Homemade “natural” toothpaste recipes shared online pose a health risk and should be avoided, dentists caution
- Social media influencers promote trendy “natural” toothpaste recipes
- Researchers at the University of Nantes found that toothpaste recipes can be harmful
- Some of the recipes contain ingredients that may contain toxic heavy metals
Recipes for “natural” homemade toothpaste shared online are harmful to health and should be avoided, dentists caution.
Trending social media influencers are promoting the recipes amid growing distrust of the ingredients used by the industry.
However, a study of 84 homemade preparations on the Internet shows that they are likely to do more harm than good.
These included charcoal, clay, and turmeric, which can contain toxic heavy metals.
Others contained abrasive lemon juice with an acidic content that can remove the teeth’s protective enamel and increase the risk of damage.
None contained fluoride – the main ingredient in preventing rot – and few contained foaming ingredients, preservatives, or antibacterial agents.
This means that they can become contaminated with harmful bacteria.
Researchers at the University of Nantes, France, also express concern that the recipes use inaccurate measures such as tablespoons and teaspoons.
Commercial toothpastes must meet strict safety standards and precise measures.
Recipes for “natural” homemade toothpaste shared online pose a health risk and should be avoided, researchers at the University of Nantes, France, have warned [stock photo]
Professor Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association said, “Far from being good for your teeth, this research confirms that homemade toothpaste recipes should contain a warning – they are bad for your teeth and can be harmful to your health.
“Thanks to the addition of fluoride to toothpastes in the 1970s, more people are now keeping their teeth, have fewer painful abscesses, and have better smiles.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay can occur when acid is formed from bacterial plaque that builds up on your teeth.
When sugary foods and drinks are consumed, the carbohydrates convert into the required energy and produce acid at the same time.
As plaque builds up, the acid can begin to break down the surface of your tooth, creating holes called cavities.
The cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies under the tooth enamel: the dentin. Fillings are often supposed to stop the onslaught.
“So promoting fluoride-free ‘natural’ toothpastes is madness and threatens to return to a simpler time – a time when many people had rotted black teeth.
‘The BDA believes that the trend for homemade toothpaste is being driven by social media and the perception of some influencers that natural is good. If only, but that is not confirmed by the facts.
“Natural ingredients may sound harmless, but given the potential for harm, internet instructions for DIY toothpaste could literally be a recipe for disaster.”
The study’s lead author, Dr. Celine Couteau said: “Growing suspicion among consumers of a number of ingredients used in the industry has led to the development of a trend for homemade products.
“This now affects all types of sectors, but especially the hygiene sector for shampoo and toothpaste products.”
She added, “All of the recipes studied are fluoride-free, but fluoride has been shown to be the most effective ingredient in toothpaste for preventing tooth decay.
“The homemade toothpaste recipes are difficult to prepare and impossible to control.
In particular, it is impossible to predict their abrasiveness and microbiological contamination.
‘It is therefore advisable to avoid them.
“In this context, it would be important for health authorities and professional associations to address the problem and warn consumers of the dangers involved.”
The results are published in the British Dental Journal.