Baby Steps: Replacing your Toothpaste

toothpaste

This week's baby step is:

Consider what you are currently using for toothpaste and seek to replace it with a better alternative.

There are so many different beauty and toiletry items that we could focus on replacing, but a la "Baby Steps", we will choose just this one for now. Personally, I made my switches over to more natural products one item at a time, and toothpaste was among the first items to go. By doing it gradually, I was able to prevent it from being a sudden burden on my budget, and it allowed me to look around for deals more thoroughly. With each new product I replaced, I felt so encouraged as I used it every day, realizing what a positive step I had taken.

Why this step is important:

Conventional toothpastes are generally made of unnecessary (and harmful) ingredients such as dyes (ie. FD&C Blue #1, which is linked to cancer), preservatives (such as sodium benzoate), cleansing agents that cause irritation (sodium lauryl sulfate, which may also have reproductive toxicity) and fluoride, which is not the healthful addition we have been told that it is (and in fact, it can pose significant risks to our health) Even though we use small amounts and attempt to spit the toothpaste out, much of it is ingested, especially when you consider that you brush 1-3 times a day, every single day. Although I won't get into some of the bigger issues (such as fluoride), I will leave you with some reading material at the end.

How to get started with it:

There are many naturally made toothpastes out on the market,and I will leave you some links to check out a few of them. Since I well know that these higher-quality toiletry products can be significantly more pricey, I will also leave a link for making your own toothpaste, something I just tried for the very first time tonight! (I'll let you know in a while how I like it).

My suggestion is to look through the different brands, and then see what is available at your store when you go shopping in the next week. If you find that the prices are unreasonably high in the stores, it may be worthwhile to consider purchasing some from an online supplier, and I will leave suggestions for that below.

If money is really, really tight for you, you may want to consider what I have been doing. Since I find the brands I truly like too expensive, I have been purchasing a brand that I am mostly happy with (it has one ingredient I don't want- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but is otherwise good) from Azure whenever it goes on sale. It's called Nature's Gate and it's still expensive ($3.40 regular, $2.90 on sale), but it's definitely cheaper than some of the others available to me (which are more like $4-5). However, if I don't like the homemade stuff, I'm about to start buying a better one from Vita-Cost instead (probably Tom's of Maine) and just stock up on it.

Reading resources:

Fluoride: Worse Than We Thought

Taking Care of your Teeth Without Chemicals

What Your Dentist isn't Telling you About Fluroide

Is your toothpaste really "natural"?

Other resources:

Tammy's Recipes- her recipe for homemade toothpaste

Vita-Cost- Link to a search for "toothpaste" (Tom's of Maine is a great one, and that's quite a good price on it. The Weleda Children's Gel was good too- my daughter really liked it)

Article from Green Guide- lots of good suggestions on toothpaste brands, although it doesn't mention Tom's of Maine

Azure Standard- link to a search for "toothpaste"

So, how did last week go? Any more success stories? Is anyone already making their own toothpaste, and if so, how do you like it?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. I really like your article, I always read this. I viewed your site quite so many times. Replacing toothpaste is not bad as long as we replace it for a much better one.

    -heather-

  2. Interesting views. Will certainly try doing that myself.

    -heather-

  3. We love Trader Joe’s toothpaste. It is cheap- I believe $1.99/tube, and all natural.

  4. Hey Steph, curious to hear your thoughts on children using fluoride toothpaste. I have read, I believe in the Maker’s Diet, that it is important for children to use a little fluoride for proper teeth development, but that adults should not use it. Any thoughts?

  5. We recently switched to the peppermint Peelu toothpaste from Azure. The taste does take some getting used to! :) It’s certainly not a sweet flavor.

    I had a childhood friend whose mom had a little container of baking soda for the kids to brush their teeth with. (But the kids just knew it as “Magic Tooth Powder.”) :) They just sprinkled that on their toothbrushes. She said it would whiten their teeth. I still wonder how effective it was as a toothpaste…

    Thank you for this post!

  6. This will be a tough one for me – I am always at war between saving money and using better products! Right now I have easily a year’s worth
    of free toothpaste from CVS deals – I donate a lot and still have all we need! However, I do want to do what is healthier for my family, so I think I’ll
    give this one a try! Next time I’m at Whole Foods, I’ll pick up one of the suggested toothpastes and give it a try!

    On a side note, I tried the cinammon scones last week and they were wonderful! I used oat bran flour as that’s what I had on hand and it was very yummy!

  7. We’ve been using Kiss My Face organic toothpaste for about 6 months now. I love the taste of it, and if I happen to use Crest that my husband still uses on occasion it tastes horrible to me.
    Thanks for the info!

  8. I made Tammy’s recipe for toothpaste and LOVE it. I live in TExas, and it does somewhat melt, but if you put enough baking soda in there and make it more like the texture of mashed potatoes, it works fine. I also made her recipe for deodorant, and let me tell you that stuff works, even in our 90+ degree Texas weather!

  9. This is timely for me. We just went to the dentist and my daughter has four more cavities in less than a year after 6 last year. The dentist wants her on flouride pills….I am not comfortable with that but need some info to prove why. My struggle is having a child who eats well but still continues to have many cavities. My son is going down the same rode. I had these same problems as a child….though I did not eat well as a child. I thought that was the reason but am wondering how much of these problems can be genetic and related to the hardness and composition of an individuals teeth. I am not thrilled to tell my dentist we won’t do the pills….we go in a month to have the cavities filled after fighting to get our insurance to cover composite fillings as opposed to mercury. The dental association recommneds not putting mercury in children or pregnant women and they still do it….arg!
    We do use flouride toothpast and a rinse in light of our cavity problems….that is plenty enough for me…..giving her pills would make me feel like I am risking her health.

    • @Mrs. M,
      I too have had lots of cavities in my past and I was informed by my dentist that it has more to do with the pH levels in your mouth (some people’s are more acidic than others allowing plaque to be stickier). They said to use baking soda to brush with a couple times of week because it balances the pH level. So, it sounds like this might be a perfect switch for your family!

  10. Just to add…..I am sure you know this being the well of info that you are :o)
    The water where we live is not flouridated…which makes me easier at using flouride toothpaste.
    Anyway great info!

  11. Ok I tried the homemade toothpaste a couple of weeks ago and I just could not do it. It was awful and I didn’t even ask my husband to try it. I hope it works out better for you. Please let us know. Oh and please give us an update on the no-pooing. I tried it as well and I just couldn’t do it. I so wanted both of these to work.

  12. I’m really looking forward to trying home-made toothpaste! Thanks for linking to that recipe. The only thing I’m concerned about is that this time of year all of my coconut oil is completely melted all the time (I live in Texas). But maybe I can figure something out. I’ve been avoiding fluoride and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates in my toothpaste for about a year. I wrote a series of 3 posts about the potential problems with fluoride on my blog fairly recently.

  13. Oh yes, also wanted to say that in regards to the cavities issue, I wrote a post about it a while back, as I’m just beginning to study the effects of nutrition on cavities, though I haven’t done so nearly enough yet. Here’s the post:
    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2008/02/cavities-and-nu.html