Your mouth has a microbiome of its own, and if something is setting yours off course, a toothpaste with probiotics could help balance the bacteria that live there. Yes, brushing, flossing, and getting regular cleanings helps wipe out the bad guys, but probiotic toothpaste can tip the balance in the good bacteria’s favor on a daily basis.
If you’re still using conventional toothpaste that is advertised to fight bacteria, it could be harming your oral microbiome, contributing to cavities, and making your breath smell worse in the long term. It might feel like you’re cleaning your mouth when you use these harsh products, but the truth is your mouth isn’t meant to be sterile. Similar to antibiotic drugs, antibacterial toothpaste can wipe out the good bugs along with the bad bugs, harming the delicate microbial balance that is meant to protect and support oral health.
Do you have a mouth bacteria problem?
If you wake up with a stinky, slimy mouth, even though you brushed your teeth before going to bed, you’ve got a biofilm problem. Heavy biofilm, commonly known as plaque, is a signal that the ecosystem in your mouth is out of whack. In other words, you have lots of disease and decay causing bacteria, and probably a lack of beneficial bacteria.
The problem with commercial toothpaste and mouthwash is that it can decrease the number of helpful microbes that protect against dental disease. Probiotics, on the other hand, can help prevent and reverse oral health problems.
Brushing with probiotic toothpaste can help make your mouth a healthier place by not only temporarily dislodging bad bacteria, but also by adding helpful probiotics that will colonize your mouth and prevent further growth of harmful probiotics.
Studies increasingly support probiotic toothpaste as an effective way to deliver those good bacteria to where they will do the most good. Routine brushing with a probiotic toothpaste for even a few weeks can help decrease the levels of harmful bacteria in your mouth, reduce plaque buildup, and ease gum inflammation. Chronic gum disease can also be improved by probiotic use. One study showed that patients experienced less gum inflammation and bleeding when undergoing a dental exam and had less pro-inflammatory markers in their saliva and the fluids in their gum pockets.
The best probiotic strains for your mouth
Certain bacterial strains have been shown to have various oral health benefits, whether it be promoting remineralization of the teeth, fighting bad breath, reducing the activity of harmful bacteria, or exerting anti-inflammatory effects on tissues. According to recent research, some of the most beneficial strains include:
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus sakei
- Lactobacillus salivarius
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Lactobacillus fermentum
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus brevis
- Streptococcus salivarius
- Streptococcus thermophilus
When shopping for probiotics to use in your homemade toothpaste, keep an eye out for these oral-health-friendly species.
How to make your own probiotic toothpaste
Easy DIY probiotic toothpaste with minerals
This quick and easy recipe is perfect for beginners or those pressed for time who still want to avoid commercial toothpaste and introduce beneficial bacteria to their oral care routine.
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 15 drops trace minerals
- 1 capsule probiotic powder
- Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until coconut oil and baking soda are mixed together.
- Store in a small glass jar with a lid and dispense with a clean spoon at each use.
- Use twice daily for best results.
Neem and bentonite clay probiotic toothpaste
This recipe involves a few more ingredients to support your long-term oral health.
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil
- 4 Tbsp food grade bentonite clay
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 Tbsp xylitol
- 2 capsules fructooligosaccharide prebiotics
- 2 capsules oral probiotics
- 2 capsules (or 1/4 tsp) powdered neem leaf
- 1/2 tsp cacao powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp vitamin e oil
- 4 Tbsp distilled or filtered water (divided)
- In a small saucepan, warm coconut oil over low heat until melted.
- Add bentonite clay, baking soda, xylitol, prebiotic, probiotic, neem, cacao, and ginger to a food processor or high-speed blender and blend for 10-15 seconds until all powders are evenly combined.
- Pour or scoop 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into the blender. Blend for 10-15 seconds. Mixture will be crumbly.
- Add the remaining coconut oil and vitamin E and blend another 10-15 seconds. Scrape down and blend again if necessary, texture will be smooth and creamy.
- With the blender running, slowly add 3 Tbsp of the water and blend until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Transfer to a glass container with a plastic lid or a nontoxic, refillable squeeze tube. If necessary, add the remaining tablespoon of water to achieve the appropriate texture for the squeeze tube.
How to use your toothpaste
Dip a clean spoon into the toothpaste and apply it to your toothbrush. Make sure each person in your household uses a newly washed spoon to avoid sharing oral bacteria. Store half at room temperature and use toothpaste within 7-10 days. Store the rest in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Alternatively, fill a refillable squeeze tube with your toothpaste and squeeze about a quarter teaspoon onto your toothbrush twice daily for best oral hygiene. Store in your refrigerator for extended freshness.
Don’t want to use DIY toothpaste? Try coconut oil pulling instead
If you don’t want to make your own toothpaste, another replacement for your conventional products is coconut oil pulling. This is an Ayurvedic technique of swishing coconut oil through the oral environment to balance the oral microbiome. Coconut oil pulling has been shown to have benefits by decreasing the colonies of harmful bacteria.
Try these new ideas, and enjoy keeping your mouth healthier, the natural way!
-The UpWellness Team