Tooth Powder for Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

Tooth Powder for Teeth Whitening
  • Disclaimer: The oral health information published on is intended for informational purposes. We strongly recommend you consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

What the heck is tooth powder we hear you asking, and can you use tooth powder for teeth whitening?

Well, it can be used as a great alternative to toothpaste, and depending on the type it can also be great for whitening teeth.

Tooth powder has a whole heap of benefits and there are plenty of natural tooth powders if you don’t like sticking chemicals or fluoride in your mouth.

So, put your expectations on hold for five minutes, and learn what this great dental product that your grandparents probably used can do to help you get a bright white smile in 2020.

What is Tooth Powder?

Tooth powder is a mix of powdered agents made to clean your teeth, whiten your teeth and freshen your breath 

Some people think that Toothpowder is literally ‘dehydrated toothpaste’ but this is not actually true. 

Toothpowder was first used in ancient times on several different continents including Europe – where the Greeks and Romans mixed charcoal or ash with ground-up bones, animal hooves, and oyster shells to create a gritty powder, and Africa, where charcoal continues to be used by rural tribes as a primary dental cleaner.

The English and the Chinese also developed their own tooth powder formulas to which they added spices, herbs, essential plant oils, and fruit zest.

If all that sounds like something that you won’t want to replace your good old Colgate with we totally understand.

Thankfully, we now have much more palatable toothpowders that taste great, whiten and clean the teeth and the gums. 

Almost all present-day tooth powders use baking soda or calcium carbonate as their primary ingredient along with other natural agents and additives to enhance the cleaning power or add some flavor.

From Powder to Paste: A Quick History Lesson

Around the early 19th century, two important ingredients were added to dental power: Borax for a pleasing foaming effect, and glycerin which turns the powder into a paste. 

This made the product easier to use and added a phycological cleansing effect due to the foaming action.

Later on, toothpaste was put into collapsible tubes and fluoride was added to strengthen tooth enamel. This is how the toothpaste that we know of today was born.

Tooth Powder Active Ingredients

Commercial formulas will often add fluoride, artificial sweeteners, flavors, and the detergent sodium lauryl sulfate. Personally, we at prefer to get white teeth naturally so we steer clear of commercial powders as it’s so easy to make your own tooth powder or buy a great quality small batch product online,

Many smaller companies try to keep their ingredients more natural by using a combination of calcium carbonate or baking soda, seas salt, bentonite clay, and essential oils. 

Some formulas add activated charcoal as a natural whitening agent – but we do not recommend any tooth powders containing activated charcoal, why you may ask, they are so on-trend? 

They also stain your fillings and have zero medical research to back up their effectiveness. Find out more here about why we hate activated charcoal for teeth whitening.

Tooth Powder vs Toothpaste: How Effective is it?

To many people, tooth powders may sound snake oil, and this wasn’t helped by a viral deluge of Shopify drop shippers selling Activated Charcoal Toothpowder from AliExpress a couple of years back.

But don’t let Facebook Ad fatigue stop you from exploring this great DIY teeth whitening option.

Studies have shown that, when used properly, tooth powders work equally as well as toothpaste in maintaining oral health.

A recent study even suggests tooth powders are more effective at controlling plaque and gingivitis than toothpaste – perhaps due to the mild abrasive action of powder VS paste.

To sum up, tooth powders do in fact work well or better than toothpaste if use them correctly.

How Do I Use Tooth Powder?

Tooth powder is very simple to use. It usually comes in a tub, so you lightly press the head of your toothbrush into the tooth powder so it adheres to the bristles and brush using the proper brushing technique as you normally would.

Top tip: Make sure that your toothbrush head is dry when you dip it in the tooth powder – the reason is that leaving moisture in the tooth powder then closing the tub can actually encourage bacteria to form over time, not mention making your toothpowder sticky and unappealing.

Can I Use Tooth Powder to Whiten Teeth?

Tooth powder can definitely help you get whiter teeth. It all depends on the ingredients you use. The inclusion of baking soda and turmeric will ensure your toothpowder has two very powerful natural whitening ingredients.

What About Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder?

Using the charcoal powder in the same way you would use any other tooth powder blend is controversial. 

Because of its deep black color, people tend to over-brush to remove it which can damage the enamel on your teeth. It also tends to stain tooth replacements or restorations. 

We recommend sticking to formulas that use baking soda to whiten teeth or calcium carbonate as their main ingredients.

Homemade Tooth Powder Ingredients

Making your own DIY tooth powder is simple. 

Some ingredients like baking soda can be found in your local grocery store or market, while others require you to visit either a specialty health food store or an online shop.

You can mix and match these ingredients for your own homemade recipe:

Baking Soda

Commonly-used abrasive that gently cleans teeth and removes stains. For the full details on this read how to whiten your teeth with baking soda.


You likely won’t see turmeric included as a tooth whitening powder ingredient in many other places – bet we know something that they don’t! Turmeric contains a component called Curcumin which has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties. 

We could go on for days about how much we love turmeric to whiten teeth, but we know your busy, so check out how to use turmeric to whiten teeth if you’re interested in learning more.

Calcium Powder

Cleans and whitens teeth and, surprise surprise, has extra calcium

Sea Salt

Sea salt is a natural antiseptic agent, it helps soothe irritated gums and contains trace minerals that may be beneficial.

Ground Cinnamon or Cloves

You can add almost any spice to your natural tooth powder but cinnamon is a great choice as it has antibacterial properties and adds an awesome flavor.


Sage is an underrated natural teeth whitening ingredient that really whitens teeth. Give it a try.

Peppermint and other Essential Oils

Peppermint has antiseptic and pain-relieving properties and it soothes sore gums. Obviously, it will make your homemade tooth powder taste great too – there’s a reason that mint of the base flavor of 99% of all toothpaste and mouthwash.


This is a popular ingredient in a lot of ‘semi-natural’ commercial toothpaste as it adds sweetness. If you really have a sweet tooth and you can’t stand the taste without this ingredient feel free to add it. It may also have some modest beneficial properties.

Homemade Teeth Whitening Tooth Powder Recipe Using 4 Ingredients

Tooth Powder for Teeth Whitening

Tooth Powder Ingredients

  1. 1 tablespoon baking soda
  2. 1 tablespoon bentonite clay powder
  3. 1 tablespoon turmeric
  4. 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  5. (Optional for flavor) ground mint, sage, cinnamon, peppermint


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a non-metal mixing bowl or mason jar. 
  • Mix them together using a plastic or wooden spoon. This is because bentonite clay loses some of its beneficial properties when it comes in contact with metal.
  • Add the optional essential oils by dripping them into the mixture.
  • Stir well.
  • Keep the finished dental powder in a sealed container. Because it doesn’t have any liquid ingredients, it should last almost forever without any problems.

Commercial Tooth Powders

If DIY teeth whitening isn’t your thing, there are several companies that make a variety of awesome tooth powders that you can order online. Colgate even produces a tooth powder (sold mainly in India and the Middle East).

Maintaining Your Oral Health Regimen for Whiter Teeth

Using tooth powder regularly is a great way to care for your oral hygiene and get whiter teeth – but you also need to follow the basics.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss and rinse regularly to keeps gums healthy and keep bacteria at bay.
  • Change out your toothbrush at least every 60 days, and make sure that you clean it thoroughly after each use.
  • Get regular dental check-ups and cleanings to keep your teeth in their best condition.