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and here is the first episode of homemade body product recipes. i’m starting with toothpaste because i was so happy with more than one recipe right from the start. but first…why not use regular store-bought toothpaste? first off, if you haven’t already done so, read this post on the ingredients in industrial body care products.
i was really surprised when i discovered months ago that fluoride can cause cancer. fluoride?! but don’t they say that it’s essential for tooth health?! au contraire, it can cause dental fluorosis, a disturbance of the tooth. and pediatricians prescribe fluoride drops to kids, or at least ours does! (here one of the many articles online that talk about the dangers of fluoride, but all you need to do is google it.)
another very common ingredient in industrial toothpastes is glycerin. i did a little research and discovered that: 1. glycerin usually is a derivative of animal fat (there is also vegetable glycerin, but it seems that that isn’t so great for your either). 2. it is also a by-product of biodiesel production. 3. glycerin coats teeth, preventing calcium and other important minerals from reaching them. 4. if teeth are coated in glycerin, they can’t regenerate themselves. (this info from here and here.)
i found yet another interesting article online about the other ingredients in toothpaste too. it seems that many of those ingredients are irritants and/or can cause tumors. just great…
the first recipe that i tried (the photo above) is my favorite. it’s a sort of paste that you can put in a plastic tube to use like industrial toothpaste. but, wanting to use as little plastic as possible after finding this website, i opted to put it in a little glass jar. i take a little out with my finger and wipe it on my toothbrush. i got this recipe from an old friend of mine from elementary school, who posted it as per my request.
just the first time i used it did the taste of baking soda bother me, but already by the second time it didn’t bother me at all. it leaves your mouth feeling super fresh and clean. in short, it’s just awesome. basically you mix:
- 3 Tb coconut oil (preferably organic)
- 3 Tb baking soda
- 1 Tb xylitol
- 25 drops of mint essential oil
it’ll be liquidy at first, but then it gets thicker after a couple of hours. seeing as my daughter doesn’t like mint, i want to try it with orange essential oil and try to convince her to use it.
(*26/07/12* here’s the recipe for the orange toothpaste. a note: in the summer, coconut oil is liquid, so i’ve found that it’s better to make this recipe during hot weather with just 2 Tb of coconut oil. then if you need to later on, you can always add more.)
a couple of things about the ingredients. coconut oil solidifies when it gets cold, so you’ll need to melt it if it isn’t already. i was’t totally convinced at first that coconut oil was good for your teeth, but it seems that, again au contraire, it’s actually very good for them. here’s an article about the many benefits of this oil for the whole body. as for our discussion here, it helps teeth absorb calcium and prevent decay. EDIT: I’ve just found an extremely detailed post about the benefits of coconut oil on Well-Being Secrets.
baking soda cleans and whitens. xylitol, as you know if you’ve ever seen those chewing gum commercials here in italy, is a special type of sugar that’s actually good for your teeth and helps prevent decay. you can order these ingredients online or find them in your herbalist or pharmacy. the only problem with this recipe? xylitol costs a lot, or at least here in italy.
recipe #2 (image above), on the other hand, i found in the book big ass book of crafts by mark montano, but now i also found it in his blog. the ingredients are easier to find and cost a lot less. at first the taste of baking soda (which you taste more than in the first recipe) was very strong, but after a couple of days i got used to it. and now i just love it!
this is how you make it: zest a lime (preferably organic) very finely and let the zest dry for a couple of hours. (he says that you can dry it overnight and use a mortar and pestle to grind it to a powder, but i couldn’t get it powdery. i probably messed something up, who knows…) then put the zest into a jar with a cup of baking soda and 20 drops of mint essential oil and shake it up (with the cap on, obviously) until it’s all mixed up nicely. dip your toothbrush in and wash away, wash away! he claims that the bits of zest can get stuck between your teeth, but i didn’t have this issue. or rather, seeing as it’s always advisable to floss afterwards, any bits get out that way and i didn’t even have the time to notice them.
my conclusion? it seems that industrial toothpaste can do quite a bit of harm. however there are loads of recipes online to make it yourself. i highly suggest either of the two that i wrote about above, but there are most certainly lots of other valid alternatives. and after you start using your own toothpaste, i promise you that you won’t ever want to use a tube of colgate again! (nor tom’s of maine, fennel flavor, which up til now had always been my favorite.) i forced myself to use an industrial toothpaste the other night, just for scientific research (to see what effect it would have after 3 months without), and i have to say that i found it pretty disgusting. so…go brush your teeth and smile!!! 🙂
and p.s.: happy valentine’s day!