To me, toothpaste is one of those things that proves your adulthood. I have always said that one wasn't a true grown-up until they had to buy their own toilet paper and toothpaste. I rarely did either until last year - I would ask for a few tubes from home while packing my suitcases (I only needed 2 for a school year), and if you've read my post about saving money in school, you'll know that I used public toilets as much as possible. What I did know about toothpaste, however, was that my mom always bought the kind in smaller tubes with less ingredients and the higher price (funny how that works...). There are many unnecessary and even harmful ingredients found in stores today, so I always followed suit and bought the four or five dollar tubes.
This particular endeavour all started the day we ran out of Tom's. Running out wasn't the problem. The problem was that I didn't really want to go and buy any more. It did create opportunity, however: I had been talking about making my own toothpaste - just to try it out. Now I had the perfect excuse to go through with it.
Today, I get to share with you how I did with the first two months of this experiment.
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First off: Why bother? Well, I mentioned the harmful and unnecessary ingredients in many toothpastes on the shelf. Here are a few:
Triclosan, which is a pesticide and disrupts hormones.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which actually can cause canker sores!
Fluoride, which can be toxic, and is not necessary in toothpaste
Artificial Colourings to make it blue or green - unnecessary!
Titanium Dioxide makes toothpaste white, but that's about it.
Glycerin which makes the toothpaste pasty, but strips your mouth of the natural protective mucous and coats your teeth, which prevents them from remineralizing (think: cavity fighting gone wrong). Also, glycerin is found in soap, so that's weird...
Other abrasive ingredients that harm your teeth!
After some research of ingredients and recipes, I decided to go ahead and proceed with a simple concoction of coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil. Why?
Baking Soda helps maintain a good pH in our mouths - we're constantly sabotaging it with acidic foods - and protects our enamel from resulting decay.
Essential Oils help fight plaque and gingivitis (paired with brushing and flossing, of course).
Day one was a pleasant surprise - for me anyway... I at least knew to expect certain things, like the saltiness of the SODIUM Bicarbonate (I just didn't get it on my tongue until I absolutely had to) and the no suds. My husband, on the other hand, was a little disappointed about the whole thing. He didn't feel it would give him good breath since it wasn't stinging (his words, not mine). I find Tom's peppermint a bit strong anyway, so I was more than content. The next morning, he refused to brush his teeth with it because he didn't want to risk morning breath - which I understand, seeing as how he needs to talk to people all day. I had no morning breath left when I was done, in case you were wondering... :)
In all honesty, it's not going to taste like the toothpaste you're used to. Once you embrace the fact that it's something completely different, it will be easier to wrap your head around.
After a few weeks of this toothpaste, I realized several things:
It was hard to travel with (kind of heavy and inconvenient in the jar) [Update: acrylic containers work really well for it]
My husband did not like the taste (understatement of the century, perhaps?)
I felt like my teeth were cleaner (probably all in my head, but still!)
Garlic/onion breath was way easier to conquer (a giant plus, since I LOVE garlic)
I decided to try an accommodate my husband by adding xylitol, which after some research I found, is a natural sweetener that has been proven to fight cavities (I'm still a bit weary of it, but you can read more about it here. I modified the recipe to accommodate it. I read that adding too much might make you start craving sweets, so I was very modest with it.
After adding xylitol, I decided that I preferred it without. Adding the sweet confused my tastebuds since the baking soda taste was still evident.
I have yet to find my perfect DIY toothpaste, though what I'm using now, I quite like! I'm going to the dentist this week, and not to sound overly excited or anything, but I bet they're going to be impressed with how squeaky clean my teeth are :)
And on that note, I have had a dentist tell me baking soda was good to clean your teeth with. So I guess that’s good?
Want to make your own? Here's a recipe:
What you need:
3 TBSP Coconut Oil
1-2 TBSP Baking Soda
10-15 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil
(optional) 1 TBSP Xylitol (ground in food processor till fine for easier dissolving)
Toothbrush (I love using a bamboo toothbrush!)
What to do:
1) Melt coconut oil (I use double boiler effect: small bowl or jar in a pot with water) on low heat.
2) Once heated, remove from heat stir in baking soda.
4) Put in essential oils and allow to solidify.
5) Once solidified, you'll want to stir it up a but to create a smoother texture, and to better mix it, as the baking soda may have settled to the bottom.
I know that there are plenty of natural toothpastes out there, but if I can make an equally good one for a fraction of the price with [non toxic] items I have at home already, I would prefer that! I'm going to keep trying different toothpastes until I find one I absolutely love. You know I'll be back to share it then.
What about you? What do you think about making your own toothpaste? Want to try this one out? Do you already make toothpaste? Have any tips? Let me know in the comments below!
Update: I have since found a recipe I like even better!! Find out more about it here.