With my final dental appointment today, I felt I must take a moment to talk about homemade toothpaste, tooth whiteners and mouthwash. Though I will give a recipe for mouthwash later. With so many websites out there giving all kinds of recipes for toothpaste, some are very involved, some have lots of ingredients, some even have you add sugar. Some state their recipes were developed by “famous” dentists or “periodontitis” after much research. All I have to say is most of these recipes also want to sell you a bunch of e-Books at the same time. You don’t need any of them, honest. What you do need is a good daily oral hygiene practice. Brush at least twice per day and carry a small tin of floss in your pocket. A good mouth wash rinse and to visit your dentist at least twice per year for a good cleaning and checkup.
A word of caution from my dentist on the use of baking soda as your toothpaste. If you use a soft brush and brush your teeth gently, almost like you do when you are massaging your gums, you are fine. If however you brush your teeth like you are using a wire brush, removing oil from the BBQ grill….you need to not do this! Baking soda is abrasive and if you brush your teeth like they have hard tar on them and need a jack hammer, the baking soda due to its natural properties, you can damage and remove the enamel right off your teeth….so don’t do this! Gently brush them, with a soft brush and you will have healthy white teeth.
- Baking Soda
Yup, that’s it, no filler, no vegetable base glycerin, no sugar, artificial sweetener,no food coloring, nothing else. The benefits of baking soda are that it acts as an anti-bacterial as well as it is mildly abrasive. The kicker here is that is doesn’t taste very good. Did you know that baking soda also acts as a mild whitener? You got that right, it also helps to whiten your teeth as well. So let me guess, “last longer, cleaner teeth longer” advertisements”, yet because baking soda has anti-bacterial properties, it does so quite natural. Pay twice as much for a “professional grade” of tooth whitening paste” or use your box of $1.00 baking soda that will last you a year? Your choice.
Simply put a pea sized amount of baking soda on your hand and dip your dampened toothbrush into it and brush away.
I have seen people state all over the internet that if you use just baking soda your breath will stink. Ummmm, no! You might have gingivitis, or another mouth or gum condition, but HELLO, baking soda is used in the refrigerator, carpet cleaners, cat boxes, laundry all because IT ABSORBS ODOR and creates a more neutral smell. If someone has bad breath and uses baking soda as their toothpaste, the smell isn’t from their toothpaste, it’s from their oral health!
Some recipes call for you to add salt, salt acts as an additional abrasive and is not really necessary. It can be quite abrasive. If your doctor has told you to perform a salt wash in your mouth for oral health, your doctor does not mean for you to brush with salt, rather that you use salt dissolved in a bit of water and use it as a mouth wash.
Now you can add some EO (essential oil) drops to your baking soda to aid in a more “pleasant flavor”, but I suggest if you must flavor it, sprinkle a little cinnamon, maybe some anise seed and whole cloves. Keep things on the “very light” flavor side. It is easy to add more spices from the spice rack than it is to remove them, a tiny bit goes a long way and after being sealed up for a month in your tooth powder container, the flavors will only get stronger. If you keep it all dry, you won’t have to worry about shelf dates unless you introduce moisture to it. I highly suggest a tiny little tea-spoon (you know the high society crowd that drinks tea…they have a special little tiny spoon just for sugar, it will give you a near perfect “pea sized amount” in the palm of your hand and keep your tooth powder dry and clean). I really enjoy grating up a vanilla bean and adding a whole clove or two.
Word of caution: If you dip into your spice rack for spices to flavor up the baking soda, and you happen to grab the nutmeg, use very sparingly. Nutmeg is a natural anti-diuretic. When you suffer from diarrhea, a good old-fashioned warm cup of water with 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg will take care of the problem. To much nutmeg can cause constipation and well, that would not be a good thing.
For those of you wanting more anti-bacterial action, add a few drops of tea tree oil. Starting with a mouthwash of 3% hydrogen peroxide will help break up the film that has settled on your teeth since your last brushing. Also, something that is giving many people problems, that all the most expensive, most researched toothpastes aren’t going to help is the use of (or lack of use of) DENTAL FLOSS. I asked several dentists in a phone interview about the best kind of floss. They all state the good old-fashioned thin string of floss. If the flavored varieties or the “dental tape” , or waxed varieties make you feel happier, they will do almost as good a job. However the dental picks, the ones that are a glorified toothpick with a little string of floss on one end. Every last dentist I spoke with had only one thing to say about these. “if that is the only way you will floss, something is better than nothing”. So if you like the picks, keep in mind they are better than nothing, but good old-fashioned floss works best.
