For almost 2 years now I've been using a homemade fluoride-free toothpaste I make with bentonite clay, purified water, baking soda, powdered mint leaves, finely ground sea salt, cinnamon, and clove. Simple ingredients, easy to make, and it lasts a long time!
Is natural toothpaste safe or healthy? What about cavities?
We have been told over and over how important fluoride is in preventing cavities, but there are more and more studies questioning it's use in our public water as well as toothpastes. Not only is fluoride a toxin, but there are all kind of other nasty ingredients in conventional toothpaste, and even some green brands that may be trying to pull the wool over your eyes by including questionable ingredients too. One definite ingredient to be sure to avoid is Triclosan, which is a known carcinogen and also harms our fishy friends downstream. Want to know what else might lurk in your toothpaste that you should avoid? Check out the guide by the David Suzuki Foundation: How to avoid toxic chemicals in your toothpaste. If you have some toothpaste and you want to see how it ranks against other brands on the market, or find a healthier toothpaste, you can check out The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database (EWG) to see what's in your toothpaste tube. You might be surprised! Also, if you have little kids, you might be surprised to learn that the Fluoride Action Network reports that "One strip of fluoridated toothpaste on a child-sized toothbrush contains between 0.75 and 1.5 mg of fluoride, which is more fluoride than is found in many prescription fluoride supplements (0.25 to 1.0 mg per tablet). Since young children are known to swallow a large amount of the toothpaste they place in their mouth, use of fluoride toothpaste–particularly when done without the supervision of a parent–can result in dangerous levels of fluoride exposure. Ingestion of excessive fluoride toothpaste is a major risk factor for dental fluorosis". Another important reason to make sure what goes on that brush is edible and safe!
Another important reason to avoid over the counter toothpaste is that many of them now contain microbeads - tiny plastic beads sometimes called microscrubbers that not only get stuck in your gums, but hurt our waterways and animals that live in them! See our post on microbeads for more information.
After visiting the dentist a couple of times for regular check-ups since using only my homemade flouride-free toothpaste, I can report that I have no new cavities and the dentist even commented a few months ago at my last check up that he was impressed with my teeth and gums. He said "Whatever you are doing Amy, keep it up". Getting the thumbs up from my dentist was exciting! I took the leap and decided to tell him that I was using a homemade clay flouride-free toothpaste powder. He didn't bat an eye and said "well that's how they used to make toothpaste years ago, you know". I felt like I'd been given a pat on the back. I had been slightly worried about whether my teeth would show wear or if I would have more cavities, or whether the dentist would be able to tell that I wasn't using a fluoride toothpaste anymore.
My research & product development has paid off! I have created an AMAZING new product that is a toothpaste powder. It smells like cinnamon hearts with a hint of mint and it feels divine! I actually look forward to brushing my teeth now! What is even more exciting is how local the toothpaste powder is. Turns out I needed a lot of mint leaves to make this new product, more than I had growing in my front garden, so I reached out to friends in Edmonton and got many requests to come and rescue some of their mint! All this harvested mint will be going into my toothpaste powder thanks to some wonderful gardener friends!