Clay toothpaste has been a game-changer for my all-natural hygiene routine. I started out my natural clay toothpaste journey with China clay (kaolin) and am currently using Bentonite clay. As an all natural clay toothpaste, both varieties have helped to remineralize my teeth and achieve a healthier mouth.
Today, I want to share why I’ve become such a fan of bentonite clay toothpaste because I don’t think I would ever go back. I’m not an expert on why clay toothpaste does what it does on a scientific level, but I can share what I’ve experienced from using it. And I can corroborate which benefits that I have read about online were true for my experience. I hope it helps you in deciding if bentonite clay toothpaste is right for you!
All About Clay Toothpaste
There are many different brands of clay toothpaste, and I’ve tried a couple of them. If you’re used to the paste or gel feel of “conventional” toothpaste, the texture of clay may take some getting used to. But stick with it and I’m almost positive once you get used to the feeling of brushing with clay, you’ll hate the taste and feel of “conventional” toothpaste. Which is good because clay toothpaste has amazing benefits!
Clay contains trace minerals like calcium and phosphorus that can help your teeth repair itself after you eat sugars. On a day to day basis, these minerals usually get to your teeth through your saliva. People who use “conventional” toothpaste also get this remineralization benefit from fluoride. Fluoride is a hotly debated ingredient in the health world given its toxicity 1.
I’ve personally decided I didn’t want fluoride in my toothpaste, so by using clay toothpaste, which contains trace minerals, I’m increasing the minerals available for the remineralization process in a less toxic way.
How You Get Cavities / Tooth Decay
Whenever you eat sugars or starches, the bacteria in them produce an acid that wears away your tooth enamel. In general, minerals from our saliva will neutralize these acids, and all is okay. However, if we eat these sugars too often and our saliva minerals aren’t enough to neutralize the resulting acid, your tooth enamel gets weakened.
When a portion of your enamel gets so weak that it’s destroyed, that’s when you need to go to the dentist to get a filling because you have a cavity
Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Side Effects: Does Clay Have Lead In It?
Are there bentonite clay toothpaste side effects to worry about? For the most part, no. Some people are worried because they’ve read that clay may contain trace minerals, including a trace amount of lead.
Consistent lead exposure can lead to muscle and organ damage, coordination and speech issues, and developmental delay in children. Lead is scary – that’s why there’s been a big push to remove all lead paint. But lead is everywhere – in meat, fish, and all around us – even organic vegetables.
Earthpaste, a bentonite clay toothpaste company, recently went through an ordeal to explain why they had a Prop 65 label on their toothpaste. They explained quite thoroughly that lead is a naturally occurring element in clay that poses no danger to your health since it’s bonded with the clay. They even included scientific studies on animals that showed that consumption of clay was efficient in decreasing lead levels within the body.
Any minor amounts of lead in clay is bonded to clay and unlikely to be absorbed within the body. Combined with the fact that the amount of naturally-occurring lead in clay is so low that I’m not concerned about it in regards to my health.
My Experience with an All Natural Clay Toothpaste
How I Started Using Clay Toothpaste
Growing up, I always hated brushing my teeth because it would always trigger a gag reflex for me. Electric toothbrush, soft bristles, medium bristles – it didn’t matter. Different flavors, various brands – nothing seemed to help.
One day, I went to a natural foods store in search of lotion to try to heal psoriasis on my palms. The sales associate mentioned that a friend of hers had a similar palm issue, which was resolved by wearing gloves while brushing her teeth. She theorized that the toothpaste was doing something to her skin.
I was hesitant in believing that theory; it seemed so silly! But it planted a seed in my mind about considering a more natural toothpaste.
Georganics Toothpaste Review
A few days later, I stumbled upon Georganics, a natural oral care website, while looking for zero waste alternatives for my bathroom. Georganics is primarily baking soda but also utilizes Kaolin clay.
I tried the Red Mandarin flavor. When it arrived, I tried it out immediately. It was right before dinnertime, but I went to brush my teeth anyway! I scooped out a bit the size of a pea and started brushing. And I hated it! It was like rubbing clay on my teeth (well, duh!) – it was so… unusual.
I actually didn’t use it for a week. But then I kept seeing it on my bathroom counter and thinking what a waste not to use it. I resolved to use it for a week to give it a second chance. And good thing I did because I started loving it afterward!
My Brushing Process
Over the course of that week, I experimented with different ways of brushing and found one that worked for me.
- Quick stir through to the bottom to mix the coconut oil thru the baking soda and clay
- Scoop a half-pea size onto my electric toothbrush
- Smear the toothpaste to 3 areas of my mouth: left, center, right
- Brush each portion of the mouth for 30 seconds: lower right, upper right, upper left, lower left
- Rinse and spit – done!
