the saltiness of the baking soda and the clay is very neutral. If you want some minty freshness, you should check out my mouthwash recipe.
step one: dampen toothbrush
step two: dip in tooth powder
You don’t need too much
step three: brush your teeth!
Beyond the toothpowder, lets talk about the equally important toothbrush.
Switching your toothbrush may be the easiest swap! Not only is it incredibly attractive, but it’s WAY better for the environment.
Did you know that every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists?
Be apart of the solution and get a toothbrush that will return to the earth.
Brush with Bamboo is my toothbrush of choice. They’re a completely transparent family business.
Brush with Bamboo just offered all GZW readers a 10% off coupon. Use “ditchplastic” at the checkout! And, happy earth day from the BWB family!
I never knew I could get so jazzed about a toothbrush, but the more I learn about their company – the more I fall in love.
They produce 5,000 lbs of organic food from their lawn and the community garden they started each year!
I have just never met a company whose values align so much with mine, and I trust them.
Seriously, go check them out.
The handle is made of biodegradable, wild bamboo. No pesticides, no fertilizers, and only watered by rain which means no water waste!
You can compost it in a municipal composting facility or you can save it for kindling in your campfire.
The bristles are 62% castor bean oil and 38% plastic. It’s the most plant based bristle on the market.
(The only compostable bristle is made of pig hair… which comes from the meat industry in China. I’d rather not be apart of that.)
So, you need to remove the bristles before burning or composting.
I’ve been using their toothbrushes for over a year, and I haven’t had to remove the bristles yet.
After the bristles have frayed (which is around 4 months for me) I use them to clean hard to reach places and as an eyelash separator.
This is a huge selling point for me. Paper with no glue or tape! They use tabs that lock into place, and I can put the package in my backyard compost!
This has the lifespan of a regular toothbrush around four months. The best part is it costs the same as your average plastic toothbrush.
I find it fits my mouth better than those too. It’s agonizing trying to find the right toothbrush at the grocery store.
I just want a normal toothbrush and Brush with Bamboo is PERFECT. The bristles are the perfect strength level and they’re the perfect width.
And, beyond all the positive environmental impacts – they look so much cooler than a plastic toothbrush. Class level +100%.
EARTH DAY CHALLENGE!
Come on – you knew this was coming. I want you to pledge one zero waste swap for the year and tell me what it is in the comment section below!
You know – besides swapping to brush with bamboo…!
Don’t forget! 10% off with “ditchplastic” at the checkout!
SEE MY DENTAL RESULTS AFTER 6 MONTHS
Hey, here in Germany we can get bamboo brushes with bamboo viscose bristes like here: https://www.sidco.de/Bambus-Zahnbuersten or here: http://www.baumfrei.de/produkte/bambus-zahnbürste/
Unfortunately completely compostable bristles have not been invented. BWB we have had our bristles Lab Tested & Verified. Chinese factories have been caught lying about thks and many other Bamboo Toothbrush companies have been devastated by their lab results once tested. Please get your bristles Lab Tested & Verified before promoting them so that even you know 100%.
I love their toothbrushes too! I highly recommend them! I bought mine at a local co-op grocery store and honestly I notice no difference from the plastic one I used before…and I can be picky :). These are great and such an easy step in reducing waste.
Yes me too!! These are perfect and simple and simply perfect. 😉
I just got a stainless steel waste can for disposable kitchen waste. I was using a lunch paper bag at the sink, but not consistently enough, so items would to easily go in the trash bag. Love my waste can. But the challenge for me is to use biodegradable bags for dog waste, instead of plastic bags. I started today! Do you have any tips to share for that?
Yes! I have a post called, "Zero Waste Dog." Let me know if you have any more questions after reading it. I’ve buried several "bio-degradable" poo bags, and I’m going to dig them up next year and see the results.
I’m looking into making my own toothpaste/tooth powder as well! Since you’ve used both homemade versions, may I ask, why do you prefer the powder over the paste?
I have yet to find a homemade toothpaste I like. I don’t like coconut oil because it’s so fickle and it can clog your drain. I’m on the toothpowder side for now. I don’t mind it. It does take a little getting used to. But, once I find a paste recipe I like, I will be sharing it here!
I really like this post but I’d also really like to meet this dentist who was happy for you to say not to use fluoride…
Right here with ya, the benefits of fluoride can never seem to be understated for oral hygiene. My thing is palm oil. Toothpaste is the one place where I break the rules with trying to make sure everything is palm oil free because the only toothpaste I would be able to use otherwise would lack any fluoride.
My dentist is not worried about the fluoride. I drink tap water which has been fluoridated. And, if you’re concerned you’re not getting enough fluoride you can get a fluoride treatment at the dentist.
