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paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I've been using the "Tom's of Maine" products for a few years now.  And while my teeth cleaning habits have not changed, I have noticed that my gums are bleeding a little more with each passing year.  It could just be that I'm getting older. 

But!  A friend mentioned something about how toothpaste is terrible stuff and how switching to a mixture of oil and mint fixed her problems with bleeding gums. 

So now I'm thinking ....  I took a look at the Tom's toothpaste package ...  "sodium lauryl sulfate" - hey - isn't that supposed to be nasty stuff?

Has anyone here done much research down this line?

 
Marilyn Queiroz
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Last time I went to the dentist, I was complaining how the toothpaste made my coffee taste bad and was told that toothpaste doesn't do much except freshen your breath. The brushing (and particularly flossing) is much more important than the toothpaste. Over the years I've used baking soda and salt as well as various toothpastes. Currently when I wake up I'm brushing with only water on the brush. In the evening I use the toothpaste.
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Here's a homemade toothpaste recipe I read in a vegan cookbook called "How It All Vegan":

-------

CINNAMON TOOTHPASTE

1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 drop tea tree oil(OPTIONAL!!!)

In a cup or small bowl, mix together the soda,cinnamon and tea oil.Place wet toothbrush in cup the brush.

-------

Also I believe that "Jason" brand toothpastes don't include sodium lauryl sulfate, but you'd have to look at the package to be sure.

Up on the farm I believe Doug just uses water or straight up baking soda (old skool!).
 
          
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Location: la grande, or
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there is something called 'oil swishing' that is supposedly very good for teeth, gums, and is reputed to be a miricle cure for what ails you.  i have/do use it as part of my nomal personal hygene routinte, what you do is get some sesame oil, the non refined type, and swish it in your mouth for a while (20 minutes or so) and then spit it out, then rinse with salt water, then brush with soda or toothpaste, and floss.  i did this on a regular basis for a couple weeks, daily, then once a week, and when i went to the dentist after not going for about a year, they were quite impressed with how clean my teeth were.  oil swishing, it's called.  it cleans the teeth and flushes the salivary glands.  they say that the oil that comes out of your mouth when you do this is toxic, so make sure it's disposed of prpperly. 
 
MJ Solaro
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Yeah, stay away from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. That is not a wonderful compound.

It's created by mixing Sodium, monododecyl ester, and Sulfuric Acid together. Yikes! When it's sitting around in a pure state, the fumes it emits are toxic to humans.

Basically what it does in shampoos and toothpastes is help out with foaming. Foaming is totally over-rated though. These days I try to avoid personal care products that foam.

Factually, it is *not* carcinogenic, despite what the e-mails that you get in your inbox say. American Cancer Society has repeatedly stated that is an urban legend.

However, it is a known skin irritant. Labs actually use sodium lauryl sulfate in higher concentrations to *create* patches of skin irritation on animals so that they can "cure" them with their product du jour.

Also, some medical studies have shown sodium lauryl sulfate in high concentrations causing mutagenic effects, like cataracts in older people, and halting eye development in younger folks.

If you want to avoid SLS in toothpaste, all you need to do is buy the "sensitive teeth" version of toothpastes. These all omit SLS, assuming that SLS is one of the ingredients irritating gums and canker sores.

Toms of Maine actually makes a couple of SLS-free toothpastes. This is what I use:
http://www.tomsofmaine.com/toms/product.asp?dept_id=400&pf_id=TP-Sens
 
Steve Nicolini
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I've read that natives in the PNW used the resin of white birch as a teeth cleaning gum.  It contains zylitol, a disinfectant found in many toothpastes nowadays.  It is also used widely in Finland as a natural teeth cleaner.

It might be good to have some white birch on your property for dental hygeine.  But that's not all... the resin reportedly has some terpenes in it, which may give you a buzz.

Stack those functions: get wasted and brush your teeth all at the same time!

Make your own syrup too.
 
Haru Yasumi
Posts: 102
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I haven't done much research into this topic myself but my friend told me glycerin is a common ingredient in most tooth pastes - even the organic/natural types of stuff, and that it isn't good because it coats teeth and prevents re-enamelization.

