Saturday, February 4, 2012

Natural Toothpaste

My daughter after she lost her first tooth!
There are some people that through heredity or good luck have always had great teeth.  I am not one of those people.  I have always had sensitive teeth, and every visit is dreaded with the thought of how many cavities I might have.

My first visit this year was even more dreaded.  After having a baby last spring, I experienced some post-partum depression (wait, can I say that on here?  As women, aren't we supposed to be perfect and hide THOSE sorts of things as not happening to ME?).  Well, truth is, I had some pretty severe post-partum depression.  So what do you do when you have 4 kids, your husband is out of the country for 5 weeks doing humanitarian aid, all the kids take turns having the stomach flu, one kid has strep throat and then a reaction to the antibiotics, your baby won't nurse, etc. etc.?  Let's just say it involves a lot of movies and caramel popcorn after the kids go to bed so you can decompress.  Yeah, last summer I was not at my best.  (Thank goodness for family and friends, or it would have been much worse!  A huge shout out to my mom for staying a week with us and taking us home with her for another 2 weeks and another one for my sis-in-law DeAnn for taking us in for a couple days as well.)
Combine a crazy summer with horrible teeth, lots of caramel popcorn, not much dental hygiene (at least I was showering on occasion, right?), and I was NOT looking forward to my dental visit this month.  Turns out I had to call and go in 3 weeks early because I had a tooth that was bothering me horribly.  Chewing on a piece of bread was excruciating.  Another sign that things were not looking good for me.
 
Oil of Oregano
Add to all this a switch to a natural toothpaste last year.  A friend of mine said she had a lot of teeth that had cavities developing and was going to need a lot of work done.  She started brushing her teeth with just a drop or two of Oil of Oregano, and when she went back 6 months later, the dentist was a bit surprised about how much better her teeth were looking. 

I am at times skeptical of natural types of remedies, probably because I did not grow up with any natural remedies or products, and have always grown up hearing about (and using) the standard pharmaceuticals for hygiene and health care.  My husband is even more skeptical than I am, wanting a scientific study published in a peer-reviewed journal before he will even consider entering into a discussion about how skeptical he is about it.  He is a nurse by trade, so I can't blame him for being a good one!

My friend had sent me home with a small batch of coconut oil mixed with oil of oregano to try out.  So here I was, trying out a natural toothpaste, where the stakes were high:  if this doesn't work, I am going to have to pay on a dentist bill for the next couple years.  The last 6+ months I have been worried about my "new toothpaste" and if it would work, or if I would be getting dentures prematurely.  Plus I would feel bad enough about it by myself, so my husband wouldn't even have to say "I told you so", since he is very accommodating of my weird natural remedies and is generous enough to let me try and fail at these sorts of things on my own.

I read some interesting things on my favorite homeschool site that I would like to research more.  One thing imparticular that I have learned is that our teeth can be re-mineralized to repair damage caused by cavities.  For this to happen, the teeth need to be clean, not covered in a film of toothpaste.  From some of the other research I have done, it seems that toothpaste has a lot of things that are not ideal. 

Here are the things I have tried and liked this year:
Coconut Oil combined with Oil of Oregano
Coconut oil is said to have anti-bacterial qualities.  Oil of Oregano is a little on the strong side for some (my husband doesn't think it has the same qualities as say peppermint flavor!), so I also added a little bit of Clove Oil to give it a little fresher aroma. When using coconut oil, I would sometimes wonder if it was doing anything, since it does not foam or suds like normal toothpaste. As a society we are used to feeling lots of suds to "prove" it is cleaning, but that is not the case all the time. Also, I try to start brushing before I get into the shower and keep swishing to get a little bit of the effects of oil pulling, but that doesn't happen very often - our house tends to be a busy place!

Tooth Soap - soap shredded into small bite size pieces
This one is Orange Cinnamon with Neem Bark & Xylitol
Sold by Rose of Sharon Acres
Toothsoap is more on the expensive side, but it does leave my teeth feeling squeaky clean (albeit with a small bit of soap taste before you rinse) - the orange cinnamon flavor is nice, and I think the xylitol helps a bit).

