Spare a minute today to look at the ingredients on your toothpaste tube. Any of them sound familiar? I looked up the ingredients on my tube and found some contradicting opinions.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) causes canker sores for many people.
- Artificial colourings are linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children. Toothpaste does not need to be blue or red!
- Fluoride can be toxic if swallowed. But other sources claimed that fluoride prevents decay.
- Titanium dioxide is added to make a toothpaste white.
- Glycerin isn’t toxic, but ideally has no place in the mouth as it’s a soap that strips your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film that coats the teeth. This messes with the structure of the biofilm which could alter the microbiome in the mouth.
Maybe you don’t care about the ingredients of your toothpaste. What about the packaging? The outer cardboard box claims to be recyclable (I have my doubts with all the printing and heavy lamination). But the tube is very difficult or impossible to recycle and will most likely end up in a landfill. Since there wasn’t a single brand that solved the waste problem, I decided to try the next possible solution – make my own toothpaste.
Easy 3-ingredient Toothpaste
The easiest, three-ingredient recipe that popped up online was a mixture of baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic peppermint oil. While this was a good alternative, it couldn’t be my regular solution. Finding packaging-friendly baking soda and peppermint oil was not easy. What I needed was an option that I could whip up at home in 5 minutes and store.
DIY Waste Less Toothpowder / paste
Sangeetha Sriram has a great recipe and tips on her blog. I have tweaked it to create a tooth powder version that suits me.
- Dry Guava Leaf Powder – 3 tsp
- Sea Salt – 3 tsp
- Clove – 1 tsp
- Cardamom – 1/2 tsp
- Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
- Dry Mint Leaf Powder – 1 tsp or to taste
- Fennel – 1/2 tsp
- Star Anise – 1/4 tsp
- Organic Coconut Oil (if you want paste) – 4-5 drops
Powder each dry ingredient separately (Or together if you have a spice grinder). Mix the powders, sieve, and store. To be used like a toothpowder. For paste-like consistency, add a few drops of coconut oil. Note:
- Rinse and dry the leaves before you powder them.
- Guava leaf can be replaced with neem (bitter) or mango leaves. I get mine from my mom’s garden. If you don’t have access to the leaves, ask a neighbour or a colleague or a friend or participants of the Waste Less Project.
- I buy salt from municipal markets.
- Ask your parents or grandparents for other ingredients that can be added to the mix.
- Check out Nature’s Nurture for some additional recipe ideas.
One last thing. You are attempting to undo a habit that you have practiced all your life. The change won’t happen overnight. In the beginning, try using this powder twice a week. Then increase the frequency as per your comfort and adaptability.