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?