April 1, 2015

Why I Make My Own Toothpaste

I haven’t purchased toothpaste in years, and yes–I brush my teeth!How is this possible? I make it myself! (original post with links and pictures found at EcoWatch)

When I transitioned to a Zero Waste lifestyle over two years ago, toothpaste was the first product I stopped buying and started making. The ingredients are simple and easy to find at almost any store: baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic essential oils. It takes no more than 2 minutes to combine these three ingredients, and the toothpaste leaves my mouth feeling so incredibly fresh— way fresher than store­bought toothpaste. In fact, when I used my friend’s store bought toothpaste a week ago, I couldn’t believe the difference!


But let’s take a step back... why did I make the switch from “conventional” packaged toothpaste to one that I make myself?


The Packaging:


For starters, I live a Zero Waste lifestyle and toothpaste tubes are totally wasteful. They are typically sold with not just the tube, but a box as well. While the box is recyclable, the tube is very difficult or impossible to recycle and will most likely end up in a landfill. The benefit of making my own toothpaste is that I can put it in a glass jar that I can wash and reuse infinitely. No plastic tubes, no trash, no landfill.


The Ingredients:


I like to have control of what I am putting on and in my body. There has been a lot of controversy around the ingredients that are in conventional toothpaste. Two that I will focus on are triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate, but conventional toothpaste also contains fluoride, propylene glycol, and sodium hydroxide, all of which are controversial because they are linked to cancer and a long list of other ailments.


Triclosan:​ A chemical added to many products to reduce bacterial contamination which is also used in toothpaste to prevent gingivitis,according to the FDA and toothpaste manufacturers.In addition, it has been said to be potentially carcinogenic and have negative effects on the endocrine system in animals. It is banned in certain applications in Europe and in 2011, some of Colgate’s soap products were reformulated without the chemical, but not their toothpaste. The ecotoxicology of the ingredient is still under heavy scrutiny and EWG rates it to have a moderate/high health hazard. That’s all I needed to hear to make the decision to stay clear of it for good.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):is a surfactant (a foaming agent that lowers the tension between two liquids or a liquid and a solid) used in toothpaste to evenly disperse the ingredients and help with effective rinsing and removal of mouth debris. It also promotes foaming. Many studies on SLS show that it is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process, which is also a possible carcinogen. SLS is also said to aggravate gums. No, thank you.

If something has a supposed risk, I will avoid it until I have concrete evidence that it is safe. This is why I choose to make my own toothpaste with just three ingredients that I trust and buy package­free: baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic essential oils.


The Savings:


Toothpaste can cost anywhere between $1­$8 for a 6oz tube depending on the brand you are buying and where you are purchasing it from. In my experience (purchasing ingredients in NYC), I have spent at most $.60 for 6oz of toothpaste. All aside, the cost savings alone are worth it!


With so much to gain and not much to lose, making your own toothpaste makes sense! It’s cheaper to make, tastes better, feels better in your mouth, and is better for you. See for yourself, to learn how to make my zero waste toothpaste by checking out this video. 



59 comments:

  1. Hello good day Lauren , sorry , I have a question .
    I've been researching this method to brush my teeth , because I did and I loved it .
    But I read it wrong washing three times a day , especially daily with baking soda .
    How often do you wash your teeth?
    I would feel safe when I wash me , now I am in doubt .
    Mexican I'm from Guadalajara , Jalisco, and I 'm starting my transition , and I 'd appreciate respondieras .
    Regards, is wonderful the way you live.
    Greetings and 're a great person . :)

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    Replies
    1. Hola Georgina! Me llamo Anika y vivo en Cd. Guzmán a poco más de una hora de GDL. Siempre pensaba que por aquí no hay personas como yo que tratan de vivir sin plástico! Me gustaría mucho intercambiar ideas contigo sobre como se puede implementar ese estilo de vida aquí en Mexico, porqué si lo he encontrado algo difícil. Te mando muchos saludos!

