I have been using my homemade toothpaste and loving it, but a few months ago a friend of mine suggested finding an alternative to coconut oil. He didn't think it was necessarily bad, but wondered if there was something different I could use both because he wasn't convinced he wanted to brush his teeth with an oil and because of the cost of coconut oil.
After some searching I discovered this Sage Mint Toothpaste Recipe. The recipe called for arrowroot powder and orris root powder, two ingredients I had never heard of. After some more Internet searching I learned that arrowroot powder is a thickening agent, kind of like corn starch, and orris root is a fixative. Feeling that I didn't need both of these ingredients, I decided to only purchase arrowroot. I was also unhappy with the Sage Mint Toothpaste recipe, because while mint is great for your breath and sage is great for your gums, it didn't really have a cleaning agent. My previous recipe used baking soda, which is known both as a teeth whitener and cleaner.
With that information in mind, I created the following recipe. While I liked the coconut oil recipe and also used just baking soda, sage and mint, I think the arrowroot cuts the salty taste of the baking soda which makes this one my favorite so far.
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tbsp sage
1/4 cup water
Mix arrowroot, baking soda and sage. Then add peppermint oil drop by drop. I added 20 drops because I like my toothpaste strong, but I recommend starting with 10 and adding more until you find a balance you like.
If you have a large family or will be using the toothpaste frequently, mix in the water while stirring. The mixture will become a paste, which should be stored in an airtight container.
While the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of water, mix the water in slowly and stop when the toothpaste has reached a consistency that you like. If you put too much water, it will separate as it sits, but it can easily be stirred back together. [You can also omit the water and just leave the mixture in powder form and just dip your clean, wet toothbrush into it before brushing].
That's it! Just stick your clean toothpaste in whenever you need some or have a spoon or scoop next to the bottle that you can use to apply the toothpaste to your toothbrush.
If you're like me and live in a small family and don't need as much toothpaste, you can take 1/4 cup of the mixture you've just created and mix it with 1-2 tablespoons of water (depending on how thick you want the paste). Store the remaining 1/4 cup of powder in a container and mix with 2 tablespoon of water whenever you need more toothpaste.
If you're like my husband and you're not yet convinced about using homemade toothpaste, check back in a month. I have a dentist appointment at the end of April and will let you know what he has to say about my teeth and my new brushing regimen!
Update April 2012: The Dentist Visit
I just had my dentist appointment and it was the quickest, most painless visit ever!
Of course the hygienist did tell me I should floss more often, but that is because in an effort to really compare my home made toothpaste to the store-bought kind, I chose not to change anything else, which included my less-than-perfect flossing routine. Nonetheless, she actually told me my teeth and gums look great and the dentist said the same thing! My husband's still sticking to Tom's, but I love this toothpaste!