Making decisions over home-made toothpaste!
My dentist has been fantastic! She researched recipes and commented on my one I have accumulated from several sites of research. However, she did admit that the one ingredient missing from her perspective was fluoride and understandably couldn’t say yay, or nay as to whether I could get away without it. She did point out that fluoride has always been controversial (if you want to read more on this have a read through some of the links at the bottom). She did say though that fluoride toothpastes have massively reduced the amount of tooth decay and hugely improved dental health. Yet, she did also say that the big thing to consider if I do go fluoride free is my diet. It would have to include not eating/drinking much sugar.
If I do have a go at a recipe it will be this one:
1 tablespoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
10-15 drops of peppermint oil
1 drop of clove oil
(Store in a glass jar)
Although some of these things have plastic lids (e.g. the peppermint oil. (and all have stickers – you can’t seem to avoid stickers) They will be bought with the idea that you can make lots of toothpaste, whereas each time we buy toothpaste it is another plastic tube.
I really am struggling with this decision. And it is not from a lack of support. Friends have been great in giving me recipes, ideas and reflections. My dentist has been nothing but helpful she sent me through a list of currently fluoride free toothpastes which suggests there is a significant number of people going fluoride free, which does intrigue me.
My dentist’s list of fluoride free toothpastes
Beverly Hill Formula Natural Whitening
Euthymol (which I loved as a kid!) – it is also low in plastic – metal on outside, but with a plastic cap (and I believe) plastic on the inside of the metal.
Kingfisher Fennel, FL free
Baking Soda, FL free
Aloe Vera FL free
Aloe dent triple action
Aloe dent Bambini
Oral B Rembrandt plus fresh mint
Toms of Maine
This is not an exhaustive list (and I, personally, have never used them all). However, interestingly, I have used some of them unknowingly. Which has made me wonder more about the value of fluoride. However, I still don’t know and actually am as of yet not making a decision. I never intended in avoiding plastic to end up thinking about fluoride! Also, I am trying to remember that I was allowing myself too use a plastic toothpaste and toothbrush in this challenge.
However, the more you start to avoid plastic the more you notice it…and I have started to think about it. Thankfully, I have already replaced my toothbrush! This was an easy switch, helped by my friend John, who gave me one as a present.
Toothbrushes are easy switches and there are several places you can buy similar plastic free toothbrushes (I have more links below). Over 4.7 Billion plastic toothbrushes are produced every year worldwide, non of which bio-degrade (Brush with Bamboo, n.d.). I have also ordered some from http://savesomegreen.co.uk/product/bamboo-toothbrush-2/ at £3 each which I can guarantee arrive in all plastic free packaging. I have bought a few, so am stocked up for around a year now!
So, I have managed to switch my toothbrush, without any pain or worrying. But toothpaste is more of a challenge…..
On reading there is a lot of pros to fluoride but also some cons (with some sights below seeming to link fluoride to reducing teeth’s ability to re-mineralise) which are worth thinking about. Currently, I am still leaning towards making my own toothpaste (as it is the easiest way of going plastic free with toothpaste). However, I am really really proud of my teeth. I didn’t start off with straight teeth but several years of orthodontic treatment means I know have fairly street teeth and have at 26 years of age only ever had one small white filling. I hate the thought of ending up with more because I didn’t include fluoride in my toothpaste.
I am aware fluoride is in our water, but it seems to be often at too low a level to prevent tooth decay (on its own) and seems to be slightly different (more natural, whereas the stuff in toothpaste is not naturally sourced). Fluoride is, also, in some food such as meat, fish, eggs and tea (Colgate, 2014) and I do eat fish, eggs and drink a lot of tea. I considered adding in fluoride drops (with the thinking being although usually in plastic, they would go over more lots of toothpaste produced) however they seem to only be of use for developing teeth (i.e. not adult’s).
So, I am still undecided. I will let you know what happens in the next few weeks. I need to go and source the products for the home-made toothpaste keep chatting to people. I asked a chemist at church today and his response was simply fluoride is important. Anyone with any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment as all comments are helpful 🙂 as I move forward with this plastic-free decision.
Further research for anyone interested in fluoride
https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/sundry/fluoride – Explores fluoride in our water and if fluoride in water is enough for teeth protection.
http://wellnessmama.com/1772/natural-toothpaste/ Explores flouride and has some toothpaste recipes on here if you want to try other.
http://www.bfsweb.org/documents/howfworks.htm – makes a very good case for the need for fluoride.
http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2011/05/12-natural-toothpaste-alternatives – Comments on some things in commercial toothpaste
http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/homemade-toothpaste-recipe Again comments on fluoride, has a four year old child (so maybe interesting to parents) and a recipe.
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Fluoride/Pages/Introduction.aspx – Again a good case for the need for fluoride.
http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/ American site but looks at flouride in water
Other Toothpaste recipes
Other places to find plastic free- toothbrushes
http://naturalspasupplies.co.uk/shop-2/toothbrush-stick-miswak-siwak-peelu-chewing-stick/ From £2 – also seems to replace the need for toothpaste too (if you are going fluoride free) – worth having a look as is so different.
http://zerowasteshop.uk/ – £3.79 but with options if people want a soft or medium brush – which I suspect maybe a worthwhile investment for those who give their teeth a good ‘scrub’
One plastic reducing toothbrush
Can’t stand the texture of wood in your mouth (this used to be me with lolly sticks, so I totally get this!) Then check this toothbrush out at £2.95 – Monte Bianco Adult Toothbrush
Brush with Bamboo (nd.) The Plant Based Bamboo Toothbrush. Accessed 10/1/16 from https://www.brushwithbamboo.com/
Colgate, reviewed by Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (2014) Flouride Treatments and Suppliments Accessed 10/1/16 from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/fluoride/article/flouride-treatments-and-supplements