NATURAL TOOTHPASTE RECIPE
DO IT WITHOUT PLASTIC
Julia Roberts uses ONLY baking soda to brush her famous smile! “I brush [my teeth] with baking soda. [My grandfather] would put a big heaping mound of it on his toothbrush. He had only one cavity in his entire life.”
PURPOSE OF TOOTHPASTE:
Toothpaste acts as an abrasive that aids removal of dental plaque and food from the teeth and commonly delivers active ingredients (like fluoride) to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
What causes dental issues? Bacteria and food are the causes of tooth decay and gum disease. A clear, sticky substance called plaque is always forming on our teeth and gums, which contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in the food we eat. As the bacteria feed, they make acids that break down the surface of your teeth.
If you’re flossing and brushing—even just with water!—regularly, you will be effectively preventing plaque, food, and bacteria build up that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
We have been conditioned to think we need active ingredients like fluoride to help further prevent decay. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in soil, water, foods and minerals, and a synthesised version is added to most of our drinking water to prevent dental disease. Now, I’ve been drinking fluoride spiked water all my life and if it’s in the water, I doubt I need it in my toothpaste too. In fact the list of ingredients on those sparkly blue toothpastes are fairly daunting! (List of toxic ingredients in common toothpastes below)
For my homemade toothpaste, I keep it REALLY simple (as well as brush, floss, and tongue scrape regularly):
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
15-20 drops peppermint oil
Stir coconut oil, soda, and oil together into smooth consistency. Place in glass jar & store in fridge.
These are all good things to put in your toothpaste:
- Coconut oil, binds the ingredients and also has great anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that can help boost the microbiome in your gut and naturally prevent candida in the mouth. There is limited evidence that coconut oil might help reduce cavity-causing bacteria.
- Baking soda is the abrasive which cleans the teeth (ranks lowest in the Abrasiveness Index of Common Toothpastes http://dendds.com/uploads/RDA_index.pdf). It has quite a salty taste that can take a bit of getting used to. Importantly, it’s alkalinity neutralises stains, odours, and the acids attacking our teeth caused by the foods we eat. Neutralizing these acids (can be done with vegetables and water too) is essential to maintaining proper pH in the mouth to encourage the right bacteria as well as protect enamel from decay. Baking soda has a pH of 9 to 11 (alkaline), so it helps to neutralize acids while not being too abrasive to teeth.
- Xylitol is the “sweetener,” but also reduces cavity-causing bacteria.
- Peppermint extract helps with minty freshness! and also aid in fighting plaque and gingivitis when used together with brushing and flossing
- Crushed cacao nibs! Compounds in cacao beans promote remineralization better than fluoride (and of course, much more safely)! Depending on the grain size of the cacao nibs, it could be a safe abrasive to break up the biofilm.
- Bentonite clay, a natural polisher rich in minerals that isn’t too abrasive and is also alkaline, so it helps reduce acidity in the mouth.
Vibrant dental health is about achieving a balanced ecosystem of bacteria in your mouth, which protects us from illness and promotes tooth remineralization. So be mindful of what’s going on in your mouth, and if you suspect things are awry, perhaps consult your dentist!
For reference, here is a list of harmful or even toxic ingredients to avoid in your toothpastes provided by Mark Burhenne DDS of askthedentist.com:
- Triclosan, a pesticide and hormone disruptor.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which causes canker sores for many people.
- Artificial colorings linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children. Toothpaste does not need to be blue!
- Fluoride, which can be toxic if swallowed and doesn’t even work in toothpaste.
- Titanium dioxide, which is added to make a toothpaste white. Most of the data shows it’s safe and is not absorbed by the skin, but I have yet to find a study done to measure absorption by oral tissues. The EWG has a good list of safety concerns around titanium dioxide, but the take-home message: it’s just there to make toothpaste white, not improve your health. So why bother with it?
- Glycerin, which isn’t toxic, but has no place in the mouth as it’s a soap that strips your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film. This film could coat the teeth, messing with the structure of the biofilm which could alter the microbiome in the mouth and impact the natural remineralization process — your body’s natural cavity-fighting mechanism.
- Highly abrasive ingredients, which damage enamel, making teeth sensitive and more prone to gum recession and cavities. Toothpaste should be only a little bit abrasive — this graininess aids the brushing motion to remove the biofilm of the tooth.