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    2. Hola Anika :) Te entiendo, estoy teniendo el mismo problema :( me cuesta un poco de trabajo pero estoy tratando de evitar muchas cosas, estoy en contacto con un ingeniero ambiental, quien me ha dado ideas :) me encantaría que platicaramos.
      Mi correo es georgina.sanchezvega@gmail.com
      Escribeme para ponernos en contacto :D
      tal vez ambas nos quitemos dudas :D

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    3. Ya te mandé un correo! Ojala no termine en el Spam :P

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    4. Listo Anika, ya te mande yo uno como respuesta :D me confirmas de recibido

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    5. hola! disculpen por interrumpir su plática, pero es que yo también soy de México y estoy intentando ser más amigable con el medio ambiente (disminuí mi producción de basura, me traslado en bici, disminuí mi consumo de carne, tengo un mini-huerto, etc) y como ustedes mencionan, es un poco difícil hacer eso aquí, así que me gustaría que compartiéramos nuestras experiencias :)

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    6. ¡Hola chicas! Yo no soy de México pero soy de Colombia, y tengo un blog en el que comparto mi búsqueda de una vida más sostenible, con ideas, datos, tutoriales y muchas cosas que pienso que les pueden resultar útiles si les interesa empezar a tener un impacto menor en el planeta. Las invito con mucho cariño a que me visiten y me cuenten qué piensan. Si le hacen click a mi nombre las lleva al enlace del blog. ¡Saludos desde Colombia!

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    7. @Georgina Sanchez Vega: I read the same, apparently frequent washing with baking soda is harmful to your teeth's protective layers. This concern however exists for washing your teeth with baking powder ONLY. This recipe consists of much less baking powder and I have been brushing my teeth with this paste for a couple of month now.

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  2. I DON'T USE DEODORANT NEITHER, I PREPARE IT.

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    1. Hi Gladys, is it possible you can share us tour deodorant recipe, i've been looking for one bit nothing that convince me in the web yet, thanks.

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    2. Straight coconut oil works, also lime juice!

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    3. Hi! I also would like to know your recipe, I exercise a lot so I also sweat a lot, and until now I haven't find a recipe that works well for me :/

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    4. Hello Lid! This is the best deodorant recipe:
      https://www.google.gr/search?q=translate&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=F3rfVc_mHMT1UubJmKgK
      You can translate it via google, the basic ingredients are: 2 ts soda, 2 ts corn flour, 3-4 ts coconut oil (stable, not liquid), 1 ts beeswax (not necessarily) and then some drops of the essential oil you like (not necessarily). Melt everything in Ben Marie while stirring. Let it get cold and its ready!
      I use it more than a year! Its just great!!

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  4. Hi,

    I also live in NYC and would like to know where you buy package free coconut oil and baking soda?

    Thanks!

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  5. I've been making my own toothpaste as well for the past couple of months and have noticed my mouth is especially dry after using it. Would adding more coconut oil solve this issue? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You can try coconut oil pulling. Hope that helps!

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  6. Do you have a toothpaste recipe that uses clay? I've heard a lot of people talk about using clay in their toothpaste or toothpowder but I haven't found any recipes? Is there any actual benefits to using clay?

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  7. I really love that recipe but I live in Chile and here organic coconut oil is so expensive. Do you have an alternative oil for coconut? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Paixai, you can use sesame seed oil. Hope that will work for you!

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    2. Also living in Chile and buying organic coconut oil from KNOP pharmacies. Half a kilo costs 10,000 Ch$, not that expensive in my opinion (less expensive than the fake coconut oil you can buy in other pharmacies to wash your hair if you calculate it according to volume). It will last you for at least half a year, only using it for making toothpaste, I suppose.

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  8. I love this recipe, and have been wanting an alternative to store-bought minty toothpaste, but I have a question: organic coconut oil is liquid at room temperature here, and my teeth are sensitive to cold, so is there another way to make a zero-waste toothpaste? Thank you!

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  10. Dear Lauren, thanks for the recipe. As Georgina asked, I'm also a little bit worried about the use of the baking soda. A friend told me that this material is abrasive and could hurt your gums if you use it frequently like three times in a day. I bought a baking soda able to alimentary, but I'm still afraid, ¿any advice? Thanks again.

