If you've never read the list of ingredients on the side of your tube of toothpaste, you should take a look right now. Go ahead. Do it.
Propylene glycol, Glycerin, Saccharin, Carrageenan, Humectant, Triclosan, Aspartame*...
The list goes on. If you're a normal person like me, you don't have a clue what most of these are, let alone how to pronounce them. Do you really want to brush all those mysterious chemicals all over your pearly whites two or three times a day?* Yeah, me neither. Eventually I got so sick of exposing my body to all this garbage that I decided to try my hand at making my own natural toothpaste - chemical and toxin free.
* Fun fact: due to some chemical process I don't understand, aspartame, a common sweetener in toothpaste, creates methanol which can be broken down into a harmless acid by every existing mammal's body, except that of humans, meaning it just sits inside our bodies, slowly accumulating. Enough methanol buildup can lead to an impressive list of side effects including numbness, memory lapses, vertigo, heart palpitations, fibromyalgia, seizures, rashes, hearing loss, muscle spasms, birth defects, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, and brain tumors.
** or less for those of you out there who don't listen to their dentist (a.k.a. everyone on the face of the planet)
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Step 1: Choosing Ingredients
The main thing I had to figure out was what to put in my toothpaste. I spent a few hours researching ingredients online before settling on four basic ones:
A mild abrasive that helps clean and remove stains from your teeth. It also helps your body balance its pH levels.
Extra virgin coconut oil
Coconut oil has natural antibacterial properties that help fight candida, tooth decay, and other microscopic nasties.
A natural sweetener that doesn't cause tooth decay like normal sugar.
Kills bacteria that cause gum disease and gives the minty flavor we're used to in toothpaste.
Step 2: Dump Ingredients Into a Jar
In a small glass jar, I measured out:
1/4 cup baking soda
1/8 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1 pinch stevia
20 drops peppermint oil
The glass jar keeps the toothpaste from picking up any odors from the bathroom.* Depending on where you live and what the air temperature is like, you may need to heat the coconut oil to soften it before measuring it out.
* or wherever you normally brush your teeth. I once met a man who brushed his teeth in the garage. He also had a cat named Larry who could sing. But that's another story for another time.
Step 3: Mix It Up
I used a butter knife to stir all the ingredients together, using the flat side to mash it up against the jar's walls until it began to form a thick paste. I kept mixing until it was all nice and smooth.
Step 4: Trying It Out
Finally it came down to trying it out. I dipped my toothbrush into the jar and went for it. I'm really not sure what I was expecting, but the taste that filled my mouth was so weird and unexpected that I almost gagged for a second. (I know, kinda gross.) The sickening smooth sweetness of the coconut oil mixed with the bitter grittiness of the baking soda was such a weird consistency that I had trouble keeping it in my mouth. The peppermint flavor and the subtle sweetness of the stevia just made it all the wierder.
But I stuck with it and I noticed that, as I kept brushing . . . lo and behold . . . it didn't get any better. So much for that. While it wasn't a real pleasant experience, I do have to admit that once I was done, my teeth felt exceptionally clean and I was relieved of the massive guilt of treating my body to all the junk in commercial toothpaste. So, while I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, I think the benefits definitely outweigh the strangeness, and I'm definitely gonna try it out for a while with the hope that maybe my tastebuds will adapt to the taste and texture of it. Who knows? Maybe I'll even learn to enjoy it. Maybe.
Thanks for taking the time to read my Instructable! If you liked it (either the article or the toothpaste), go ahead and show some love by voting for me in the Beauty Tips contest over on the "Contests" page or leave a comment down below with your ideas for how to improve my recipe. If you were crazy enough to actually try out this toothpaste for yourself, show me a picture of you using it in the "I Made It Section" - I'd love to see it. :)
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