Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DIY Toothpaste: Pearly Whites for the Cheap, Lazy and Green

A couple years ago when I was literally living below the poverty line for my year in Americorps, I started making my own toothpaste. I did it because of the reason I do many DIY things: it was cheap and easy. It really is. You just have to make an initial investment investment in peppermint oil (about $5) and that is literally the most expensive ingredient AND it will last you more than a year (you can find the cost breakdown here). Promise.

So, how do you make this great homemade toothpaste? There are lots of variations, but for the most part it involves:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (optional – gives paste extra scrubbing power and adds to antibacterial power, but is okay to leave out if the taste is too salty)
  • 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil (you can use other oils for flavor, but peppermint is also supposed to help with disinfecting your teeth... so if you use peppermint extract like that silly person in the link above does you are not getting full benefit of the peppermint. The essential oil is important!)
  • water (add to desired consistency)
Literally the only three ingredients you will need to make toothpaste (salt, peppermint oil and baking soda) plus water.
I keep it in a small tupperware container in my medicine cabinet and scoop a little onto my toothbrush or you can dip it right in. This lasts me about a month or so. I haven't had a cavity since!

There are other variations on this that involve coconut oil (also disinfects) and hydrogen peroxide (too much is not good, though, but I mix with water sometimes to use as a whitening mouthwash). Do some exploring and see what you like! 

Some choose to make the toothpaste at home because it is free of chemicals, sweeteners and flouride (I don't care that much). What is great is that you can swallow this paste and not worry about it. You can buy Tom's of Maine or some other expensive toothpaste or you can make this and save tons! Plus whenever you run out of toothpaste, no need to go shopping, just go to your cupboard.

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