Several weeks ago I wrote about the problems with toothpaste, and now I’ll share with you some options to toothpaste. What you eat and what you brush your teeth with are critical to your dental health, since teeth are mineralized through absorption of saliva. That means that changing the quality of your diet will change the quality of your saliva (among other things), and if your teeth are properly cleaned (ie no glycerin coating from commercial toothpaste), they will be able to absorb minerals from your saliva.
There are lots of good options to toothpaste, most of which are very affordable. I’ll start with some of what I’ve used:
Toothsoap – this is what I started using four years ago. It’s a natural soap with added flavors, shredded and comes in a jar. It was convenient since each child could use one shred, so I didn’t have to be concerned about all of them dipping their toothbrushes in. It was effective, but very, very expensive. So much so that I couldn’t justify the price, which is why I went on to look for other frugal choices.
Coconut oil – coconut oil is a primary ingredient in tooth soap, so it made sense to me that it could be used on its own. However, since it solidifies at temperatures below 72 degrees, in the winter it’s not a great choice for us. Plus, I couldn’t find a good way to dispense it for multiple children. But dh and I use it in the summer.
Baking soda- this has an alkalinizing and odor reducing quality. I like using plain baking soda, and the only caveat is that you have to use a very tiny amount. I generally dip the tip of my brush in, and then rinse it slightly with water before brushing. It’s an abrasive and if you were to use generous amounts on your teeth daily, it could affect your tooth enamel. I’m used to the flavor and really like the sparkling clean feeling my mouth has after brushing.
Bar soap – This is a cheap option to toothsoap and works just as well. Bar soap rinses off with two rinses, unlike the glycerin in commercial toothpastes that takes 27 rinses to come off, and allows the nutrients in your diet to be absorbed by your teeth. It seemed unsanitary to have all the kids share one bar of soap for their teeth and I considered cutting a bar of soap into chunks so each child could have their own. But practically speaking I didn’t see how they could each keep track of their chunk. It’s hard enough for them to keep track of their toothbrushes (younger siblings have a way of walking off with them.:)).
My most recent experiment for them has been to buy a 2 oz bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap – it comes in many flavors and isn’t expensive at all (though you do have to place a minimum order – but I got just enough for the minimum order and the half gallon of peppermint soap will provide us with enough refills for toothsoap for many years- and I can use it as a multi purpose cleaner, too). This has worked really, really well for the kids. They are fine with the flavor (we got peppermint) and it’s easy to dispense. So far this is by far my favorite option for children.
Homemade tooth powder – it’s very easy to make your own tooth powder. Most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry. I made some for dh and I just because I was curious to try it. Here are the basic categories that your ingredients will fit into:
Use any food grade clay – I used bentonite clay since that’s what I had in the house, but you can use red, yellow, green, or white clay as well. Bentonite clay absorbs impurities, which is exactly what your mouth is filled with while brushing.
Then add an abrasive – you can use baking soda or salt. If you use a high quality mineral salt like Real Salt, then you’re increasing the nutritional value of your tooth powder.
For flavoring, there are lots of options. You can use any essential oils that appeals to you; I chose cinnamon because of the antiseptic properties of cinnamon, but most people would probably prefer peppermint. As long as you like the flavor, I don’t think it matters that much. Alternatively or in addition, you can use a powdered herb like cinnamon.
Nutritional boosters – now you can have some fun with this. Basically you can throw in any powdered herb or real food that you like. Spirulina, powdered ginger, powdered cloves – I decided to blend up some orange peels that I dehydrated a while back for the vitamin C content. You can also leave these out completely.
Honestly, I don’t think that percentages matter much, because pretty much however you mix up whatever you use, it will be good. I’ll share what I did, but it was my only version and I pretty much was trying to put in as many ingredients as possible so I didn’t have to choose between them. I’ll share suggestions to improve it at the end.
- 4 T. stevia leaves (not processed stevia)
- 1 T. orange zest
- 1 T. bentonite clay
- 1 T. Real Salt
- 2 T. baking soda
- a couple of drops of cinnamon oil
I powdered the stevia leaves and orange zest – be sure to sift them unless you want to end up with my version, which has tiny pieces. (I could still sift it now, but it’s not a priority.) Next, mix the powdered and sifted stevia leaves and orange zest together with the other dry ingredients. Then add just a couple of drops of essential oil – since these are so powerful, you only need a tiny bit. Mix it up and store it in a covered container in your bathroom. Dip your moist toothbrush in it when you’re ready to brush your teeth.
What I’m happy with is the pleasant taste of the stevia and cinnamon oil. What I would change for the next time is to make a choice – baking soda or salt – not both. If you take my suggestion and use one or the other, you can double the amount of whichever you use, and totally eliminate the ingredient you don’t use, and the final proportions will stay the same. Hope that makes sense!
As I said, this is what I had on hand so this is what I played around with. But I saw so many other possibilities just using the herbs and spices I had right in my kitchen cabinets.