Are there any sustainable (and useful) alternatives to toothpaste?

I've tried so far this kind of tooth tabs and I'm also aware of the existence of tooth powder but I haven't tried it yet. I liked about the product that I tried, that the package was easily recyclable (and not made of plastic). What are the advantages of the alternatives in terms of sustainability?

  • It is better to use natural alternative which help to avoid overhead of recycling. A related question(dup?) natural alternatives of toothpaste Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 12:25
  • I use it too and there are also different tastes you can choose from.
    – XandruCea
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 13:39
  • 1
    @SonofEarth I don't think this question is a duplicate. Something can be natural and not sustainable (e.g. water in the desert). Also something can be synthetic and still be sustainable (e.g. vitamins).
    – THelper
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 14:40
  • I heard ancient people used salt for keeping their teeth clean.
    – DarkTrick
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 9:33

6 Answers 6


My toothpaste is made from natural materials (mainly clay, small quantities of herb extracts and essential oils) and comes in a (recyclable) aluminium tube. The cap is from recyclable plastic (but of course for plastics, "recycling" means downcycling).

I find this toothpaste marvellous and pretty sustainable (except for the plastic cap). The clay part really helps get the teeth clean. Diligent brushing even removes discolouring (coffee, tea, etc.), if only over a course of weeks/months. (By the way, this is not a crackpot health product. Clay is also found in many conventional non-natural toothpastes.)

I have used tooth powder, but not for long. (I prefer my natural tooth paste.)

So rather than looking for alternatives to toothpaste, I recommend you also look at the range of natural toothpastes.

(I use mostly Weleda toothpaste. The red and yellow types are the ones with clay; the green and blue one are tooth gels, which I didn't find as effective. Weleda should be available in many parts of the world. I have also used other natural toothpastes containing clay, whose name I don't recall, but you should take a look in your local natural health product store.)


You should look at the corporate responsibility of the companies who make toothpaste. Some will be better than others and you can be sure that many will be incentive by both government tax schemes and public opinion to reduce the negative footprint of their products. You can also be sure that the bigger companies are almost always better equipped financially and in human resources to create products with the lowest footprints - in most cases it is driven by powerful market forces.

My advice is to just pay attention to WHO you are buying from and vote with your feet.


Ayurveda, an ancient science of life, food, medicine & healing and sister science to Yoga, provides these suggestions:

  • Datun / Datoon can made from plant stems
  • Dant Manjan / Herbal Tooth Powder also from herbal preparations. (PS. The word 'Dant' (think Dental) is Sanskrit/Hindi for Tooth/Teeth. So, ever wonder where your modern dental techniques came from?)

Quoted from Rajiv Dixit's talks on Prakrutik Chikitsa i.e. Natural Medicine.

12 types of daatoon (plant stems/ twigs) can be used only.

  • There are 3 basic season and 3 sub seasons.

  • Summers neem daatoon, babool,

  • Winters, amrood is best, jaamoon is next

  • Rains – mango, Arjun

  • Dant Manjans (Powder)

  • Dant manjan  – daaru - haldi {turmeric}, salt, sarso/ mustard oil

  • Dant manjan 2 – burn dried gobar {cow dung}, add haldi and sendha namak to it.

  • Dant manjan 3 – triphala choorna, sendha namak. This is the only one that can be used in all seasons.

  • Mango Leaves - Chew - make paste - Rub on teeth - Amazing whitener

From: Types of Salts:

  • Sendha namak (Rock salt). A large crystalline salt that's usually used for making ice cream in ice cream machines. Food grade rock salt is also available to use in regular cooking.

  • Kala namak (Black salt). This is a dark, reddish-black colored crystalline salt that turns a pinkish grey color when ground up. It has a distinct sulfurous odor and taste.

Commercial Preparations

There are some commercial preparations that use these components and great blends of the same. Outline of Commercial Preparations suggested by Ayurvedic experts that I use:

  • Vicco Vajradanti Tooth Powder - Coarse Powder of dried Stems/ Herbs

    • I had gum bleeding for decades & have close friends & cousins who are dentists and that never stopped. Gum bleeding is not just a dental issue, it is said to be connected with Blood imbalance/ impurity
    • Another fellow yogi told me how with a week of using these his bleeding stopped. Tried and got the same result.
  • Patanjali Dant Kanti Tooth Paste

    • My toothpase of daily use. Although I feel the above powder with my fingers is way better for tooth health. I use both in conjunction.
    • Use less of tooth brushes and carefully as they damage soft gums.
  • Vicco Vajradanti_Paste

    • There are several other brands that make similar herb based formulations for dental care. I'll update as I try & evaluate more of them, myself & expert advise.

