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Archive for the ‘Personal Care’ Category

Like many other personal/health products, healthy toothpaste is more difficult to replace its toxic counterparts than food.  Deciding to ditch the toxic fluoride-bomb regular toothpaste is great, but then the dizzying array of alternatives is enough to make your head explode.

First off, many of the “natural” toothpastes still contain undesirable ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, glycerin (which coats the teeth and is very difficult to remove, preventing remineralization), and more.  Not to mention that these alternative commercial toothpastes tend to be very pricey.

There are probably hundreds (or more) of recipes on the internet and other media for homemade toothpastes, but it can be very difficult to find one without baking soda.  For people with sensitive teeth, baking soda is simply too abrasive and causes pain.  The first time I made my own toothpaste, which of course contained baking soda, I had to stop using it after three days because my teeth hurt so much.  I have also since heard stories of people who never experienced pain or sensitivity while brushing with baking soda, but later discovered that their enamel had become very worn.

The relatively rare recipes for homemade toothpaste without baking soda often contain castile soap, which I have no interest in putting in my mouth.  And since I want a toothpaste my whole family can use and my preschooler still regularly swallows his toothpaste, soap is definitely out.  Other homemade alternatives include plain coconut oil (which becomes thin and very runny in the mouth; still not a good choice for a child), plain water, and dry brushing.  I’ve tried plain water and dry brushing both and my teeth simply don’t feel clean.

Returning to commercial alternatives, the problem is that even if you find a good tooth soap, powder, etc. to buy, you still have to fork over the cash for it!   After hearing about Redmond’s Earthpaste, made from bentonite clay, I was very intrigued and have since seen only positive reviews of it.  However, there is no way I’m paying $8 for an itty bitty tube of toothpaste (or $7.46 on Amazon).  Just…no.  So, I made my own!

Redmond’s doesn’t post an actual ingredient list, but the link above describes it as clay, essential oils, Redmond’s RealSalt (unrefined sea salt), and xylitol.  For the clay, Redmond’s Clay or any other sodium bentonite powder will do.  I actually used this kind, but it’s more expensive per ounce than Redmond’s.  The essential oils and RealSalt were items I already had on hand, and I deliberated for a bit on the xylitol.  Xylitol is touted as a “natural” sweetener with inherent cavity fighting abilities; however, I have heard negative things about it as well.  In the end, I wasn’t willing to spend the money on it ($15 for 2.5 pounds on Amazon).  So I replaced it with coconut oil, which has antibacterial properties of its own, and is an ingredient already found in my kitchen.  I was going to add a few drops of stevia for sweetness but forgot, and I think it really doesn’t need it anyway.  But that’s certainly an option.

I didn’t have much spare time when I made my toothpaste and I didn’t bother measuring anything, so take the following measurements with a grain of (Real)salt.  I just slopped everything together in the jar and stirred it with a butter knife.  And I love it!  The clay is a much gentler abrasive than baking soda and has not caused any sensitivity for me yet.  My teeth feel noticeably cleaner even hours later than with any other toothpaste I’ve tried.  The texture does take a little bit of getting used to, as it’s very different from the foamy clouds produced by most commercial toothpastes.  The clay can feel a bit drying as well, so I suggest a thorough rinsing and drink of water afterwards.  Also, the saltiness will be more pronounced if you use it the same day you make it.  Letting it sit overnight seems to improve the flavor.  Finally, my son wrinkled up his nose a bit when he first tried it, but he used it without complaint, and that’s all I ask for!  The following recipe will make about 1/3 to 1/2 cup.   You can easily increase the proportions to make more at a time.

And without further ado…

Homemade Earthpaste

  • 1/4 cup bentonite clay
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (mine was very soft but not liquid at the time, but it probably doesn’t really matter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon RealSalt or other unrefined sea salt
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil
  • Water

Find a small, sturdy glass jar with an air-tight lid.  Add all ingredients except the water.  Mix in water (preferably filtered) one tablespoon at a time until a thick paste has formed–it won’t take much.   Brush!

Doesn’t look too pretty, but who cares? It just gets spit into the sink anyway.

ETA: I usually just use mint extract for flavoring now in lieu of the essential oils, and often add stevia extract to make it more palatable.  Our dental visits have confirmed that it works – no cavities for us!

(**Shared at Simple Lives Thursday, Green Living & Giveaways, and Freaky Friday**)

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I’ve had a gum-chewing habit since childhood and while I chew much less of it now than I did in the past, I don’t like the thought of chewing on a big wad of sugar or aspartame all the time.  Homemade gum appears to be too complicated and possibly expensive, and I don’t have time to add another lengthy homemade item to my routine right now, so a quick spray it is. 

First, I bought a pack of two travel size spray bottles, the smallest I could find.  I wasn’t willing to invest in a stainless steel bottle, but that would really be a better option.  I’m not sure how many ounces the bottle actually holds, but I’d guess about 2 oz.  Anyway, I got this pack at my grocery store for $1.99–I used the pink bottle on the right for this:


Homemade Breath Freshening Spray

  • 10 to 15 drops peppermint essential oil (or lemon, lime, orange – just make sure it’s an edible oil)
  • 8 drops liquid stevia
  • 3 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional – acts as a natural preservative)
  • Water to fill bottle

Place all in the bottle using a small funnel if necessary and shake well to combine.  That’s all!
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If you chew gum because you simply need something to chew on, this obviously isn’t going to help you.  But if you just want the occasional breath freshening, this works very well!

(**Shared at this week’s Monday Mania**)

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Although I’ve had a strong interest in herbalism and natural remedies since high school, I’ve led a pretty unnatural life until recently.  Five years ago, I smoked up to a pack a day and while I left most of my partying days back in my teen years, I still occasionally got rip-roaring drunk.  I popped Tylenol virtually every day for tension headaches (and for practically any other twinge) and, taking a page out of my dad’s book, guzzled Pepto Bismol and Mylanta straight from the bottle on a regular basis to ease the acid reflux and other various stomach ailments I suffered then.  At 16, I was prescribed Wellbutrin, an antidepressant that I took for 13 years.  For many years, one of my favorite things to eat for “dinner” was a boxed rice or noodle mix, cooked in the microwave in a plastic bowl.  (I cringe just writing that.)

What’s changed?

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I’m working on a post about healthy fats, but because I have just emerged from an orgy of schoolwork and am still rather dazed, I’m doing this one instead. 

Gents, this post is for ladies only.  Proceed only if you aren’t squeamish about lady bits or menstruation.  You have been warned!


(more…)

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