Ok, this might seem weird to you to be something you home make. But once you have tried this recipe and see how super easy and quick it is, you may never go back to conventional toothpaste!
A few years ago, after spending lots of time cleaning up my diet, I raided my bathroom cabinets. I cleared out most of my conventional make up and beauty products. Once I started to read the ingredients list, I was shocked with how many things there were in there that I could not pronounce or even know what they were used for. I started to look into the additives and realized that if I don’t eat it, it probably also shouldn’t go on my skin. The reality is, our skin is our largest organ. Whatever you put on your skin will also go into your blood stream. And the same goes for your toothpaste. Why does it say “do not swallow” on your toothpaste packaging, when it is something we do take into our mouths? I am not saying I want to eat the whole tube of toothpaste, but I’m sure there are time when some of it goes down by mistake. Plus, your mouth is actually one of the most absorbent places in your whole body, that is why some medicine is administered under the tongue. So whatever ingredients are in your tooth paste, they will make it into your blood stream.
Toothpaste is made out of 5 main ingredients:
abrasives: these help to remove plaque from the teeth. Different particles can be used as an abrasive, such as hydrogen phosphate, aluminum hydroxide, and calcium carbonate. Often toothpastes will also contain plastic micro beads (the same that are in face and body scrubs) to polish the teeth. These micro beads can get stuck in between the teeth, and have been shown to cause environmental damage when flushed into our water supply.
foaming agents: when you brush your teeth, the tooth paste starts to foam because of sodium lauryl sulfate. It gives you that bitter after taste in your mouth and makes all food taste weird just after brushing your teeth. Sadly, it’s been linked to cancer and causing too much environmental damage. If you have ever tried alternative tooth paste, the first thing you will notice is that it doesn't foam and just stays kind of slimy in your mouth. Hmmm... I just made that sound extremely appealing...
fluorides: these have been added to tooth pastes (as well as drinking water in most Western countries) to protect and strengthen teeth. However, fluoride has been getting more and more scrutiny over the past years, because it accumulates like a toxin in your body’s tissues. From there, it can cause neurological problems and influence your hormones.
antibacterial agent: triclosan is often added to toothpaste to fight gingivitis (bacterial inflammation of the gums). However, together with the chlorine in the tap water, it makes chloroform, which causes cancer. It also disrupts your hormone household, and can even cause antibiotics resistance.
sweetener: most of us avoid artificial sweeteners like Aspartame in our coffee and tea, yet tooth paste is our number one source of ingestion! Artificial sweeteners are very controversial, with side effects ranging from cancer to depression.
So, with all this doom and gloom, let's see what we can mix up at home to avoid all the potentially harmful additives. You can definitely find great alternative toothpastes in most health stores nowadays. They may take some getting used to flavor and texture wise, but you can use them safely regularly. One brand that is internationally available is Weleda.
If you want to try to make your own, try this easy recipe. The baking soda works as an abrasive, the coconut oil polishes the teeth, and the mint gives it flavor. You can also add tea tree oil to give it more antibacterial properties, in case you have inflamed gums. And if you like your toothpaste more on the sweet side, add just a bit of stevia drops. Done!
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Makes 1 small tub:
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
4 drops essential mint oil (optional)
2 drops essential tea tree oil (optional)
¼ tsp stevia drops (optional)
a small container with lid
Place the baking soda in a small container, add the oil, and use a chopstick to mix together. Then add the other ingredients if you would like to use them and mix again.
Keep in the small jar with a lid. In the winter, this might harden a bit if it’s very cold, so just run the jar under some warm water to soften the toothpaste.
When you want to use it, spoon a small amount on your tooth brush, and brush as you would normally. Rinse well and enjoy the polished feeling of your teeth.