Taking care of your teeth is very important, no matter what kind of lifestyle you lead. When I started working on making my bathroom more zero waste, one of the things I looked into was my dental care routine. This involved looking into toothpaste (not a very pleasant experience!), and then coming up with ways to make my own tooth powder and mouthwash.
What’s so bad about regular toothpaste?
Beyond toothpaste coming in an un-recyclable plastic tube, it has a lot of additives. Aside from the hazardous fluoride, it also contains:
- Saccharin and aspartame: Artificial sweeteners which both made the Centre for Science in the Public’s Interest’s list of additives to avoid.
- Triclosan: Used in antibacterial soaps and listed as a pesticide. More research is being conducted because of it’s negative effect on thyroid and oestrogen levels.
- Glycerine: It’s not harmful, but it coats your teeth, and prevents the beneficial minerals in saliva from reaching the teeth.
- Sodium lauryl sulphate: Commonly referred to as SLS, it’s an unnecessary foaming agent that agitates gums and can cause ulcers and cancer sores.
- Silica: A natural component of sand
The question for me was how to get toothpaste out of my routine, and something healthier in. Thanks to Zero Waste legend, Kathryn, I was able to find a dentist approved tooth powder to replace my common toothpaste. Believe it or not, before toothpaste was the norm, tooth powder was what everyone used!
Make Your Own Zero Waste Toothpowder
- 1/4 Cup of Xylitol: It’s a natural sweetener. It prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth and neutralizes the pH to help avoid tooth decay.
- 1/4 Cup of Baking Soda: A very mild abrasive (less abrasive than commercial toothpastes) that dislodges plaque on teeth, breaks down stain causing molecules, and neutralizes pH.
- 1/4 Cup of Bentonite Clay: Draws out toxins, contains calcium, and is often used to help remineralize teeth.
Stir together. Avoid using metal with the clay, it will deactivate. Instead try to use a wooden spoon, and then store it in a glass jar. The powder tastes like nothing, and still leaves you with clean teeth and fresh breath!
To brush, just dampen your toothbrush slightly, dip it into the powder to pick up a little, and brush!
Did you know that every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists? Be part of the solution and get a toothbrush that will decompose naturally. My personal favorite is by Simply Bamboo.
Make Your Own Zero Waste Mouthwash
The one thing lacking with the homemade tooth powder is that minty-fresh taste – it’s something I had to get used to. But thanks to the option of making your own mouthwash, you can get that delicious fresh taste back!
- 1/4 Cup of Aloe Vera Juice or 3 Medium Leaves: Aloe Vera is actually really good for dental health. In fact, there are a lot of aloe vera mouthwashes on the shelf at the health food stores. You can read more about the research here.
- 2 Teaspoons of Xylitol: Xylitol is very popular in dental care. “Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth.”
- 2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda: Baking Soda is really good for dental health too. “In particular, baking soda can help you to maintain good oral health. Baking soda works by balancing the levels of acid in the body.”
- 1 Cup of Distilled Water: Boil water in the kettle and then just let it cool.
- 2-3 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
Put the aloe in your blender with all the other ingredients. Blend it on high for about a minute, and then strain it. I recommend a fine mesh sieve, to keep plant matter out of your wash. Remember to shake well before you use it, and don’t swallow!
If you can’t get aloe vera, you can also use about 8-10 drops tee tree essential oil. This will serve as your anti-bacterial.
And it’s as simple as that!
If you make your own tooth powder or mouthwash, please share with me how it came out – I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time, stay Greenish!