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3.01.2013

Homemade Clay Toothpaste


A few months ago, I decided to switch the personal care items in our home to safer, "less toxic" variations. Shampoo, lotion, deodorant-- everything went under evaluation and better alternatives were considered. When it came to toothpaste, we first tried a tube made by Dessert Essence (see it here) because it was free of floride and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). I accidentally ordered "fennel" flavor, and fortunately there was no difference in the texture of this toothpaste because the terrible black licorice flavor was a HUGE adjustment in itself. Minty fresh was a thing of the past- the strong smell of fennel now reassured me that my husband had brushed his teeth. 

I soon learned through deeper research that glycerin (an ingredient in the "natural" toothpaste we had switched to) is actually thought to contribute to tooth decay when used as a toothpaste additive. From what I understand, it coats the teeth and interferes with the natural process of remineralization... among other things. Furthermore, the Dessert Essence toothpaste we'd switched to contained sodium coco-sulfate, which carries the same risks as SLS. (In other words, the Dessert Essence switch was a beginner's mistake on my part.) In my "refuse to accept anything but the least harmful" fashion I decided that perhaps it was time to find a better toothpaste. Thus, "Earthpaste" enters our lives.

At first I hated it. It has no foaming agents, so... it doesn't foam. Which might be hard to imagine if you've only ever brushed with conventional toothpaste. It felt like I was brushing with minty water. Pleasant flavor, unappealing texture. However, we stuck with it, and actually grew to love it. I honestly think I would gag if I tried to use conventional toothpaste again. Yuck! We also asked our dental hygienist if it would be detrimental to our teeth to switch to a fluoride-free toothpaste. Her answer? We could brush with water and maintain good dental hygiene. Oral health has much more to do with the frequency and thoroughness of brushing and flossing than it does with the toothpaste (or lack thereof) being used!

Side note: We use an electric toothbrush. When I try using Earthpaste on a conventional toothbrush, I hate it just as much as I did the first time I tested it. I believe using an electric toothbrush gets your teeth cleaner, but it also makes using an unconventional toothpaste more palatable! 

Now, to the whole point of this post! Earthpaste is awesome. But it's rather expensive-- definitely worth the cost, in my opinion, but it literally has seven easily attainable ingredients. Why not try to recreate it at home? Fortunately, the lovely Stephanie over at one of my favorite blogs, Keeper of the Home, decided to do so. And by using her recipe as a starting point, I came up with my own variation. I hope you're inspired to either try a tube of Earthpaste or to try this homemade version! 


Ingredients:

1/4 cup bentonite clay (I used Redmond Clay)
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon unrefined salt (I used Real Salt)
3/8 cup boiling water (somehow filtered would probably be best... I used tap :x)
1-2 single serving packets of stevia or xylitol (I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia)
8-12 drops peppermint essential oil (I used Plant Therapy Organic Peppermint Oil)
2-4 drops tea tree oil (I used Edens Garden Organic Tea Tree Oil) 

1. In a bowl, mix clay and salt. Note: DO NOT ADD A HEAPING 1/4 TEASPOON OF SALT! I did this. Bad idea, unless you enjoy salty toothpaste! If you want to play it safe, add the 1/8 teaspoon (or less), taste, and then add more if you need to!
2. Add boiling water and stir using a wire whisk.
3. Add 1 packet of the stevia or xylitol, 8 drops of peppermint, and 2 drops of tea tree oil. Stir well.
4. Taste a bit and add more stevia/xylitol, peppermint, and/or tea tree oil until you like the flavor.
5. Put into an airtight container of some sort and enjoy brushing with your thrifty, effective, non-toxic toothpaste! I used an empty conditioner bottle for ours.


Apology:

Sorry about the sporadic photos of the process. My workspace went from spotless to covered in clay dust in no time. Then, my attempt to put the toothpaste into the empty conditioner container using a squeezable icing bag and tip ended with an explosion... and a camera covered in clay toothpaste. I managed to get it off, but that would have made for an interesting conversation. "Say, what is that on your camera?" "Oh, just some homemade clay toothpaste, of course."

Savings:

Earthpaste = $4.59 for 4 oz.
Homemade Variation = Approximately $2 for 5 oz. 
Note: These calculations were done using the prices and quantities at which I ordered my ingredients. I ordered everything through either Vitacost.com or Amazon.com. The actual cost to make the toothpaste may vary depending upon if you pay more for your ingredients or find them for similar/better prices than I did! 

Shop Online and Save $$$:

I've recently become a pretty savvy online shopper. Why? Because I can find the products I need (especially "strange" natural products) and save a lot of money over going to a brick and mortar store. I start here, at Ebates.com. I search for the store I want to shop online at, and access the store through the Ebates website. When I make a purchase from that store, the company I purchase from gives me a percentage of what I spent back. It's called "cash back" (haha) and Ebates will literally will mail you a check for what you earn. Uhm, awesome?! Vitacost.com is my newest love. If you use this link to sign up for an account,  you'll receive a $10 coupon that can be used towards your first purchase of $30 or more. Vitacost offers free shipping on any order over $49, so I try to place an order only when I need enough items that I can get the free shipping! Of all the online shops I've tried, Vitacost consistently has the lowest prices. PLUS, when I shop there through Ebates, I get 12% cash back for all my purchases. It's the wonderful world of online shopping :) (*To get your cash back through Ebates you HAVE to make sure you don't click out of the window of the store you're shopping at after you've linked to it through Ebates until you've completed your purchase, or it won't work!) 

p.s. If anyone wants to join either sites and get me some referral credits in the process, my email address is tierneycyanne@gmail.com for Ebates and ayerst@susqu.edu for Vitacost :D

Closing Notes: 

Earthpaste claims that their toothpaste is safe to eat. I personally spit mine out because I think swallowing what you brush off your teeth is nasty. However, I think Earthpaste or this homemade version would be GREAT for anyone with kids because you don't have to worry about them ingesting harmful levels of fluoride... or any of the other lovely ingredients in conventional toothpaste. I personally think it's kind of crazy that companies make toothpastes marketed towards children that are filled with ingredients NOT intended for ingestion in flavors like "Bubble Gum" and "Cotton Candy." Come on, what child is going to want to spit that deliciousness out? I'll get off my soap box. Happy brushing! 

3 comments:

Linda said...

I saw the recipe you referred to from Keeper of the Home and was going to try it, but maybe without the tea tree oil. I need to get some stevia and I might try to add a little coconut oil (supposed to be anti-bacterial, like tea tree). Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

Tierney Cyanne said...

You'll have to let me know what you think if you try it, Linda! My first batch was salty and I don't like the taste of tea tree oil, so I would add less of both. I don't think adding coconut oil would hurt in any way- it might make it even better! I'm seriously use coconut oil whenever I get the chance :)

Anonymous said...

cyanne!! i just switched to earthpaste and absolutely love it! well, i love the ingredients but still havent gotten used to the texture and no foaming yet.. im completely toxic free now that ive changed my toothpaste :) thanks for the tip on an electric toothbrush, ill have to try that instead!