I’ve been wanting to buy these for a couple of weeks, but kept forgetting.. thanks for the coupon!!!
Yay! You’re going to love them! 😀
Hi Kathryn, I know you personally do not like coconut oil, but did your dentist say it was okay to add the coconut oil to this recipe to make a paste?:)
I didn’t ask, but I’ve heard my dentist rave about oil pulling, so I’m sure it’s safe. I actually tried turning it into a paste. I used fractionated coconut oil because it’s in a constant liquid state. I thought it might help. It didn’t really work out too well for toothpaste. It wasn’t pasty. Maybe I didn’t add enough oil, but it made a great face scrub!
Where did you buy your xylitol and clay? I’m looking for an option that doesn’t have plastic packaging, if possible, or one that I don’t have to order online. Thanks!
Berkeley Bowl, but I’m sure they could be bought at rainbow grocery too. Probably even Good Earth. At BB they’re in the beauty section not in the normal bulk section with food.
Just wondering if you use floss? x
Oh! I am really sorry you mentioned you did in the article. Really love your blog posts 🙂 xx
Hi! I bought Bentonite Clay and it is green, do you know if it works the same? I am looking for the difference and the only i find is that white clay is caolin. But still, i tried it and i liked it 🙂 Thanks for the recipe
Sometimes it is greenish. I’m sure it works the same!
Hi. I made the tooth powder and I really like it, but it is getting less like a powder and more like a clump of clay. Is that normal or should I do something to keep moisture out? Thanks
Towards the end mine gets a little clumpy. It’s fine, it still works the same.
Its ok if I use green clay instead of bentonite clay? I really dont know whats the diference, but I cant found bentonite clay here.
Green clay also absorbs toxins, but it is very strong. It’s a fabulous whitener. I haven’t done too much research on it. I’d do some searching! The bentonite clay is much more mild than the baking soda. With straight baking soda I felt a little sensitive. I’d test it and see if you feel any sensitivities, since green clay is stronger.
Hi, Kathryn! Before go shopping, I would like to clarify this: Here I can’t find anything called "bentonite clay" only "green clay" or "white clay". I’ve seen that other websites use white clay as an ingredient for tooth powder… does it mean "bentonite clay" is synonym to "white clay"?
If so, I’ve seen 100% pure white clay (100% caolin) and others that are 80% caolin, 7% mica, 5% quarz (i know it’s not equal 100% but that’s what is says..). I don’t know the effect of mica and quarz on clay (I only know it’s cheaper), do you know anything about it?
Thanks a lot, I love your blog 😉
You can use green clay. It is slightly more abrasive than bentonite. So, just be aware after brushing. If you start to experience any sensitivity, you may need to readjust your recipe.
Thank you for your previous answer 🙂
Do you have a version adding activated charcoal? If so, how much do you use? Is it that you prefer not to use activated charcoal daily?
Thank you, Kathryn.
Why do you not use coconut oil in it?
Thanks for the blogs! >_<
I’m not a huge fan of coconut oil because of it’s volatility. But, you can certainly add it, if you like! 🙂
I’m love your website but encounter some issues because | live in Britain. I rarely find shops with bulk bins!
With regards to this recipe, how do I know if I’m getting the right bentonite clay. I’ve found some that claim to be pure but only therapeutic grade. How picky should I get and where should I be looking? so far I’m just on Amazon :/
Look for online stores that sell soap ingredients. Like the soap kitchen.. email to ask about the grade of the clay.
Don’t worry about shopping the bulk bins, if you can’t find many near you. There’s so many things you can do to reduce your waste that don’t require them. 🙂
I just linked to some bentonite clay on Amazon. Hopefully that helps. I’ve been using food grade.
Thanks for linking it! Unfortunately they don’t ship it to the UK 🙁 But I’ll keep looking, and I’ll definitely be going for food grade!
I am curious where you purchase your Xylitol. Most of the brands I am finding are packaged in plastic.
I bought mine in bulk from Berkeley Bowl. You should look in the beauty section of your bulk store rather than the food section. If you can’t find it, it does last a long time. So, I’d buy a large plastic bag or you can leave it out.
Hi I am noticing my baking soda clumping and when I use the tooth powder i can taste the baking soda more…should I add more xylitol?
I have found a completely biodegradable toothbrush (brush made of bamboo and bristles made of corn and tapioca) that also comes with a biodegradable package (although when ordering online you can ask that it comes without a package!) and includes free shipping to Canada and US! Shipping was a breeze and they actually sent me double of everything I ordered for free.
