organic toothpaste

I tried making my own toothpaste tonight. Here’s three good reasons why I did it.

1.      Sodium lauryl sulfate is in most commercial toothpastes, and we don’t play nice.

For years while growing up, I had nearly constant canker sores in my mouth. Sometimes they were sort of like background noise, where I didn’t notice them much. Frequently, however, they caused such pain that I minimized all talking and eating, resorting to soup and retreating into books.

The entire time, doctors told me I wasn’t getting enough B12. “Take supplements,” they said. “It should clear right up.”

It never cleared up.

One day, while doing research online, I came along a website that suggested that some people’s canker sores are caused by an allergy to sodium lauryl sulfate, the ingredient in most toothpastes that makes them foamy. I decided to give it a try and quit using my usual Colgate and Aquafresh, opting instead for a few of the Sensodyne lines (beware, many of the Sensodyne toothpastes do include SLS).

I stopped getting canker sores pretty much immediately. I was flabbergasted – not to mention REALLY REALLY ANGRY that my problem was so easy to fix all these years. And the sole purpose of this evil sodium lauryl sulfate is just to make things foamy?

It’s also toxic to aquatic life. It makes me wonder how many other unnecessary additives we put in all of the stuff we use on a daily basis.

2.    Sustainability.

I’ve recently started reading Lauren Singer’s Trash is for Tossers, a Brooklyn-based sustainability blog. Those who know me (or have had to listen to my tirades on waste) know that I’m a big believer in dumpster diving, vegetarianism/veganism, and lowering our footprint in general. While in Thailand, I started getting into more natural products, trying out all-natural keffir lime shampoos, coconut oil moisturizers, and charcoal soaps.

TIFT has some really straightforward recipes for creating your own beauty products and cleaning supplies, and I decided to try Lauren’s toothpaste recipe. I altered it by including equal parts baking soda and coconut oil, but that’s mostly because I’m currently in Santo Domingo, where coconut oil does not remain solid at room temperature. It took all of 1 minute, and actually tasted and felt great.

3.    It’s cheap.

Not a bad side effect, eh?

(Picture by Camil Tulcan)


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