Plastic Microbead-Free Toothpaste

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Please don’t tell my dentist…

For many years (probably about a decade) too many of my teeth had hurt when I ate not just hot or cold foods, but when I drank a mere glass of water or rinsed my teeth with water after brushing them. Then last year I started using plastic-free tooth powder from Aquarian Bath. I really liked it but when it ran out, I decided to go back to making toothpaste, this time using bentonite clay as a base, the main ingredient in the tooth powder, rather than baking soda as I had in the past.

I’m not sure when the change occurred, but one day several months ago, I noticed that my teeth no longer hurt. This is somewhat miraculous. Although I have no scientific proof, I think the tooth powder and homemade stuff are the reason.

So that’s one big reason for me to continue to make my own toothpaste. But here’s an even bigger one: mine contains zero plastic microbeads.

Companies like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble add plastic microbeads to their personal care products because these tiny bits of plastic cost much less than natural exfoliants such as crushed walnut shells. But those tiny plastic beads go down the drain—excluding those that wind up in our bodies!—and enter our waterways where they wreak havoc. 

Your toothpaste and other personal-care products contain plastic microbeads if you see any of the following ingredients listed on the label:

  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene terephthalate
  • Polymethyl methacrylate

The short video below from The Story of Stuff outlines the many problems with plastic microbeads.

Homemade Toothpaste

toothpaste ingredients


Don’t worry about exact proportions. I hadn’t really been measuring the ingredients out until I made the batch pictured down below for this post.

  • 6 tablespoons bentonite clay
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil or more for desired consistency
  • 20 drops essential peppermint oil (optional)

I purchased all of these in bulk except for the essential oil, which you can leave out. I’ll reuse the bottle to store seeds.


  1. Stir together dry ingredients.
  2. Add melted coconut oil to dry ingredients and stir until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
  3. Add peppermint oil if desired.
  4. Store in a clean jar in the bathroom.
  5. Use about a large pea size to brush your teeth as usual.


This stuff really doesn’t taste like anything. Perhaps I have grown accustomed to the flavor. It certainly smells fantastic! If you want it to improve the flavor, you can add some xylitol.

35 Replies to “Plastic Microbead-Free Toothpaste”

  1. I have been looking for a good toothpaste recipe, and this one is very convincing. Any idea where I can buy bentonite clay?

    1. loads of places have bentonite just google ‘Bentonite powder’

  2. Thank you for this recipe. I’ve been making our toothpaste for a while now, but have wanted incorporate clay and hadn’t found a good recommendation. Since I’ve been impressed with everything you share, I’ll take your recommendation and add the bentonite. Thank you so much for maintaining this blog and sharing, you are doing so much good.

    1. Thanks so much for all of that Danielle (sorry, thought I had responded to this…). I think the clay must be the magic ingredient that has reduced (eliminated actually) my sensitivity. I hope you like it 🙂

  3. How cool! You always post such interesting things.

  4. I make a very similar recipe, but I add clove oil instead of peppermint, it helps with the pain I am getting from my wisdom teeth coming through.

    1. Oooh, great idea Amanda. Thanks for the tip!

  5. I am using only coconot oil since years and like once per week i am brushing my teeth with baking soda. Since I am a 6 years or so and my mother stopped controlling my teeth brushing habbits, i am brushing my teeth only in the morning- and never had any problem at the dentist with karies or anything. I am getting many compliments how white and beautiful my teeth are. The dentist tells me that i have the best teeths he has seen- but i should brush my teeth once per week with some special high fluorid dosis (blablabla) which i of course would never do- cause its toxic and why should i change my habbits?

    1. Wow, Penny, just coconut oil? I know people swear by the stuff. I have tried teeth pulling with it but didn’t stick to it long enough to have any effect. I’d like to try this. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Is there any way I can thin it out? I have a reusable squeeze bottle. I’d like to use that so my children aren’t tempted to dip their brushes in the jar.