Colgate tried to patent some of this but was thrown out due to prior known knowledge: Reddit: India_blocks_colgate_patents_for_spices.

Ayurvedic principles

The mentioned Ayurvedic solutions focus on one principle in Ayurveda: 6 tastes;

  • where Sweet, Salty and Bitter & Astringent tasting items have different effect on a persons system
  • and how each of them is needed in right amount and in the right order
  • Typically ending with Bitter/ Astringent items (to cleanse/ sanitize the palate)

Such items are suggested above for dental usage, and also used as after-mint or after food chewing, using betel nuts or betel leaves. {In excessive abuse, it also has a negative effect}

Ancient Rome

Similar principle seems to have been present in the Pompeii / ancient Roman excavations.*


revealed in a press conference that the ancient Romans had perfect teeth and “no immediate discernible need for dentists,” according news agency Agenzia Giornalistica Italia. Though Pompeii citizens never used toothbrushes or toothpaste, they had healthy teeth thanks to their low-sugar diet.

  • 3
    This site is focussed on factual answers. So as you seem to expect, I'd like to see references regarding the effectiveness of the preparations you're recommending. Have they been independently tested, and if so can you link to the studies please? "most people tend to believe AMA & Pharma lobby" because those are the people who gave us the polio vaccine and antibiotics.
    – Móż
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 20:32
  • There are factual answers, the pharma lobby does not want people to use natural sustainable medicine. Turmeric has been known for thousands of years as a great healing item, off late curcumin has become popular. PS: The post links to Vicco labs - You check with them for medical research. Also, those facts can be verified by going through 'Charak Samhita' & 'Ashtang Hriydaya' I dont trust AMA and you may choose not to trust these sources. Its a valid answer, choice is yours who to trust. Just like the Anti GMO and Pro GMO sides.. You choose who to trust.
    – Alex S
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 9:51
  • PS: I dont see any of the other any of the other answers provide any references. Sustainable alternative living will not have corporate funded lobbies & papers promoting them - There is no profit for Pharma lobbies.
    – Alex S
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 9:53

Baking soda. Also cheap and useful in many other contexts.

  • 4
    I always though that baking soda is a good ingredient for home-made toothpaste. I never heard of using only baking soda, so I googled it. FWIW I found this interesting article. It discusses some pros and cons of using baking soda as a tooth paste.
    – THelper
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 14:39

What I have ended up doing is making my own toothpaste using kaolin clay, essential oils, marine salt and an infusion of herbs.

There are a lot of recipes on the internet for making your own toothpaste using natural ingredients as this one (which is very similar to the one that I followed) or this one.

I consider this more sustainable than conventional commercial toothpaste because I've reduced packing (also none of the packages are made of plastic) and the amount of chemicals used, which makes me believe that the environmental footprint of the industrial production must be bigger than the one caused by producing it myself at home but I have no actual data to support this claim.


I would like to suggest coconut oil mixed with baking soda, perhaps some calcium carbonate powdered and or a little salt and a flavoring agent, no fluoride since that is so toxic.

Flavor might be almost anything in the mint family even turmeric might be used.

The coconut oil is a natural anti fungal, anti bacterial and since decay is caused by bacteria is sure to help.

Since it can be made when need from ingredients kept individually not much packaging.

  • 1
    Do you have any evidence to support your claims?
    – LShaver
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 15:53
  • What sort of evidence would you like?
    – mgh3kusa
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 6:55
  • Specifically, references regarding the properties of coconut oil you mention, and the toxicity of fluoride. Although I may suggest removing the latter -- fluoride isn't something most people would have around the house, and the debate over it's toxicity (and at what concentrations) is still on-going.
    – LShaver
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 14:43
  • There is no debate that it is toxic, the dentist will warn you not to swallow it if your swish some in your mouth while there, the only question is how much is very toxic.
    – mgh3kusa
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 7:27

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