Over the last few years, I’ve been switching to homemade or more natural products for cleaning and grooming. I even did the no shampoo thing (“no poo” for those of you familiar with this movement) for a while but couldn’t quite get behind it. I do apple cider vinegar rinses on my hair a few times a month instead and switched to a sulfate free, phthalate free shampoo.
I mop my floors with water and vinegar and have been trying my darnedest to find a good natural deodorant, but I think nothing of buying commercial toothpaste that shouts promises of brighter, whiter teeth. I started to develop a rash around my mouth during my current pregnancy and have been researching what could be causing it.
Since everyone with the internet is basically a doctor nowadays, I diagnosed myself with perioral dermatitis (don’t worry, I’m going to see an actual dermatologist next week), but I also stumbled across information about how fluoride and other toothpaste ingredients can be irritating or even harmful. Here are ingredients that are in most commercial toothpastes:
-Triclosan: a pesticide and hormone disruptor
-Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): can cause irritation and corrosion of the skin (canker sores)
-Artificial colorings linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children– Bright blue toothpaste anyone?
-Fluoride, which can be toxic if swallowed and the effectiveness in toothpaste is highly debated
-Glycerin, which isn’t toxic, but it’s a soap that strips your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film. This film can mess with your mouth’s natural biofilm, which in turn can allow breakdown of your enamal.
-Highly abrasive ingredients, which damage enamel, making teeth sensitive and more prone to gum recession and cavities.
Making your own toothpaste is really easy and, now that I’ve been using it for over a week, I think I’m hooked! At first, the lack of foaminess was a little hard to get used to. All of our soaps, shampoos and toothpastes generally have ingredients that create foam which doesn’t do anything except train us to think that “bubbles=clean”. After a couple uses, I really started to like it though! It’s less abrasive than regular toothpaste and the flavor isn’t so strong that I feel like I’m getting burned by it. My mouth actually feels more fresh for a longer period of time after brushing.
You can add any essential oil you like, or leave them out completely. I happened to have peppermint on hand, so that’s what I used, but next time I might try grapefruit or orange just to get completely wild.