I am on a mission to reduce my consumption. I have tightened the screws, and as supplies run out, I am looking for less wasteful or reusable ways to replace them. I have been patiently waiting for the toothpaste to run out completely to motivate me to try out some recipes.
When I began my inquires to the Internet about how to make toothpaste, I came across a few interesting things. One was the information that toothpaste usually has aspartame in it. This is apparently what make toothpaste so sweet. I am a little embarrassed to say that I had never even thought about toothpaste being sweet, let alone what makes it that way. Needless to say, I'm glad we won't be having any more of that before breakfast. Another ingredient in commercial toothpaste is glycerin. This is also makes it sweet and it gives toothpaste its pasty consistency. Many natural recipes also use vegetable glycerin. I had to look up glycerin to find out what it actually is. I do have some I got at the pharmacy because it is needed in the task of making snow globes (it helps suspend the glitter flakes in the water, making their decent delightfully slower). I found that "Glycerin is a thick liquid that is colorless and sweet tasting. It has a high boiling point and freezes to a paste. Glycerin's most common use is in soap and other beauty products like lotions, though it is also used, in the form of nitroglycerin, to create dynamite." Oh. Wait, what?!
So, I read more. Basically, glycerin is a chemical that is derived from the soap making process. It comes from fats which can be vegetable or animal. It's sweet, syrupy, and pulls moisture to itself, which is why it is used in a lot of lotions. Now, without making my degree in fine arts and not in science painfully clear, I will try to explain why it is controversial. I read some information that suggests the reason why it hydrates the skin so well is because it is actually pulling the moisture from your own skin's deeper layers, drying your body from the inside out. It also is a dubious toothpaste ingredient because it appears to leave a film on the teeth for days, preventing remineralization of the teeth.
When in doubt--Leave it out. So I did.
Don't even get me started on fluoride. Seriously, I don't want you to think I really belong on a compound in Montana with a sniper rifle strapped to my back. But, "The fluoride added to 90% of drinking water is hydrofluoric acid which is a compound of fluorine that is a chemical byproduct of aluminum, steel, cement, phosphate, and nuclear weapons manufacturing. Such fluoride is man made. In this form, fluoride has no nutrient value whatsoever. It is one of the most caustic of industrial chemicals. Fluoride is the active toxin in rat poisons and cockroach powder. Hydrofluoric acid is used to refine high octane gasoline, to make fluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons for freezers and air conditioners, and to manufacture computer screens, fluorescent light bulbs, semiconductors, plastics, herbicides, -- and toothpaste." I don't want fluoride in my toothpaste either.
So what did I do instead? I made m'self some toothpaste out of coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint essential oil, and stevia.
See? This stuff comes from the kitchen.
Why these things? Well, apparently we don't need much more than flossing, gentle brushing and a mild plaque-sanding abrasive to keep our teeth healthy (not to mention plenty of dark, leafy greens filled with calcium). The baking soda is the abrasive, the stevia is to make it a little sweeter (it's a plant extract you can use as a calorie-free sugar substitute), the peppermint is to freshen your breath and hide the unpleasant taste of baking soda, and the coconut oil is to make it pasty. I saw a lot of recipes that included things like hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil. These ingredients would be added to kill bacteria, but that's a little too much chemical for me. Tea tree essential oil is natural and everything, but it's pretty serious. I was thinking of adding a little bit of sage tincture to the toothpaste, but I ended up just adding it to my mouthwash instead. Sage in an anti-viral and had been used to treat gingivitis, so I figured I was in good shape to use this.
But back to the toothpaste. First I used equal parts coconut oil and baking soda (2 Tablespoons each):
Then I added 35 drops of stevia to the mix. Stevia has a sweetness equivalent that is something like 2 drops stevia to 1 tsp sugar. it's pretty sweet, but it has nothing in it to rot your teeth, add pounds or cause cancer in lab rats in the state of California. After that I added about 10 drops peppermint oil. Both of these ingredients are about personal taste.
It came out pretty good. My oldest daughter loves it, my youngest, not so much. But they both use it. We have been using it for maybe a month now, no problems. Except the dispensing. I tried to get a small squeeze bottle but it didn't work. Someone somewhere on the Internet had the idea of taking an empty toothpaste tube, cutting off the end, filling it that way and using one of those toothpaste pushers to seal the end. This seems fairly brilliant and I plan to try it out just as soon as I get my hands on one of those things and an empty toothpaste tube. For now we just kind of scoop a little bit out of an amber glass jar. Not ideal, but it works.
This is my final recipe:
2 Tbsp Coconut oil
4 Tbsp Baking Soda
35 Drops Stevia Extract
10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil
Mix. Brush. Feel Free.