I have been using baking soda and clay based toothpastes for a couple months now. A few days ago I asked my dentist about baking soda based toothpastes and she said that baking soda is too hard on our teeth and erodes the enamel and that we need fluoride in our toothpaste. She suggested doing other things to go zero waste (things that we already do that are mentioned in this blog) and to buy regular toothpaste but just use less of it, or to try and buy it in bulk so we don’t go through as much packaging. Did your dentist say otherwise? I would be interested in hearing more than one opinion.
Yes, it really depends on the dentist and your teeth. My grandparents have been using straight baking soda forever. My dentist also recommended just baking soda. If you’re worried about fluoride, you can always get a fluoride treatment done every 6 months. But, if you want to stick to toothpaste I would recommend Tom’s of Maine. They have fluoridated pastes and you can send the packaging back through Terracycle. 🙂
Thanks for the recipe. Sounds good. I will use it 1x a week because my dentist said, and I have also read, that it shouldn’t be used too often (baking soda). There are 2 sides of the story and I don’t know who to trust. I believe it works for some people but I am scared for my teeth.
My late grandfather once told me that his mother washed her teeth with ashes. And she had beautiful healthy teeth till the end of her life. One guy today reminded me of that story by sharing his grandpa story which was the same.
So I took some ashes LOL from my brother’s stove and brushed with it.
I just started and I don’t have feedback but I would rather try something natural like baking soda, clay or ashes, than regular toothpaste. I am done with that.
I think it really depends on your teeth. My grandparents have always used straight baking soda and have never had a problem. The clay makes it less harsh. But, start small. You should never sacrifice your health!
They make me buy more and more expensive toothpaste every time I visit. Uffff. I am so upset
Where do you buy xylitol in a glass package or recyclable package?
I’ve bought it at Berkeley Bowl package free, you might be able to find it in bulk at your local health food store.
I write product reviews and I have been wanting to write about eco-friendly toothbrushes for awhile. With so many to choose from I will definitely put Brush With Bamboo on my list to try. Thanks for the recommendation!
I was wondering where you buy your Xylitol pkastic free from?
I’ve bought it at Berkeley Bowl package free, you might be able to find it in bulk at your local health food store.
Does the clay have lead?
It does, but at the same levels as broccoli and kale. It’s nothing to be concerned about.
Hi Kathryn, I was wondering wouldn’t storing the tooth powder in a mason jar with a metal lid deactivate it? Or would you suggest putting it in a completely glass or reusable plastic container when your traveling and it has a higher change of touching the metal. Also any updates you would make to the recipe or is this what you are currently using? Thanks!
Most modern mason jar lids are lined with plastic which prevents the powder from being deactivated. I still use this! Keeps my teeth super white and healthy. 🙂 You can read about my last trip to the dentist.
Hey! Wanting to try this but can’t find xylitol in bulk….found “un bleached bleached stevia” is that an ok swap?
The xylitol isn’t there because it’s sweet. Just leave it out, don’t swap for stevia.
I already use a bamboo toothbrush, but my dentist says I must use interdental brushes every day (not floss). Can you help with this as I dread to think of everyone doing this and all that plastic! I am 60, have good teeth and do not want to lose them through bone loss. Research shows they are better than flossing. Thanks.
I have used handles that use replaceable interdental brushes. The handles are plastic, but reusable for a really long time. This might be an option. One example is available from gumbrand.com HTH
Do they make reusable or at least use more than once interdental flossers?
Yes,reusable brush part is good for a week. Sometimes I can use a little longer if they aren’t worn/frayed yet, but I use different sizes, and some sizes on only a few spaces. Hope that makes sense!
I’ve been wanting to switch to using a homemade tooth powder or toothpaste, but have a condition for which my teeth benefit immensely from added fluoride so I haven’t made the change. In your research, have you found an ingredient which can add fluoride to tooth powder for those of us who want it?
I found hydroxyapatite powder online, which I’ve read is a good substitute for fluoride. You can read about it on askthedentist.com. Note-I am not a medical or dental professional.
There isn’t a fluoride powder. You can do a fluoride treatment with every check up at the dentist or stick to fluoridated toothpastes. Tom’s can be recycled through TerraCycle. 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I’ve recently been making the move to reduce waste as much as possible. 🙂
If we need to wet the toothbrush first before dipping into the powder, is it okay that water drips into the powder/clumps it together? How long is the powder good for if it’s come into contact with water?
Yeah, it’s perfectly fine. It’s not going to be enough to ruin it.
Can I leave out the xylitol? I’m having trouble locating it without plastic packaging.
I’m very interested in this recipe because you worked on it with a dentist. I’ve been using a similar recipe for a while and suddenly saw a post about someone being advised by their dentist not to use baking soda because it ruins the enamel.
Did you by any chance discuss this?
