Toothpaste is a perfect example of the kind of thing that you can change easily, quickly and cost-effectively. There are a lot of problems with conventional toothpaste, such as the long list of dangerous chemicals found in the ingredients—diethylene glycol (an ingredient also found in anti-freeze), Triclosan (a registered pesticide), etc. As if the toxic chemicals weren’t enough to make you think twice about conventional toothpaste, there’s also the issue of the containers, which are made from plastic. Unfortunately, billions of plastic tubes that Americans use annually end up in landfills. There’s also the problem of all of the other ingredients, such as artificial flavoring and fluoride. If a toothpaste is endorsed by the American Dental Association (and most conventional toothpastes are), it is required to contain fluoride. Fluoride has been shown to cause several health issues; primarily enamel fluorisis. Other ingredients, like the groups of methylparabens and ethylparaben-parabens present in many types of toothpaste, have been shown to affect the endocrine system.
There is an easy solution to the environmental and health problems of conventional toothpaste. Don’t use them! The entire line of Tooth Chips toothpaste is completely safe, as are the Desert Essence toothpastes. Weleda and Tom’s of Maine also make excellent toothpastes that don’t pose any environmental or health risks. Or, you could consider making your own toothpaste, which is surprisingly easy. By mixing baking soda, water, sea salt and essential oils for flavor, you can create toothpaste that poses no health risks, is surprisingly gentle on the environment and reduces your waste and carbon footprint.
EnviroCitizen.org knows that making your own toothpaste can sound scary, but that’s only because you’ve never done it before. The Greeks and Romans made their own toothpaste with crushed bones and oyster shells. Native American cultures have a long history of using neem tree twigs for oral care. In the nineteenth century, the British made their own toothpaste with chalk and salt. By 1900, dentists often recommended that their patients mix a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to use as toothpaste. Take note that the dentists did not recommend any particular brand. Rather, they recommended a recipe for individuals to make at home.
Making your own toothpaste really is surprisingly simple. The standard recipe for homemade toothpaste includes three parts baking soda to one part salt and enough water to make it a nice, creamy texture. To improve the taste, you can add ten or twenty drops of any kind of flavoring, whether it’s peppermint essential oil, cinnamon or anise. You can also add a small amount of glycerin, which will improve the ‘pastiness’ of your toothpaste. Add a drop or two of food coloring to make it a little more visually appealing if that will help convince your family of its benefits and appeal.
Whether you purchase eco-friendly, natural toothpaste or make your own, EnviroCitizen.org knows that you will enjoy a brighter smile, happier planet and healthier life by making this simple switch!
If you’re not quite ready to make your own toothpaste, but would like to benefit from switching to natural toothpaste, check out EnviroCitizen.org’s selection of natural, flouride-free toothpastes.