The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
July 8, 2007

DIY Homemade Tooth Powder (plus info on Preserve toothbrushes)


Well, I said I’d do it and I did. I used up the last of a tube of Crest (and believe me, I squeezed out every delicious bit before sending the tube to plastic purgatory) without having found a plastic-free replacement product. So I made my own tooth powder with the ingredients pictured above:

1 cup of baking soda
1 cup of salt
1 tsp of stevia powder (an herbal sweetener)
1/2 tsp (give or take) of wintergreen essential oil

I shook it all up in a parmesan cheese container that I rescued from plastic purgatory and set it lovingly in its new home in the bathroom cabinet beside Michael’s shaving cream and my bottle of Act fluoride rinse.

(Act fluoride rinse is another product I’ll have to worry about eventually. But I still have 2 bottles left, so won’t think about it just yet.)

And then… and then… with no small amount of trepidation… I tried it. I sprinkled a little in my left palm and with my right hand, ran my wet toothbrush through the powder and then over my teeth and gums.

And I liked it! Big surprise!

Okay, it’s not yummy like Crest, but honestly, my mouth felt cleaner afterwards. And my gums felt all tingly in a good way, probably from the salt.

Now, after doing some research online, I see that there is disagreement as to whether brushing with baking soda can harm tooth enamel. Some dentists say yes, others think it’s fine. Most agree that the biggest mistake people make is to brush too hard, regardless of what toothpaste is used. And most dentists seem to agree that the toothpaste is not the important component in tooth cleaning anyway, but simply the brushing and flossing. (Floss… another item to deal with… later.)


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I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

So I’m going to keep using my homemade version, at least until my next dental appointment, which is July 30. Then, I’ll see what my dentist has to say about it.

I’m also planning to return to him the free Oral B toothbrush I got at my last visit and tell him about Preserve toothbrushes, which are made from post-consumer recycled plastic. There’s a great article about Recycline, the company that makes Preserve toothbrushes, over at Sustainable Is Good: An Eco Blog.

And finally, while I was typing this post, I got inspired to write the following e-mail to Recycline via their

Hi. My dentist gives out free Oral B toothbrushes imprinted with his name and phone number on them. I was wondering if you have any program for creating custom imprinted toothbrushes for dentists to give away. Consumers may not want to buy toothbrushes if they can get them free from the dentist. It would be great if you could get dentists to switch to Preserve toothbrushes for their patients.

Please let me know your thoughts on this. I have been promoting Preserve toothbrushes on my blog.

Beth Terry

Hopefully they’ll have some info for me before the 30th that I can take to Dr. Parrett. It’s worth a shot, right?

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10 Comments on "DIY Homemade Tooth Powder (plus info on Preserve toothbrushes)"

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13 days 8 hours ago

I would love it if my dentist provided preserve toothbrushes! I never but a toothbrush, unless I forget to pack my free one from the dentist when traveling, and that’s how I tried preserve.

6 years 6 months ago
Your new dental regimen is not only eco-friendly, it’s also more friendly for your teeth. Commercial toothpaste contains glycerin, which apparently coats the teeth and keeps the natural re-mineralization process from occurring. The glycerin only washes off after rinsing several times (something like 20, I believe). I would suggest using sea salt instead of regular table salt. I just use straight baking soda or straight sea salt. Sometimes I add a little hydrogen peroxide or just brush or rinse with hydrogen peroxide. Apparently cavities are caused by bacteria, so keeping your mouth clean will keep cavities away.
6 years 10 months ago

Thanks so much for the resource! I love DIY so this is the perfect solution for me.
.-= Gavin´s last blog ..Indoor living wall =-.

Fake Plastic Fish
7 years 1 month ago

Hi Lola. Stevia is an herb. It does not contain any sugar, so it can't rot your teeth. Thanks for stopping by!

7 years 2 months ago

Stevia? Is this sweetener anything like sugar. If it is, it wouldn't be a great idea to rub on your teeth… so I'm guessing this doesn't rot your teeth like sugar. Am I right?

I like the idea of using the cleaned Parmesan shaker!

8 years 9 months ago

cinnamon makes a tasty addition and can kill oral bacteria

8 years 9 months ago

I realize this is an old blog, but new to me and so happy to have found it! Question: do you add the wintergreen oil to the soda, salt, stevia mix? And I loooove, the preserve toothbrushes. I applaud you for taking the initiative for asking them for a sample. Hooray for simple successes! Have you blogged about dental floss? I’m going to look again. I’ve been wondering about this lately, too. Thanks, Beth!

Bianca, in Brooklyn

9 years 3 months ago
One day after faithfully flossing and rinsing, I decided to wipe my teeth, instead of brushing them, with a piece of washcloth wrapped around my index finger. Afterward, my teeth felt great, the way they feel after they’ve been cleaned at the dentist, so I wiped my entire mouth and tongue and I’ve never looked back. I now have a stack of little pieces of cut-up washcloth instead of a toothbrush. This is especially good for me because I was one of those Women Who Brush Their Teeth Too Hard and let me tell you, it is a BAD habit… Read more »
Beth in the Fake Plastic Fish Tank
9 years 3 months ago

I like the feeling of the salt, but it does make the powder taste pretty… uh… salty. My husband doesn’t like the salty flavor. I think the salt aids in healing if you have any gum soreness (as does salt water when you have a sore throat), but it’s optional. Oh, and I used table salt because it’s what I had, but most recipes I’ve seen on line call for sea salt.

9 years 3 months ago

I had not seen the addition of table salt to the homemade tooth powder – I’ll have to try that. I’m almost ready to lay my Tom’s tube to rest as well.