Home-made Organic Toothpaste - 'Snow Caps' Old Swiss Teeth Whitening Recipe

An element some people ignore, although choosing to eat organic food, is that they are not only what they eat but also what they put on their skin and use to clean their teeth. Over the years we have progressively rid ourselves of 'shop-bought' and gone for home-made and this includes hygiene and beauty products. We control the ingredients, which are organic, inexpensive, easy to use and as an added bonus give our kitchen the luxurious aroma of a perfumery/apothecary whilst we are in the process of mixing them.

Hand mixing home-made organic tooth powder

I have a couple of recipes I use for toothpaste, including a simple clay-based one, which I will include in a later post. 'Snow Caps' is our favourite and although you will need to purchase some of the ingredients you could actually grow or prepare some of them from the raw plant materials.

Why bother to make your own toothpaste?

We used to buy an organic toothpaste so there was no question of us changing because of a whole host of unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients. Furthermore, I have never in all my life used fluoride so that wasn't an issue. However, a couple of years ago we were lucky enough to escape 'drill and fill' and to find a biological/holistic dentist and (really importantly for me) one who didn't use needles. Our dentist does not fill teeth and so I began to study how to optimise our diet for tooth remineralisation and conversely look for anything that could hinder the process. In the latter category, I found mention of glycerine, which is used to give the toothpaste a 'glossy' sheen. This also leaves a residual coating on the teeth, thus preventing remineralisation and it takes multiple rinsings with pure water to actually rid your teeth of this glycerine film.  When I checked the contents of my purchased organic toothpaste, I was mortified to find glycerine. Interestingly enough that was the first difference we noticed when we began to use our home-made toothpaste, in essence, a much fresher cleaner feel to our teeth.
Ingredients for home-made toothpaste


Alkaline v Acid Mouth - the importance of balancing your oral pH

An acidic environment in the mouth encourages the overgrowth of aciduric/acidogenic (aka cavity causing) bacteria, as the healthy bacteria, which thrive in a neutral or alkaline environment, start to die off. This leads to the formation of plaque, discolouration and the weakening and erosion of the teeth.  A pH of 5.5 is most injurious to tooth enamel and creates an environment for cavities and/or diseases of the gums to occur. A neutral or alkaline environment (pH 7 - 7.5), encourages remineralisation to take place, strengthens the teeth and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria. It is particularly relevant at night, when most people have a low pH in the mouth due to accumulation of daily stress, tiredness and consuming certain foods, in particular grains and sugar-laden drinks. Leaving your mouth overnight with a low pH is one of the main routes to dental problems. Age, hormonal changes and certain health conditions can also drastically alter oral pH, it is useful therefore to find out the pH of your mouth, which you can do with a litmus test.

Ingredients and their function

Raw Sea Salt

My grandfather only ever used salt to clean his teeth and I remember him as being the only adult of his generation I knew, still to have his own teeth. My father does the same and although over eighty has only ever had one small filling, which with hindsight should have been left to remineralise.  The raw salt we use is known, in English, as Celtic Sea Salt it is gathered just round the corner from us, on the Guérande Peninsula, Brittany. Hand-harvested and sun-dried, this salt contains a wide variety of around 100, beneficial minerals and trace-elements as opposed to Table salt which is heavily processed and stripped down to sodium chloride. With true irony, these trace-elements and minerals are then sold onto companies to make nutritional supplements. Furthermore,Table salt has anti-caking agents added, such as ferrocyanide, talc, silica aluminate and as if that wasn't bad enough, dextrose! So do not use Table salt for making toothpaste. 