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    Replies
    1. I'm interested as well by the respond to that ! Thank you

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  11. Dear Lauren - thanks for this zero waste toothpaste recipe. It looks super simple to make and I plan to start using it right away! I was wondering, do you floss your teeth and, if so, how do you do so with zero waste. Would love to know. Thanks.

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  12. Dear Lauren - thanks for this zero waste toothpaste recipe. It looks super simple to make and I plan to start using it right away! I was wondering, do you floss your teeth and, if so, how do you do so with zero waste. Would love to know. Thanks.

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  13. Dear Lauren..
    Your blog has inspired me.
    Thank you for sharing the toothpaste recipe..
    Maybe I can share something also.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miswak
    https://youtu.be/eamh-GNUsnI

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  14. Muy buena info,y espectacular blog que me encontré,yo tmb tengo dudas sobre el bicarbonato de sodio,que aconsejas vos ?

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  15. More and more people are becoming concerned with how white their teeth are. Some may choose specific toothpaste brands to have their teeth whitened to remove discoloration, stains and spots from their teeth.

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  16. I'm curious about the essential oil. Is it just there as a flavoring, or is there another purpose for it?

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  17. Yo uso Cristal de Mentol, es comestible, y se derrite :)
    Es como la menta, pero cristalizado, y me ha funcionado bien.

    I use Menthol Crystal , it is edible , and melts :)
    It's like mint , but crystallized, and it has worked well .

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  18. I love this recipe! but I'm not sure: do I have to leave it in the fridge or can I have it outside in the bathroom?

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  19. I have read that using coconut oil in the sink is not great for the pipes as it can build up and mess up the septic system. Anything you know about this at all?

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  20. My 10 year old daughter tells me to write you that YOU ARE GREAT and I totally agree!!! We have just made our first toothpaste together (one with lavander oil and anonther with lemon oil - the only 2 we had at home) and it was 1) super easy to make and 2) we had a lot of fun brushing our teeth afterwards. The mouth feels fresh and the teeth very clean. Thank you so much for sharing - I admire you attitude! Bisous from France!

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  21. Hi! I love your blog and I think that you are doing a fantastic job sharing all this with the people!! I am from Seville (Spain), although it is a little bit difficult to live a life like yours here, I try to do as much as I can because I think it's great (and necessary for the environment)! Thank you very much!

    R

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  22. How do you store the toothpaste? Is it to be stored room temperature, or refrigerated? Also, how long does this stay good for?

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  23. I would love to be able to make my own toothpaste, but this recipe is missing the most important ingredient in toothpaste; fluorine. So I guess I'll have to continue to buy my toothpaste from the store.

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  24. I have done it, a bit salty, I hope its correct? I used (as I live in Germany), natron (baking soda), and eucalyptus oil with the coconut oil, same proportions. any advise?

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  25. Awesome! What about floss? Have you found one that isn't made of nylon and comes in recyclable packaging?

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  26. How do you avoid the coconut oil going rancid? Do you use a fresh spoon to scoop it out each time you brush you teeth?

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  28. Hi Lauren,

    I tried using this toothpaste recipe for about a month. While the texture did not bother me at all, I noticed that usually about halfway through the day my teeth felt kind of fuzzy and dirty (like I hadn't even brushed them). I would really like to stick with a homemade recipe, do you have any tips or suggestions?

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  29. What does your dentist have to say about this toothpaste? I have heard that baking soda is to abrasive for your teeth what do you think?

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  30. Running your paste under water for a few minutes is a waste of water! Please consider highlighting this.

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  31. Lauren,
    I have been making your toothpaste recipe for the past few months now (Since Jan '16). My mother was originally opposed to the idea, thinking it was 'unhygenic.' However, today she came up to me and told me that she actually wanted to start making her own toothpaste from now on! She said she loves the scent it adds to my bathroom, and she realized it actually works on me. Thank you so much for sharing your life and giving us the tools to inspire change! Just wanted to share this good news with you.

    Warm regards,
    Stephanie V.
    Miami, FL

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  33. Hi how can i stabilize my toothpaste to enhance shelflife and sell to friends.

    Regards

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  34. Thông tin dự án Vinhomes Phạm Hùng đẳng cấp hấp dẫn |
    Giới thiệu  chung cư Vinhomes Phạm Hùng cao cấp nhất

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