Sunday, October 14, 2012

October's The Stew Magazine article

So, in an effort to try new things that can both save my family money, and be beneficial to their health, I’m tackling toothpaste!

You might be saying to yourself, “How can that be important?” Well, without a healthy mouth, you have a harder time digesting your food, because your digestion starts by chewing the food with your teeth. There’s also the pesky problem of cavities, plaque, and gum disease that can make you either suffer greatly, or pay a dentist a small fortune.

So in looking through the internet, I found so many recipes I could use for toothpaste that I couldn’t even begin to try them all thoroughly. I have, however, attempted to try the most frugal methods I found.

The first method that was mentioned a lot was to just use baking soda. Wet your toothbrush, dip it into baking soda, and scrub. This method does help to keep your mouth in the alkaline balance that it needs to be to be healthy, and it most definitely gets your teeth clean. The only thing I worry about with using only baking soda is that it might be too abrasive on its own for everyday use, and I found that my mouth seemed to dry out while brushing.

A different method was to combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of table salt, 1 teaspoon of glycerin, then add water to get it to the paste-like consistency of your choice. This works as well as the baking soda on its own, but it’s not as dry. It also tastes salty (naturally), but I’m not that fond of salt, so I won’t use this very often. The glycerin adds a sweetness to the toothpaste, but it’s hard to say how much it might help your teeth. In my research about glycerin, some scientists believe it coats your teeth, and that this can prevent your teeth from remineralization (basically it prevents them from healing), but others believe that it is fine to use.

The final toothpaste recipe that I tried was made up of  2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, a half packet of stevia powder, and 20-30 drops of peppermint oil. Mix it together with a fork, and it has the look and feel of store-bought toothpaste! It also worked well at cleaning my teeth and making them feel smooth like the commercial stuff.  

The next batch I make, I’ll be changing the recipe a little. I will be using 2 tablespoons of Xylitol for the sweetener instead of the stevia. I will be also be using 10 drops of cinnamon oil, 5 drops of orange oil, and 3 drops of clove oil.

Why will I be making these changes? Clove oil has long been considered an herbal help for toothaches, but it has a VERY strong flavour, so the cinnamon is to help mask a bit of that flavour. The orange oil is to also help alleviate the strong flavours, but it is also a bit of an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties.

Coconut oil is thought to be able to combat tooth decay, which surprisingly was in a CBC news article in September ("Coconut oil can combat tooth decay, study suggests”). It also helps prevent yeast overgrowth known as Candidus Albcans, and encourages calcium absorption into the body.

The reason I will be using Xylitol as a sweetener in place of stevia is that it has been proven to help fight plaque and yeast growth. In fact, many sources have suggested that 6 grams a day is needed for the best dental health! As for storage, all you need is an airtight container. I use small, glass, baby food jars — they are the perfect size for the amount the recipes make.

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