Benefits from Brushing with Clay Toothpaste
After using a clay toothpaste for a week, I noticed healthier gums, especially at the point where the gum meets the tooth. Over a few weeks, I also realized I had a decreased sensitivity to cold foods. No more slowly licking an ice-cream cone, trying to win the war between my tongue speed and the melting rate. I can bite off a small chunk whenever I need to speed eat my ice cream!
Another thing I hated about “conventional” toothpaste was that if I decided to drink some juice after brushing my teeth, the juice taste would be all distorted and bitter because of the residual toothpaste effect on my mouth – especially with orange juice! Not that you should make drinking juice after brushing your teeth a habit, but this doesn’t happen with my natural toothpaste.
However, the best thing was that my gag reflex from brushing teeth was gone. A benefit that I’ve never read about anywhere but I just happened to notice. No more putting off brushing my teeth because, really, my dental routine was actually pretty enjoyable now.
Living in Amsterdam though, part of me felt guilty that I was shipping toothpaste from the U.K. so when I ran out of my Georganics toothpaste, I purchased a more “conventional” toothpaste from my local store. I didn’t like it at all! The artificial flavors, the foaming, and worse of all, my gagging came back =( I don’t know what it is about an all natural toothpaste, but if you have a gag reflex while brushing your teeth, a natural toothpaste might help you too.
When I moved to the U.S., I switched over to Uncle Harry’s Fluoride-Free Toothpaste, a true bentonite clay toothpaste. The flavor is not as good as Georganics, but I notice all the same benefits. Still no gag reflex during my dental routine – woohoo! Other strong brands to consider are Earthpaste and Dirty Mouth Tooth Powder.
Shopping Guide: The Best Clay Toothpaste Options
For those living in Europe, I highly recommend Georganics, which ships from the UK. This brand was my first foray into the natural toothpaste world. It’s still my favorite out of all the kinds of toothpaste I have tried over the years. When I lived in Amsterdam, I used to recommend them to everyone I knew. My favorite flavor is the red mandarin.
They do ship to the US, but I don’t recommend doing so. While shipping costs are not ridiculous, I think it’s silly to ship a product individually from the UK. The transportation emissions would be ridiculous.
Uncle Harry’s is the bentonite clay toothpaste that I currently use while in the U.S. It works well to remineralize my teeth and has a neutral, slightly minty flavor. After brushing, you can feel the cleanliness of your mouth. Not a slick feeling that I used to confuse with clean in “conventional” toothpaste. And not the artificial mintiness that people often confuse with “fresh breath.” No, this clean feeling is the feeling that there’s nothing in your mouth that isn’t supposed to be there. It’s a good feeling – try it out.
It definitely seems pricier than a tube of “conventional” toothpaste, but note that you have to use much less, so one jar actually lasts longer. One jar lasts around three months for me. If you prefer to use more or less than the half pea-size that I use, it will last you a shorter or longer period, respectively.
It maintains a naturally alkaline pH, and it is US-made. It’s also free from fluoride and SLS (a foaming agent that can have a drying effect and increase canker sores) – yay!
How to Make a Homemade Toothpaste with Bentonite Clay
Instead of purchasing your toothpaste pre-made, you can make a homemade toothpaste with bentonite clay. You only need relatively simple ingredients. This way, you can choose your flavor exactly to your preferences! Here are three homemade toothpaste recipes to try:
From Red and Honey – this is a clay toothpaste that uses salt as a mild abrasive:
- 1/4 cup Bentonite clay
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 teaspoons xylitol
- 2 teaspoons calcium/magnesium powder
- 12 drops trace mineral
- 15-20 drops of essential oils
From What Great Grandma Ate – this is a clay toothpaste that uses baking soda as a mild abrasive:
- 3 tablespoons Bentonite clay
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 15-20 drops of essential oils
From Trash is for Tossers – this is not a clay-based toothpaste, but it is all natural and zero waste:
- 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 15-20 drops of organic essential oils
Familiarize Yourself with a Natural Toothpaste First Before Experimenting with Your Own
My recommendation is to try one of the brands that I listed above before trying to make your own. Referencing my own experience, there’s definitely a transition period where your preferences are getting used to a more natural toothpaste.
The last thing that you want is to get discouraged because your first experience with an all natural toothpaste is… weird. You don’t need thoughts weighing on your mind like whether you chose a good recipe or whether or not you made it right.
But I’ll Save Money and Go Zero Waste by Using a Reusable Jar!
In the long run, making your own toothpaste will definitely save you money and cut down on packaging waste. But that’s only after a while since these ingredients come in their own packaging as well, and generally come in relatively large sizes.
Best to confirm that an all natural toothpaste works for you before investing money and resources into a DIY recipe that won’t work for your own taste and preferences. Perhaps you never get comfortable with clay in your mouth. Or perhaps you prefer salt or calcium carbonate over baking soda as an abrasive.
Find a toothpaste brand that has relatively good reviews and give it a try. Figure out your taste preference; then you know in which ingredients to shell out money to invest for a homemade toothpaste with bentonite clay.
Let me know how it goes!