I’ve had bad luck with my dental health for… well, forever! Must be bad genes (no offense, mom and dad!). My kids have problems too. Even weird ones like losing teeth too early and, yes, we know our dentist and orthodontist quite well. We’ve tried an assortment of toothbrushes, natural toothpastes (including ones without fluoride), various mouthwashes, and so on. And, I would like to think our diet is descent. So, we’re going to try something I had only recently encountered: remineralizing toothpaste.
What in the world is that, you say?
Well, it turns out that it may be possible for your teeth to re-grow (actually, remineralize) and heal themselves! I don’t know if the claims are true or not but I have read some interesting anecdotal evidence online and figured why not give it a shot.
I began scouring the WWW for the “best” recipe. Actually, I was looking for something that included very basic ingredients, especially those I already had around the house, but not much luck.
Here’s what I came up with (original article here):
Calcium Carbonate Powder
I’m not entirely sure why this is important, but I would suspect it has something to do with the fact that your teeth are, in part, made up of calcium (as well as phosphorous and mineral salts… whatever those are).
APPROX. COST: $8
AMOUNT TO USE: 5 parts
Diatomaceous Earth [Optional]
First, ensure it’s food grade. Second, apparently diatomaceous earth is not entirely necessary because the baking soda shown below should act as an abrasive, so it’s up to you whether you get some. I choose not to buy any, but diatomaceous earth has plenty of other uses, such as for food storage and even pest control.
APPROX. COST: $12
AMOUNT TO USE: 1 part
This we did have at home, and plenty of it! Apparently, it acts as an abrasive and is found in nearly all natural toothpaste recipes known to mankind.
APPROX. COST: $9
AMOUNT TO USE: 2 parts
Xylitol Powder [Optional… sort of]
Used to keep the toothpaste from tasting bitter. They say it isn’t necessary but who wants to brush with bitter-tasting toothpaste? I sure don’t!
APPROX. COST: $10
AMOUNT TO USE: 3 parts
Used to get desired texture. We already had some of this as well.
APPROX. COST: $9
AMOUNT TO USE: 3-5 parts
Other Ingredients [Optional… not really]
Any number of essential oils can be used for flavor, including peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, orange, etc. Again, it may not be necessary but I prefer to have a little enjoyment while I’m brushing. 🙂
APPROX. COST: $7
AMOUNT TO USE: several drops
The above product list includes everything that can go into this remineralizing recipe. And if you bought it all then the total bill would run around $55, and that doesn’t include shipping… yikes!
Before you go jump off a bridge, realize that these ingredients would be enough to make toothpaste for the entire family for years on end (with the possible exception of the calcium carbonate). Now, considering that we spend several dollars per tube of toothpaste for the “natural” stuff, I was willing to give this a shot, especially since we already had a few of the ingredients at home.
Preparation and Storage
- Simply mix the dry ingredients together (calcium carbonate, diatomaceous earth, baking soda, xylitol powder) into a clean bowl.
- Add the coconut oil until you get a toothpaste-like consistency.
- Add a few to several drops of your favorite essential oil for flavoring.
- Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid and keep out of sunlight.
To use, dip a clean toothbrush in or, better yet, apply the toothpaste to your toothbrush using a popsicle stick, spoon, clean finger… ok, probably not your finger; you get the idea.
My Experience (and a problem)
Here’s what my mixed toothpaste looked like (click to enlarge):
I used teaspoons in place of parts for the ingredients and ended up with something that sort of resembled toothpaste when I was done:
- 5 tsp calcium carbonate
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp xylitol powder
- 3 tsp coconut oil (I had to melt it before use because it had solidified)
- several drops Lemon essential oil
Before adding the essential oil I tasted it… yuck! I guess I would have used it if I had no other choice but in my opinion: ADD FLAVORING! We wound up using lemon (I would have preferred peppermint but we didn’t have any around) and briefly considered cinnamon as well, which might have been better than lemon. There is also a gritty feeling at first but that seems to vanish when actually brushing. Anyway, I can’t say the recipe is awesome but it is serviceable and will take some time to get accustomed to. By the way, teaspoons didn’t make a lot of toothpaste, so in the future I think I’ll use tablespoons.
One thing I ran into was that the toothpaste had solidified again later that night–I assume because the coconut oil had solidified–and aside from breaking off chunks it simply was not usable. So, rather than throwing it out I took a cheese grater to it and turned it into something similar to Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste (soap) that we had used years ago. Shredding it seems to work out ok but I find it difficult to keep the shavings on my toothbrush as I seem to lose half of it into the sink. I’ve tried putting the shavings on my tongue first and like a baseball player would dip tobacco but I haven’t found a “style” that I really like yet. Will keep trying though.
How about you? Have you tried this recipe or anything similar? Any luck or disappointments?