In an effort to simplify things this year, we got rid of our cable and instead decided to rely on a combo of local stations and our Netflix streaming account. With this shift came a slew of documentary watching… which led to a string of behavior changes in the last year or so.
One among them was our decision to try and minimize the number of products we use (cleaning and otherwise) that contain harmful chemicals by making our own. And thus began a journey that has led to all manner of experimentation, including homemade toothpaste, face wash, laundry powder, dishwasher detergent, hand soap, bar soap, etc.
Here is a recipe for the simplest of homemade toothpastes. You can find many variations online (just google DIY toothpaste, natural toothpaste, or the like), but after trying a few options and doing some research, I decided to opt for this version – and here is why:
- If you have sensitive teeth, problems with your enamel, or weak gums, additives such as salt or glycerin can actually exacerbate these issues. I’ve found recipes with these ingredients but opted to try something else based on my particular “mouth needs.”
- Hydrogen peroxide, while sometimes used as a whitener, has to be stored in an opaque container (it loses strength when exposed to sunlight). Since we had a glass container handy and wanted to keep the jar on the counter, I opted to leave it out.
- And finally – we experimented a lot before finding the ratio that was tolerable. Baking soda is MONDO salty… and so again, adding salt will only increase that “flavor.” As a sweetener, I’ve chosen to use stevia since it is plant-derived. Be sure to get something that is 100% natural to avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful additives. I’ve also seen a few recipes with coconut oil, which might not only help with improving the health of your mouth, but would also help to balance out the salt. Just experiment until you find something you can embrace and enjoy.
- As the kicker… I went in for my annual check-up about 6 months after using this recipe regularly (completely worried my dentist would say my enamel loss was worse than ever!) – and he gave my teeth a huge thumbs up (as did the hygienist). I’m officially a toothpaste DIY-er for life now!
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The essential oil in this recipe can be anything you like – though it’s best to stay away from anything in the citrus family as the acid can harm your teeth. Some people even use chocolate essential oil! (I will one day try that for my daughter.) Experiment until you find a flavor or combo you enjoy.
6 tsp baking soda
1 tsp stevia (you can get it very affordably at Trader Joe’s)
approx. 2 1/2 tsp water
4-5 drops peppermint essential oil (I like NOW Foods)
- In a small glass container (leftover little jam or mustard jars are perfect), combine the baking soda and stevia. Mix with a chopstick or small spoon.
- Add water, 1 tsp at a time, as you stir until mixture resembles a thick paste.
- Add oil drops (I use a pipette – very handy) and stir again.
- Put a lid on the jar and store wherever you like. (Be sure to wash the toothpaste in between uses… and if you’re sharing the batch, you may want to use a clean finger to get it onto your brush so as not to share mouth germs. Totally your call though! There is no “wrong” here.)