From the Pantry to the Bathroom: Toothpaste Edition

First of all: WOW! 35 comments on my recent post asking for book ideas. They’re all so inspiring; now I want to write a dozen more books! Oh, and speaking of books, if you live in Canada, YOU CAN BUY SLEEPING NAKED IS GREEN AS OF TODAY (it comes out in the U.S. in mid-June, so my beloved American readers will have to hold tight)! The boy in my life — who might just be wearing a T-shirt that says “I’m the epilogue” at the launch — is reading the book as we speak and chuckling away, so all of my fellow eco-nerds north of the 49th parallel: Make your way to the nearest independent bookstore and get a copy. I promise it won’t suck.

Anyway, back to the contest: my editor is still deliberating on a winner, but I just wanted to thank all of you for your contributions. Although I’m not sure who he’ll pick, I must say, I really dig this whole what-your-granny-knows-and-isn’t-telling-you topic.

But moving on — it’s time for another installment of From the Pantry to the Bathroom, where I talk about how to use natural foods for both cosmetic and hygienic purposes. We’ve already covered the wonders of coconut oil as deodorant, apple cider vinegar as toner and a combo of baking soda, vinegar, cinnamon and vanilla in place of shampoo (which I’m sorry to say I’m not keeping up — my head got itchy, my hair got greasy and I didn’t have the patience for it).

My friend Meghan is about to host a workshop on making your own cosmetics, and to promote it, she’s posted this video explaining how she makes toothpaste using baking soda, vegetable glycerin and peppermint oil. Because I’m too lazy to do this myself (and because I don’t have a trampoline to bounce on while brushing) I’ll just embed the video here:

If you’re looking for other homemade recipes, I believe Beth over at Fake Plastic Fish has one that calls for baking soda, wintergreen oil and stevia powder (although she’s since gone back to the tube variety on account of her gums hurting). But if you’ve got one already that you love, feel free to share the ingredients below; and let me know if you’ve had good or bad experiences making and using your own paste. Now that you can recycle Tom’s of Maine tubes (they also sell SLS-free baking soda toothpaste with Thistle-approved ingredients), I’m kind of tempted to just keep using that, but then again, it’s always fun to transform the bathroom into a little eco-laboratory.

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11 Responses to From the Pantry to the Bathroom: Toothpaste Edition

  1. I’ll bring a tube over for you. :)

  2. Rhett says:

    I’m curious how one gets one’s fluoride this way, though.

  3. mark e says:

    Nice! I tried just using straight baking soda but didn’t care for the taste or the powdery quality. Will have to try adding vegetable glycerin and peppermint! Looks much more presentable.

  4. Emma says:

    Is there a reason to be constructing my own toothpaste? What’s in Crest Extra Whitening that’s so bad? If it’s the bleach then I’m way ahead of you. I gargle with whitening scope and often swallow some by mistake. Tastes gross. That stuff foams too in your mouth so you look like you have rabies… anyway where was I….

    ah yes cosmetics.. I’m willing to give local concealer a try but if you expect me to swap it for oatmeal or whatever, that’s a no-go. sowee ;)

  5. Lara S. says:

    Here’s an idea I got the other day: you could try using the soap nuts to wash your hair! Just pour some boiling water into them, let them sit overnight, strain, put in a bottle and wash your hair! (You could also put some kind of scent if you want to). It should work, right? Let us know if it works! I’d try it myself but I have no soap nuts and probably never will unless I get them shipped to Argentina…

  6. Heather says:

    The issue with toothpaste, as I see it, goes beyond its impact on your mouth. How many mostly-empty tubes does the planet need? In the scheme of things, is it the worst pollutant? Probably not. It is just another possibility to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

    I just saw a great video on the TED site of Chris Jordan visually representing the massive over-consumption of daily throw-away items (think plastic cups on airlines). Watch the first few minutes of the video and avoiding toothpaste tubes might make more sense!

  7. natalie says:

    Personally, I’m a new convert to tooth soap! I buy it from etsy: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21903115

  8. Emma says:

    Have checked out if tooth-soap actually exists…your link is valid..
    But really, how many toothpaste-related deaths have there been? Sure there’s toxic in them. But it’s there for good reason. To prevent gingivitis, plaque, cavities, and gum disease. Plus bleach to whiten :) I can’t just brush with olive oil and lemon or whatever. They did that in pioneer time and all their teeth had to be pulled out. I prefer to keep my pearly whites, but to each their own.

  9. nyscof says:

    Fluoride is neither a nutrient nor required for healthy teeth. The back of the tube says to call poison control if swallowed by accident.

    Fluoride is a drug that many people would prefer not to ingest because some of it invariably gets absorbed or swallowed into the system and can have adverse health effects to some people

    See: http://www.FluorideAction.Net/health

  10. MJ says:

    The problem with toothpaste is that it contains sacchrin which is a carcinogen and that’s why is no longer sold as a sugar substitute. Somehow, it is still allowed in toothpaste since we aren’t supposed to be swallowing it.
    Look at the ingredients of “regular” toothpastes. It’s is all of them! That’s the sickly sweet taste.

  11. The Plumber says:

    Great article, loved the approach

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