Toothpaste varieties take up a large percentage of shelf space in the supermarket. A 2010 study predicted that the toothpaste market will reach more than $12 billion by 2015.
Toothpastes come in packages of every color. There are ones that cater to kids; striped toothpastes; minty, cinnamon or bubblegum flavors; easy-open tubes; fluoride-filled or fluoride-free. But they all have the same basic ingredients – and you can make a back-to-basics tooth cleaner at home.
The most important task of toothpaste is to clean – the rest is fluff. If that’s all we want it to do, then we can dip our toothbrush into a box of baking soda and be happy. But the thought of doing that makes me want to gag. So let’s make it a little more appealing, shall we?
You can certainly add some flavor to that baking soda by mixing in a few drops of peppermint oil (if you have peppermint food flavoring in your spice cabinet, that will work just as well). Personally, I think this feels as though I am rubbing candy-cane-infused dirt on my teeth. But to each his own. For those who are focused on cost alone, this is the most economical way to replace the toothpaste tube.
If you prefer a palate-pleasing paste, let’s add coconut oil to the mixture. This oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties along with other health benefits, and helps smooth out the grittiness of the baking soda (a warning: the coconut oil will change consistency according to the temperature of the room, and can liquefy in warm weather). Use one part coconut oil to one part baking soda, and adjust the ratio till you find the consistency you like. You decide how much peppermint flavoring to use.
Store-brand toothpastes also include sweeteners to entice you to brush more often. You can boost your homemade tooth cleaner, too, by adding a little agave syrup or stevia powder. Just make sure you mix your ingredients in small batches and use it up in a timely manner.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with ratios and flavorings – there is more than one way to clean a tooth. Are you following the Paleo diet? Then try this recipe for tooth cleaner. Wellness Mama has another recipe based on baking soda and coconut oil, and DIY Natural suggests another inexpensive way to make your own tooth cleaner, with a cost breakdown and comparison to Tom’s of Maine toothpaste.
Whether you squeeze your paste from the middle or the bottom of the tube, or if you brush your molars first or your canines — keep smiling. And let us know if you have your own best recipe for clean teeth.
“Happy Teeth” image by Idea go at freedigitalphotos.net.