    1. Hi Sylvia, you can try adding lots more coconut oil. My daughter used to make us homemade toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda and essential oil. She used lots of coconut oil so it had more of a runny consistency. I hope that helps 🙂

  7. What toothbrush do you use? I can’t find any that are completely biodegradable.

    1. I have a Green Panda bamboo toothbrush and I love it!

    2. Hi again Sylvia. I just read this today from Beth Terry of My Plastic-Free Life. Apparently no toothbrush is completely biodegradable 🙁 At least the handle is though…

  8. […] If you are still using conventional toothpaste you might want to know that many (most, or even all) of the big brands of toothpaste contain plastic microbeads for exfoliation. That’s right, you read it: plastic! So, not only are you likely to be ingesting (and accumulating in your body) some plastic beads, the rest are being washed down the drain and accumulating in waterways. Not cool! You can read more about it over on one my favourite blogs Zero Waste Chef. […]

  9. If you add xylitol , please keep it away from pets! Xylitol is deadly!

    1. Hi Barb. I didn’t realize that! Thanks for letting me know. My cat Bootsy also thanks you. ~ Anne Marie

  10. […] If you are still using conventional toothpaste you might want to know that many (most, or even all) of the big brands of toothpaste contain plastic microbeads for exfoliation. That’s right, you read it: plastic! So, not only are you likely to be ingesting (and accumulating in your body) some plastic beads, the rest are being washed down the drain and accumulating in waterways. Not cool! You can read more about it over on one my favourite blogs Zero Waste Chef. […]

  11. My problem is the coconut oil is solid in our climate, so it’s not a paste. Any recommendations? I put it in the microwave the other night, but to do this every time I want to brush my teeth is a bit of a pain. Is there any way of thinning it out? It’s impossible to get it out of the jar and on to your toothbrush otherwise, it just crumbles.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Mine solidifies too. You could use a small spoon to get it out. I also recently made tooth powder, which I really like. You don’t have to deal with coconut oil issues with it. I used eggshell powder but you can omit that too if you’d prefer. Here’s the link to the recipe if you’re interested:

      1. Ok, thank you! It’s really too solid to scoop out and it just turns to crumbs even with a little spoon and then it won’t stay on the toothbrush and falls all over the sink. I like tooth powder, but I really like minty freshness of the peppermint oil and the coconut oil has such a yummy flavor too. I’ll keep experimenting! Ps I love your recipes! I just made your mouthwash recipe too… can’t wait to try it in a month!

      2. What about adding a little olive oil or some other oil to it?

  12. […] toothpaste. I can’t front: It felt like I was swishing melted butter around my mouth. Per this recipe, I quickly added about 6 tablespoons of bentonite clay I had under the sink to the white blob, […]

  13. I was doing research on Zero Waste, and going plastic free. I have not done anything yet., and were really skeptical over things such as toothpaste. But you have won be over just by saying it reduces your sensitivity. I cant even drink water anymore without pain. Thank you for your blog!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kym, I was the same way! I only have anecdotal evidence, but I think the toothpaste helped. I hope it does for you too. ~ Anne Marie

  14. […] got the toothpaste recipe from The Zero Waste Chef. I highly recommend you guys follow her on social media platforms and check out her website! She is […]

  15. Annette Erdtsieck says: Reply

    Thanks for that, just ordered the clay off ebay, plenty available and it’s cheap too. Wanting to whiten my teeth.
    I don’t like mint flavour but I’d love to use orange. I’m confused at exactly what orange oil to buy. Any help?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Annette, I think any essential orange oil would do. It would help with the taste. ~ Anne Marie

  16. Elizabeth Steward says: Reply

    Hi! I want to try this! Can you tell me what purpose the cloves and cinnamon serve, or if I omit them will it still work? Both of them activate my allergies.
    I found your page via the Mercury News article today. So happy I did!

  17. Anne Marie Christensen says: Reply

    Hello Anne Marie! I was wondering if you buy bentonite clay that is particular to internal usage? My local bulk store only has bentonite clay that is to be used externally. Thanks a bunch! Also, I love your blog, it is one of the most informative zero-waste blogs I’ve come upon. I especially appreciate your emphasis on fermentation. Have a wonderful day!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Anne Marie! (Good name!) Yes, mine is food-grade. I get it in the personal care section in bulk at Rainbow Grocery. But I’m not sure if it differs from standard bentonite clay. I found this article from Wellness Mama about bentonite clay that may help: Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you also have a wonderful day.
      ~ Anne Marie

  18. […] Zero Waste Chef Plastic Microbead-Free Toothpaste […]

  19. I just made the toothpaste with water and no coconut oil and it works very well. This avoids the “coconut oil in the sink and the drains” problem and the “coconut oil is solid and crumbly if your room temperature is below 20°C or even more” problem and it’s … well … water. My teeth feel silky smooth. It’s really great. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    1. Thank you very much for the helpful feedback Jacqui. I’m glad you like the results 🙂
      ~ Anne-Marie

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