Thank you, Karina
My dentist actually recommended straight baking soda. It’s much less abrasive than silica which can be found in conventional pastes. My grandma brushed her teeth with salt and soda every day. My dentist does not recommend salt though. But, teeth are really individual. My husband works better with fluoride. It really depends on your personal teeth.
My zero waste swap was deodorant, and i’ll never go back! The amount of plastic waste from normal bars was distressing, so i tried crystal deodorant and it really works ?
Going to be trying your tooth powder recipe as i’m really struggling to find a natural, plastic free toothpaste for a trip abroad. It sounds perfect so thanks for posting!
I’m glad you found it helpful!
I’ve been looking for a zero waste tooth paste and I’m existed to try this! I’m trying to find these product without plastic packaging. Any tips?
I stupidly stuck a metal table spoon into the bentonite clay package! Does that mean the entire package is ruined?
Can you add activated charcoal? Also, we here in Arkansas like to take care of our teeth also!
I’m super excited to try this recipe, just a quick question if you have any idea if this would be ok and work with a baby? My 11 month old was a bit late getting her teeth and I don’t want to buy her a seperate toothpaste if i dont have to!
Hello. Can i use white kaolin clay? I habe only this one at home
I love your website/ blog!! It’s easy to follow and the links make it easy to check out your other recipes. Awesome!
I’m excited to try out your lotion and tooth powder. I’ve been making my own for a few years now and like your twist on things.
My most recent "waste free" change is from tampons to the Diva Cup (which is a challenge and takes practice… but worth it) and to a razor with disposable (recyclable) blades. Both changes save me money and save the environment!!
Also, I’m ordering one of those Bamboo toothbrushes right now- thanks for sharing that!
-Brittney (Banff, AB. Canada)
Did you know that bentonite clay is strip mined in Wisconsin and Brazil, wreaking destruction on the surrounding environment?
I am worried about recipes using baking soda for toothpowder. It is very alkaline and can damage enamel and gums.
It doesn’t neutralizes, as much as make pH higher, unnaturally high, in the mouth.
I haven’t seen anyone who recommends toothpowder with baking soda, adress this issue. What are your take on it?
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How would you recommend adding charcoal powder to this mix for its alleged whiting properties?
You should make sure to grind up the xylitol first as it can be gritty/abrasive if you don’t. I find a coffee grinder works really well.
Hi! Do you think adding Charcoal is a good idea to the mix? If one wants whitening properties of course 🙂
Hey! I know you said you didn’t want to get into fluoride but how come? How did you dentist recommend you get your fluoride?
For those who want more of a paste than a powder I found that you can add just enough coconut oil where it doesn’t liquefy at the coconut oils melting point. I don’t have a specific amount as I’ve just been experimenting until getting the right ratio. The paste allowed me to add peppermint EO’s for fresher breath (my understanding is that EO is safe with the CO acting as the carrier oil however you still shouldn’t ingest it). I hope modifying your recipe is okay!
I just tried my powder for the first time, and it worked much better than expected! I paired it with the mouthwash recipe, too (except I subbed spearmint for peppermint). Plus, I finished chugging my coffee right before I went to brush, and when I came out I made my husband smell my breath because I didn’t believe it could be fresh without that chemically induced "fresh feeling", and he’s amazing so he did, and he said no coffee breath or morning breath! Wow!
I was unable to find any prove that bentonite clay will remineralize teeth. The only study I found said that it showed none to minimal improvement in teeth mineralization in goats in India…The only reason this might prevent cavities are the antibacterial prosperities and detoxifying. I use baking soda with water as a mouth wash when my teeth get sensitive when I eat acidic foods.
Please, please stop using "apart" when you mean "a part." It’s difficult to take in your message when I’m frequently distracted by contractions that don’t exist. See Hyperbole and a Half’s post about the "alot" for a similar issue.
I really do appreciate what you’re posting overall. Thank you!
I tried this and found the result a bit too salty for brushing my teeth. I highly recommending adding some sort of mint component so it’s less of a start contrast to toothpaste. I also recommend starting with a much smaller amount for the first attempt. Since the recommendation is a ratio of 1:1:1 simply reduce the total amount and try it for a couple days and make tweaks. For now I’ve switched to denttabs.de because they include flouride. I’d be interested in trying this again if I find ways to easily incorporate mint and flouride.
i would like to know what is recommended to get what kind of brand for bentonite clay?
The plan to achieve a zero-waste life-style is a struggle but definitely worth the effort! Once I realized it is okay for me to achieve WHAT I can WHEN I can, I feel much better about it all. In other words, I have been unable to make an immediate 100% change, so I work on my plan one thing at a time. Today I’m making my own tooth powder stored in a glass jar.