Here is another one I would like to try soon.  As I mentioned above, I read about this on one of my favorite homeschool sites.
 

Tooth Chips "Spritz" in peppermint
Sold by Rose of Sharon Acres
I warned my dental hygienist that it wasn't going to be pretty.  However, as she got to work, she said she could hardly find anything.  Turns out my severely aching tooth had a crack in the filling, and the cavity was really deep, so brushing wasn't getting to it anyways.  Report card:  Clean teeth, have the filling re-done.  Yeah!!!!!  Who would have thought???

Do you use something besides the usual toothpaste? What alternative hygiene products have you tried or would you recommend?

11 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Sorry about the earlier comment/removal...it had the wrong website.

    Here is the one I meant to link. http://www.xylitol.org/

    I enjoy your blog and will try to get something typed up like I told you I would do. I've started a couple of times and it always sounds silly.

    Look at black walnut tincture for your teeth, also. I've read some good things about it.

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  3. I really need to get some of this pronto! Glad you didn't have anymore cavities!

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  4. Paralee,
    Thanks for the link - that was some really cool info, especially about the length of time xylitol assists in dental health AFTER you QUIT taking it!
    No stress @ the post, I know what you mean @ the writing part, I have had a few posts that I look at and think 'well, that was not exactly how I meant that to come out', lol! I think I will be down in the next month or so, maybe we could work on it then if you would like!
    Blessings! :0)

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  5. Brittney Griffith KohlApril 5, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Hi Carla! Where can I get a recipe for this? I would like to know amounts :) And DeAnn said her xylitol is like granules not powder..what kind do you reccommend?

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    1. Yeah...where did you get your xylitol??? I really need to get some for my toothpaste! :)

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    2. I picked up a bag of xylitol from Vitamin Cottage (which I believe you can order online from them as well). From what I understand It is a sugar alcohol. It looks just like sugar (granule form) but it doesn't dissolve like regular sugar does in water. You can also order it from lovetolearn.net in the healthy sweeteners section of their be prepared catalog.

      DeAnn wanted to try it too, so we made some last time I was out at her place. We will be posting recipes, etc. for it, as well as a giveaway when it isn't quite so hot to mail it - nothing says clean teeth better than melted coconut oil toothpaste in the mail box! Let me just say go easy on the baking soda - it has a good kick / aftertaste. Since the xylitol doesn't exactly dissolve, make sure your coconut oil is soft but not melted or you will have a layer of sugar on the bottom, and flavored coconut oil on the top :0)

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  6. Ooh, I make our own toothpaste, too! I use baking soda, peppermint essential oil and birch essential oil. It's wonderfully minty!

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  7. Natalie,

    Hello again! Glad you have enjoyed the blog thus far! So I am curious, are those the only ingredients you put in it? Do you prepare a batch or a single use prior to each brushing? Also, how is it in the "fresh breath" department? My toothpaste so far is exceptional at preventing cavities, but not my husband's favorite as a breath freshener, lol! Would love to hear more about your experiences!

    Carla

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  8. Hi Carla!

    Those WERE the only ingredients I used, but after reading this I ended up putting some coconut oil into it to make it into a paste instead of just a powder that I dipped my wet toothbrush into. It works SO much better!!! I absolutely love it! The batch I make lasts about two weeks. I would make a bigger batch, but I don't know how long it stays good for. I don't know what kind of cavity prevention it has, but it is definitely minty fresh! It is pretty good at masking the baking soda taste, too. I love how clean the baking soda gets my teeth, it has been pretty awesome!

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  9. Natalie,
    Glad it worked out so well! Since the coconut oil is antibacterial, it should help. From my own experience, this stuff was crazy good on the anti-cavity qualities, but not so minty. Oil of Oregano isn't exactly bursting with fresh breath flavor. I will have to try adding some birch or increasing the peppermint and see if it improves!
    Thanks for your comments and input!
    Carla :0)

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