Dr. Oz’s DIY Baking Soda Toothpaste Faux Pas!

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Okay, so I was watching Dr. Oz today as it was mentioned to me he was doing a special on uses for baking soda. Expecting to give him a nod after seeing some repeats of some of my favourite tricks, I instead was horrified to see what his colleague demonstrated as a whitening toothpaste.

What Dr. Oz had concocted is absolutely NOT something I would EVER recommend brushing your teeth with. Baking soda on teeth? YES. Kudos for getting this far. BUT – and here is where my warnings about utilizing acids and bases properly when mixing household and body products come in – baking soda + pureed strawberries + lemon juice for your teeth? WHAT? NO!

Let me tell you why.

First of all, what is happening here is you are scrubbing your teeth with lemon juice, which is an acid, known for stripping the enamel from your teeth.. Insert annoying game show buzzer here. Hello, cavity time! And then, as is absolutely NOT recommended, you are applying an abrasive substance (baking soda) immediately upon weakening the enamel, further stripping your teeth. You should never brush your teeth with ANY toothpaste immediately after weakening the enamel. AND you are adding some sugar in the form of the strawberries, to sit on your teeth and rot. Will your teeth get whiter? Probably, baking soda does a great job at that. Will you get cavities? I’m gonna say yuuuuppp.

At the very best, the acid of the lemon juice is combining with the base of the baking soda, causing a chemical reaction and creating a completely inert substance with none of the cleansing and antibacterial qualities of baking soda (which is really the only ingredient of the three you should be applying to your teeth). I was completely baffled by this recipe being propogated by someone who should know better.

Do you know what I have for you instead of this DIY disaster? My own brilliant whitening toothpaste recipe, which utilizes baking soda (a natural whitener, cleanser and antibacterial agent) and coconut oil as the active cleansing and protective ingredients (coconut oil has been shown to have some amazing protective benefits for teeth). I already posted it a while back for you here, but I will make it easy on you and include it below as well:

NATURAL, FLUORIDE FREE, WHITENING TOOTHPASTE:

4 parts baking soda
2 parts extra virgin coconut oil
1 part vegetable glycerin*
A few drops (to taste – depending on quantity – unfortunately you may have to experiment) peppermint essential oil. I find about 3-4 drops per 1/4 cup of paste does the trick.

*Please make sure this is vegetable glycerin, and food grade if possible. Other forms of glycerin are largely made with petroleum. You don’t want that in your mouth any more than you want fluoride in there, IMHO.

Mix mix mix! It helps to add the coconut oil, peppermint and glycerin first, and then mix in the baking soda part by part. If it is too thick, add more glycerin or oil. Too runny? More baking soda! Mix until you get your desired consistency if the ratio doesn’t turn out right. I find it varies a bit based on quantity. The exact ratio doesn’t change the effectiveness very much (unless you are widely changing it).

If your coconut oil is too hard to mix as is, heat it a bit in a double boiler first – but don’t allow it to melt completely, or your toothpaste will separate too much after mixing.

Try your toothpaste out! I just scoop it directly out of a small mason jar with my toothbrush (wetted a bit). Use generously, and expect some drool ;). Seriously. It makes me drool a bit. Saltiness, maybe? Anyway. Moving on….

So please, don’t believe everything you see on TV.. This recipe of Dr. Oz’s may have had some devastating effects on your teeth. Do some research (and feel free to research my ingredients as well) before you try any personal care products!

Fluoride toothpaste: not for me!

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One of my favourite homemade recipes is my natural toothpaste. Most people freak out when I tell them I don’t use commercial toothpaste – “Won’t you get cavities?” I always respond with a smile. Although my next statement is purely anecdotal: my teeth have never looked or felt better since I started brushing “naturally.” In fact, when I go back to regular toothpaste, my mouth just doesn’t feel anywhere near as fresh! Why did I make the switch initially? One word: fluoride.

I don’t believe, from my research, that this harmful chemical is necessary in our water system, or our toothpaste. It has been shown to have many harmful effects, in clinical research – please see THIS article for a quick breakdown, with references. See also THIS article on the links between fluoride and cancer. There are natural alternatives that do not show the harmful effects of fluoride, and best of all, are CHEAP. These are: coconut oil, and baking soda.

Did you know that there is a longstanding tradition called “oil pulling”, where individuals rinse with oils in order to draw bacteria / toxins from the mouth, and that is has actually shown to have the same if not more protective qualities for teeth than fluoride? WITHOUT the negative health implications? Check out this article for a detailed explanation of oil pulling. Coconut oil in particular is the only oil that has been clinically demonstrated to reduce streptococcus bacteria in the mouth according to this study. Anyway, long story short – coconut oil can supposedly protect your mouth from harmful bacteria, which may have led to tooth decay.

Baking soda has been used for years either as a complete toothpaste or as an additive to one. Ask your grandmother! It has widely demonstrated antimicrobial, cleansing and whitening properties, and is mildly abrasive. It makes a wonderful active ingredient for toothpaste! In conjunction with the coconut oil, I make a natural toothpaste that has excellent protective and cleansing qualities – without the harmful effects of fluoride – for a fraction of the cost of a regular tube of toothpaste.

Now, my toothpaste tastes a bit odd – baking soda is quite salty, and if you hate coconut, you might not enjoy the flavour. But I have never particularly enjoyed the taste of conventional toothpaste either, have you?

My recipe is not limited to these two ingredients, but these contain the most “active” properties. Ready for it? And remember, all my recipes are listed in “parts”, so you can make whatever quantity you choose.

NATURAL TOOTHPASTE

4 parts baking soda
2 parts extra virgin coconut oil
1 part vegetable glycerin*
A few drops (to taste – depending on quantity – unfortunately you may have to experiment) peppermint essential oil. I find about 3-4 drops per 1/4 cup of paste does the trick.

*Please make sure this is vegetable glycerin, and food grade if possible. Other forms of glycerin are largely made with petroleum. You don’t want that in your mouth any more than you want fluoride in there, IMHO.

Mix mix mix! It helps to combine the oil and glycerin first, and then mix in the baking soda part by part. If it is too thick, add more glycerin or oil. Too runny? More baking soda! Mix until you get your desired consistency if the ratio doesn’t turn out right. I find it varies a bit based on quantity. The exact ratio doesn’t change the effectiveness very much (unless you are widely changing it).

If your coconut oil is too hard to mix as is, heat it a bit in a double boiler first – but don’t allow it to melt completely, or your toothpaste will separate too much after mixing.

Try your toothpaste out! I just scoop it directly out of a small mason jar with my toothbrush (wetted a bit). Use generously, and expect some drool ;). Seriously. It makes me drool a bit. Saltiness, maybe? Anyway. Moving on….

I have now transitioned my toddler to this toothpaste, and though he calls it “yucky”, he will tolerate it, and certainly does not swallow it like he was doing with the strawberry flavoured Tom’s toothpaste, which I was shocked to discover contained Xylitol, an artificial sweetener with demonstrated negative effects. You can always reduce the baking soda content and up the coconut oil content for a squeemish toddler, this will generally make it less “yucky” (which I attribute to the saltiness). Or for a squeemish you 😉

Hope this toothpaste leads you to wonderfully white teeth land like it has for me! Coffee is no match for this paste. Let’s just say the colour of my spat out paste after brushing with this toothpaste vs. conventional is much more revealing. And you will get used to the flavour, as my initially reluctant, but now converted husband has. Enjoy!