Raw sea salt home-made toothpaste
Apart from raw sea salt's other many health benefits, those directly concerned with its use as a tooth powder are as follows:
- pH 8
- promotes healing of lesions
- remineralisation
- antiseptic properties
- stain removal

Bicarbonate of Soda

This has been used commercially since the 1800's either on its own or in combination with Sea salt as a tooth powder. It is a naturally occurring mineral aka nacholite and is found in fresh water sedimentary deposits, such as evaporated lakes and river basins. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate but baking powder has additional ingredients, cream of tartar and starch. On a point of economy, in certain countries, all products used for external or internal use have to be labelled and packaged separately, even if they are exactly the same product. The sodium bicarbonate I buy from my local organic shop is sold in a large paper bag as a cleaning agent, whereas the companies sodium bicarbonate 'baking soda' is sold in more fancy, smaller - individual dose type packets. I telephoned the company and they explained this to me, so I obviously bought the larger economy size!

homemade bicarbonate of soda toothpaste
Other than the many health uses the benefits derived from using bicarbonate of soda in tooth powder are as follows:
- pH 9
- stain removal
- whitening
- absorbs odours
- removes plaque
- promotes gum health

Powdered Orange Peel

One of the ingredients you can either grow (depending on climate or greenhouse space!) or at least manufacture yourself. Here in France, organic powered orange peel is a popular baking ingredient, so readily available. You will also find plenty of information on its associated health benefits due to it recent use in cancer treatment.  Outside the body citrus fruit has a low pH, although once fully metabolised it leaves an alkaline ash in the body, here in the mouth it will be acid but is countered by the volume of the other alkalising ingredients 

powdered orange peel diy tooth powder
As with the before mentioned, ingredients, powdered orange peels have historically been used in health and beauty preparations. Their particular uses for tooth powder are as follows:
- whitening
- stain removal - in particular nicotine
- absorbs odours
- antiseptic and anti-bacterial
- aids in healing of lesions

Dried Sage

Sage, as the above ingredient, easy to grow and dry. If you need to buy it then purchasing it in the form for the preparation of  organic tisanes or herbal teas is much cheaper than that sold for general culinary use. Sage, similar to Sea salt and Bicarbonate of soda has had a long association with the natural treatment of gum diseases. It has also been associated with the treatment of many other medical conditions.

Dried sage leaves organic diy toothpaste

For tooth powder its particular uses are:
- promotes gum health
- antiseptic/anti-bacterial
- stain removal
- absorbs odours

Essential Oils Lemon (Citrus limon)and Peppermint ( Mentha piperita)

These are two of my favourite oils and I use them in a variety of preparations. Lemon essential oil is often referred to as an essence, in that it is obtained by cold pressing the zest of the fruit. 

Essential oils for home-made toothpaste
Although they have a variety of medicinal and household applications, (including, in the case of peppermint use as a mouse deterrent, I've used it in the roof and it works), in the tooth powder recipe they are being used for their following properties
- antibacterial
- breath freshness
- taste

The Toothpaste Recipe

The recipe for 'Snow Caps'I found in a book I would recommend to anyone interested in essential oils and their uses, it is written by Valerie Ann Worwood under the very apt title of: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. I have used it for years and found it invaluable as a reference text. The only tiny quibble I have with it and it is tiny, is that in the main body of the book, she uses the short, common rather than the Latin name for the oils. I use chemotypes (oils which are named according to the species of plant's growing conditions and environment), which mean oils of the same plant may have different therapeutic qualities and strengths. Therefore, it would have been useful for me if instead of using the term Rosemary, or Lavender, she would have used the chemotype. However, this is easily remedied with the additional reference of my particular oil company's manual. It is, by the way, a mark of quality if, when you purchase essential oils, the company includes a free and comprehensive booklet of their products and their therapeutic qualities.

Toothpaste - Ingredients

Main ingredients organic homemade toothpaste

Raw Sea Salt                           1 teaspoon   
Bicarbonate of soda            2 teaspoons
Powdered Orange Peel      1 tablespoon   
Dried Sage                              2 teaspoons    
Lemon Essential oil              2 - 5 drops
Peppermint Essential oil    2 - 5 drops

Toothpaste - Method

ingredient sage home-made toothpaste
In the past I used a pestle and mortar to grind up the sage but recently we were given a coffee grinder so have begun to use that. in fact Andy mixes everything apart from the essential oil in it, which makes for a very fine powder and resultant smooth tooth paste

Mixing the ingredients for organic home-made toothpaste

N.B. The essential oils should be well incorporated into the powder to get an even flavour, mint is very strong and can quite literally 'take your breath away' if you were to get a large dose at once. Andy does this by adding a little powder to the jar at a time and then a drop of each essential oil an mixing it thoroughly so it is added and mixed in layers.


