After the recent success of my homemade moisturiser, I decided to look in to toothpaste.
Now, most people use a toothpaste of some sort or other, but very few people will actually know what is in it. There is one ingredient that is present in most brands is SLS, yes Sodium Laureth Sulphate. I have spoken at length about the problems with SLS but in the case of toothpaste it has been attributed to causing apthous ulcers. Recent research into SLS has also shown it to be carcinogenic and a possible cause for some types of mouth and throat cancer.
Another ingredient which is often the main active ingredient in most branded and generic toothpaste is fluoride. Before people start thinking that I’m starting to sound like general Ripper from Dr Strangelove, harping on about fluoridation and precious bodily fluids bear with me. Fluoride is a compound of fluorine and Sodium fluoride is generally the compound used in toothpaste and fluoridated water. Fluoride does occur naturally in some water sources and generally natural levels have minimal effects on the eco-system. The problems arise when extra fluoride finds its way into water courses, this happens as it is very difficult to remove once it has been dissolved in water. extra fluoride can cause problems in the wild; it causes a condition called “Flouride intoxication” in fish and amphibians, this condition is fatal and also effects eggs laid in the water.
Here in the UK we have fluoridated water, this has been been the case for a very long time and it is primarily for the purpose of improving dental health amongst the populous. all in all there is very little we can do about it. but toothpaste is a different story, is Fluoride necessary? well in short no. The action of brushing is far more important than what toothpaste you use and after some fairly hefty reading into the subject I am unconvinced that the pros of Fluoride out-weigh the cons.
So I began looking for alternatives and there are plenty available, most are marketed simply as non-fluoride or alternatives to normal toothpaste, my only major problem with them is the price. Some are exorbitant; the most expensive coming in at £14 a tube (+ postage naturally). I have tried an aloe based gel toothpaste and it definitely worked but I found the flavour frankly a bit rank. so back on Google for a bit of research.
Most of the home made alternatives I have come across are improvised pastes or powders containing Sodium Bicarbonate. Bicarb has a long history in dental care and only has one drawback; it’s abrasiveness. normal toothpaste is also abrasive but long term use of a powder to brush teeth could lead to thinning enamel, therefore for those who have sensitive teeth who are looking for an alternative I would recommend one of the gel based alternatives available. For those with non-sensitive teeth a bicarb based toothpaste is perfectly acceptable. Another interesting ingredient is coconut oil, it is mildly anti-bacterial and has been used as a toothpaste in south-east Asia for centuries. So I decided to modify a recipe I found online; the original recipe was a mix of coconut oil, Bicarb and charcoal powder. after thinking for a second about my girlfriend’s possible facial reaction to black Bicarb flavoured toothpaste I thought that replacing the charcoal with Bentonite and adding some Peppermint oil and some Stevia powder for sweetness.
the recipe is as follows; 2 tbsp of Coconut oil, 1 tsp of Bicarb, 1 tsp of Bentonite, 1/2 tsp of Stevia powder and 1/2 tsp peppermint oil.
The resulting toothpaste is actually good, its not too abrasive thanks to the lubricating quality of the Coconut oil and the peppermint actually makes it taste pretty good. I have increased the amount of peppermint in the recipe as the first batch I made could have done with being a bit mintier but the Stevia and Peppermint oil quantities can be altered according to taste. And seeing as it doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients you can be sure you wont be damaging any natural environments.