Two weeks ago, we made our own toothpaste from scratch in an effort to continue reducing our waste. It stood out to us as one of the easiest recipes we saw in Shia Su’s book “Zero Waste – Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash” so we decided to give it a try. Because many toothpaste brands are riddled with unwanted chemicals like preservatives and hormone disruptors, this was just another reason for us to try making a more natural one. By making our own, we would also avoid contributing to the plastic epidemic and although we read that toothpaste tubes can be recycled with some effort, we had never done it before.
The recipe has just 4 ingredients, two of which we already had in the house – baking soda and coconut oil and the other two we purchased from Whole Foods for around $7.99 each (Tea Tree and Peppermint Oil). So why these ingredients? According to the book, baking soda “neutralizes the acids that attack our teeth and protects enamel from decay.” And tea Tree oil has “antibacterial properties and helps keep gum inflammation at bay.” Peppermint prevents bad breath but you can use whichever oil tickles your fancy. She also says that coconut oil has “anti-inflammatory and slightly antibacterial properties because of its lauric acid content.”
Here is her recipe:
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of xylitol (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 5 drops of essential tea tree oil
- 12 drops of essential mint oil (or you can add more like we did)
It takes less than 5 minutes to put this together and we repurposed a glass jar we got from Crumbleberry Market instead of buying a container to store the toothpaste in. The size of the jar is perfect for one batch, but certainly not large enough for the delicious artisanal vegan cheese Crumbleberry makes 😉
So now let’s get down to what really matters, what does it taste like? To be honest, it’s VERY salty and doesn’t resemble toothpaste in neither taste nor texture. We opted out of using xylitol which would have sweetened it so we’re not sure how much of a difference it makes. The texture is not what we’re used to and it doesn’t foam like a commercial toothpaste. And although the essential oils add flavor, you don’t taste the minty sensation as much while brushing. As a matter of fact, it just feels like you’re brushing your mouth with oily coconut water. To make it taste a little better, we added a lot more mint oil than she recommends and that seemed to help a bit.
But here’s the thing, although the texture takes some getting used to, you will notice that your breath doesn’t smell and that the toothpaste is doing its job. Sometimes, after using commercial toothpaste brands our breath wouldn’t smell clean, but this toothpaste is killing germs and bacteria left and right! We were shocked by the results.
There’s also a recipe for antibacterial mouthwash that we tried that uses the same ingredients minus the coconut oil and you also add water to it. After using it, our mouths feel REALLY clean and it’s a lot more minty since there is no coconut oil to steal the spotlight! To store the mouthwash we repurposed a glass maple syrup jar and it works wonders.
We are going to continue using this toothpaste and mouthwash and we’ll let all of you know how we are liking it. Of course, our main concern is if in fact this will actually prevent cavities, but from the research we’ve done so far, it appears to be just as effective as “regular” toothpaste.
Oh, and we also got bamboo toothbrushes today at Verde Market in Wynwood which is a zero waste concept store. We bought the brushes because they care biodegradable and The Humble Co., which makes the brushes, takes every purchase to fund projects for the benefit of children in need. According to their packaging, 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced every year and a majority of those end up in oceans and landfills.
Let us know if you try the recipe or if you already make your own toothpaste and how you like brushing your pearly whites with it.
Alex and Jeanette
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