As today’s buying trends move toward clean labeling and holistic consumerism, there’s a growing concern about unwitting exposure to toxins and chemicals. Many products contain a long list of chemical ingredients, few of which are familiar to the average consumer.
While toothpaste isn’t a product that’s ingested, it’s still worth knowing what’s in a substance that we use several times a day. The American Dental Association has a list of ingredients common to most American toothpaste brands, which includes calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, propylene, mineral colloids, synthetic cellulose, potassium nitrate, strontium chloride, pyrophosphates, triclosan, and zinc citrate. Since 1997, the FDA has put a warning on toothpaste which reads, “Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.” Yikes!
If you prefer something more natural, toothpaste can easily and inexpensively be made at home, using just three or four ingredients.
Baking Soda – Put 2/3 cup in a small bowl
A staple in almost all homemade toothpastes, baking soda can
- balance the acids in your mouth, reducing or eliminating halitosis
- discourage the formation of plaque, preventing gum disease
- promote healing, reducing mouth sores
- whiten teeth
Flavoring Agent – Add 1-2 tsp. of extract, or 10-15 drops of essential oil
Use an extract of your choosing, like peppermint, for flavor. Or, use a flavored essential oil. Many homeopathic advocates insist essential oils have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. While essential oils are not meant to be swallowed in large quantities, they’re probably safer than whatever made the FDA include that poison warning on commercial toothpaste.
Sea Salt – Add 1 tsp.
This optional ingredient is great for teeth and gums, but in conjunction with baking soda, may be too salty for some tastes.
Bottled Water – Add to mixture until desired consistency is achieved
Just to keep all the chemicals away, use bottled rather than tap water.
The mix will make a batch of toothpaste equal to a 5.3-ounce tube, and can be kept in a sealable food storage bag or container.
To complete your natural oral hygiene experience, rinse with hydrogen peroxide. An excellent mouthwash, over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide is a 3% concentration. When first using, mix with an equal amount of water so it’s not too strong. Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and viruses and can heal mouth sores, but it does get foamy, so be prepared.
Ask Dr. Brei, or his knowledgeable staff, for other natural oral health tips. They’re always happy to answer your questions.