How to store organic home-made tooth powder
To retain all the virtues of the ingredients you need to store this powder in a dry container away from light. I used a recycled hotel jam jar and Andy made me a pallet wood surround. A dark glass or china container would do very well.

Turning your powder into a paste

Turning home-made organic tooth powder into toothpaste

To make this tooth powder into a tooth paste, you can either take a little powder on a teaspoon and then dip your wet toothbrush into it or you can dip your wet toothbrush directly into the powder. I have seen various sites quoting sodium bicarbonate as abrasive and equally as many of the opinion that the only thing less abrasive than it is water! I have never found it to be abrasive but then I would never use it dry.

Some people like to use virgin organic coconut oil to make the paste but I find coconut oil such a precious resource, I would rather eat it than spit it out.

The evidence I can give you for this toothpaste can only be personal and anecdotal but we have both found that this recipe has given us, cleaner, whiter and much less sensitive teeth. I also had a very obvious hole in one of my teeth which used to cause pain and which has now equally obviously remineralised, something it never attempted to do before. I can see it has sealed over and know it no longer hurts! I also have a broken tooth which has done the same. Apart from these benefits, we are really happy to be making yet another toiletry and not spending so much money on an organic one which contained glycerine.

Now if you'd like to, sit back and watch the film:

If you've enjoyed this recipe think about sharing it and feel free to ask questions, comment and/or make observations.

All the very best, 'til next time and another recipe from an old farm house in Normandie,

Return to 'WHAT'S ON THE MENU' for more Simply Organic Recipes

© 2014 Sue Cross


  1. This looks so easy. Can't wait to make my own. BTW, could you post a photo of the wooden jar holder? It looks lovely.

    1. Hi Toni,
      Thanks for taking time to comment, much appreciated.
      I will not only post a picture of the jar. I will get Andy to make another one and film it. I find it really hard to get small and lidded dark-glass jars here. These little hotel-type jam jars people are always giving me are great, they just need a holder and I'm sure other people have the same problem. I need some more anyway because I am making moisturisers and again they need to be kept out of harsh light.
      All the very best and will upload the picture within the above blog post either today or tomorrow,

  2. Your blog is very informative and awesome.

    1. Hi Naveeda,
      Thank-you for your comments, it is kind of you to have expressed them and they are very much appreciated.
      All the best from Normandie,

  3. I love the wooden holder - I've often wished for such.. you should really sell them! Very unique and definitely needed! I was going to make some powdered orange peel, but it wouldn't be organic. Now having seen your video I want to just order some online. Do you have a good source where is reasonably priced? I need some other herbs so I'll see what I can find. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi there and thanks so much for your comments on the wooden holder - they are very much appreciated! Maybe we should think about making them, particularly as Andy recently made a woodturning lathe from scrap! With regards to the peel, I would always go for an organic product because oranges are not only chemically sprayed when on the trees but often they are treated post harvest too. I have added links to the Ingredients (recipe) section of the above. They are to Amazon (USA) - where the price for organic powdered orange peel is three times cheaper than here in France. Powdered orange peel is a very popular cookery ingredient here but obviously it has to be imported! The rest of the ingredients are on a par or a little cheaper than here too except for the essential oils. France has many high quality organic producers of a comprehensive range of essential oils, so this makes for competitive pricing. Have fun with making the toothpaste, the smell as you add the various ingredients is part of the joy of concocting it! We have been making and using it for over six years now and would never go back to a commercial toothpaste! All the very best from a rather cloudy day in France and please get back if you need further info, Sue

  4. would love to make this toothpaste today - but I do not have organic orange peel - any suggestions on what to substitute - maybe orange essential oil? would that be as beneficial?