Moving on to home-made mouthwash.
Again, lots of recipes trying to “re-create” the alcohol based mouth washes on your grocers shelf. Alcohol isn’t a necessary or healthiest choice for a mouthwash. In fact, it really isn’t needed at all. Chances are, it burns when you try to swish it around when you use an alcohol based mouthwash. Now tell me, if it is uncomfortable, what are the chances in you using a mouthwash as long as you should or even getting into the habit of using it in the first place? How many of us have told our children “It hurts and burns because it is working…keep swishing with it!”. Will that line encourage your kids to develop good oral hygiene habits? Normally I shy away from things I know will cause me pain, it’s a learned response; but to each their own, I know some people totally dig pain.
Rosemary and Mint Mouthwash
If you have a herb garden, this one will delight you, it will also give you that “clean minty fresh” feeling in your mouth for a little while.
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of aloe vera gel
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced mint
- 2 teaspoon rosemary leaves, fresh minced
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon anise seeds
Mix the water, mint, rosemary and anise seeds in a small sauce pan, bring to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool. Strain all of the “floaties” through fine cheesecloth or a strainer, then through a kitchen funnel, pour mixture into a clean glass bottle, pour in the aloe vera through the funnel. Place a cap onto your container and shake. Shake each time you set about using it. I keep this in the refrigerator until use. I toss out any that I might not have used at the end of the week. But it always gets used! 🙂
I put a shot glass on top of the re-used glass olive oil bottle. This way I just shake, pour into the shot glass and swish away. I had a friend call me and state that his shot glass was just too much and he found it hard to swish around as his mouth was so full of mouthwash. I asked him what kind of shot glass he was using. His reply “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor”. >.< Yup you guessed it, he was using a 4 ounce shot glass; leave it to a bachelor! You only want to use a 1 ounce shot glass, also known as the finger shot, where you pour it up till it hits the first knuckle on your finger. But hey, shot glass history is another lesson.
Many people do not use mouthwash because lets face it, who has time to turn the 2 minute egg timer over and stand in front of the mirror swishing for two minutes? Most of us just swish it around a few times than spit it out thinking “that’s good enough”. An easy solution that I use is to start my swishing, then jump into the shower. I swish while I shower, spit it down the drain and didn’t waste a single minute of my precious time.
The rosemary and mint mouthwash is what I call “date night” mouthwash, where you hope to be close enough to kiss someone, but a great all-purpose mouthwash is more simple.
Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash
I can not stress the importance of a 3% hydrogen peroxide, some use higher, but in the case of a mouthwash, you really don’t need to use higher than 3%. Too high can and normally does cause tooth sensitivity. 3% works great. For this, mix as you go, just ensure you take precautions to not contaminate your peroxide bottle. What I do is pour a little into the cap of the peroxide bottle, pour that into my shot glass, fill it with water, add a drop of tea tree oil and swish. You can mix a larger batch, just don’t add more than a cupful of hydrogen peroxide per ounce of water. This is a super simple “whitening” mouthwash.
Baking Soda mouthwash
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 drop of tea tree oil
- 1 drop of food grade mint oil
Mix in your shot glass and swish away
As you can see, they are simple and easy and did I mention economical? And while I hate to admit this, I went ten years without going to the dentist due to lack of dental insurance, but mainly laziness on my part. Using my homemade toothpaste and mouthwash one would think my mouth should have fallen apart right? I mean the companies making these products have made us fear our teeth will rot and drop from our mouths if we do not use their products. Well, I had only one small cavity! That is, ONE in 10 years. Now mind you in the past my teeth have been horrible, when I was going twice per year (like I am again), normally I had at least one cavity per visit, or two per year.
I know, some of you may be thinking, what about fluoride? how about anti-bacterial? What about that “enamel boosting”…….the bottom line is this. Your money, Your choice, their propaganda! And don’t forget to brush you tongue!