Anyhow I have been using this tooth powder for the past few months and it has been great in my opinion.  It seems very potent - nicotine stains come off of my teeth a lot easier than with the stuff from the tube I used to use.  It also doesn't take very much of the powder to brush with and honestly I probably use more than I need to per brush.  There are several recipes - I bought the one for sensitive teeth because it had more interesting looking ingredients, though I think I would like to try the other recipes as well.
http://www.uncleharrys.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=UHNP&Product_Code=10054&Category_Code=MP-T
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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For years I just used baking soda, but now I'm using Burt's Bees. My dentist tried to give me Oravive with NovaMin, which has been proven to remineralize teeth. But Oravive had sodium lauryl sulfate, so I poked around online and found out that the active ingredient in NovaMin is calcium sodium phosphosilicate. Burt's Bees has it, and as far as I can tell, doesn't have anything bad. Here's the page for Burt's Bees multicare without fluoride. Also, the Burt's Bees "multicare" and "whitening" formulas seem to be identical.
 
                          
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Location: Bozeman, MT
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I use a mixture of baking soda, salt and calcium carbonate (dolomite). Occasionally I will wet my toothbrush with peroxide before brushing with the powder mixture. One of my books on herbs and nutrition mentioned that teeth, like porcelain, are porous, which is part of the reason why they stain from tea, coffee, chocolate, etc. It recommended the powder mixture which I am using and it does whiten, partly because the calcium carbonate helps to fill the pores. The peroxide helps to lift the particles causing the stains out. I also have Uncle Harry's tooth powder, which I will use at night, sometimes, because it has the thyme oil, which helps fight bacteria.
 
wesleyds Smith
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Location: Northwest Lower Michigan
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My son gets terrible cancer sores and his dentist says to use nothing but "Listerine" He just dips his brush in it and brushes his teeth then rinses with the "Listerine".  Dr says that baking soda is too abrasive and shouldn't be used. 
 
                          
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I use home made charcoal with salt. The charcoal is ground up into a fine powder (sifted with some fine wire mesh) and add a fair amount of salt.
Charcoal is abrasive and serves to help clean off the bacteria and food particles as well as being absorbent. Salt is an anti-bacteria agent.

Combining that with some appropriate herbal mouthwashes or additives would be my ideal, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/natural-herbal-mouthwashs.html
 
Warren David
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wesleyds wrote:
My son gets terrible canker sores
I often had a sore mouth until I stopped eating wheat products.
 
                      
Posts: 32
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Tom's also has fluoride in it.  The form that toothpaste uses is really bad for you.  I make my own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda and mint essential oils. 
 
            
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Has anyone tried using Spilanthes acmella, otherwise known as Toothache Plant?  Here is the description from http://www.tradewindsfruitstore.com/servlet/the-288/Spilanthes-acmella--dsh--Toothache/Detail


Pretty, flowering perennial native to India, often grown as an annual. The plant is chewed for its mild anesthetic properties, and as an anti-bacterial. Grows to 1-2ft, will grow in most climates as an annual.
 
Irene Kightley
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I use it as a mouthwash but I've never thought of making toothpaste with it as an ingredient - thanks !

When you nip out the plant to make it bushier, the clippings root easily in water. This is the root system after just ten days.

 
Rebecca Dane
Posts: 211
Location: Missoula Montana
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Baking soda is an easy inexpensive way to clean your teeth. 

I have been searching for years for a toothpaste without sodium lyarell sulfates.  Once I found a brand in Florida at an organic food co-op.  Cannot remember the brand of it.  I should have stocked up.

Then I found another brand, from India, flavored with anise, I think at a health food store in Colorado.  That didn't work out well as it was hardened and I couldn't squeeze it out of the tube.

A friend of mine recently told me about rinsing the mouth with coconut oil as an alternative to teeth brushing. 

I like the idea of making your own with coconut oil, baking soda and mint essential oils.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Wooden stick prepared correctly is great for brushing. And toothpaste is included as juice of the wood. It's know as miswak - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miswak Lots of woods can be used, i really like peach, as it has really strong and nice toothpaste included.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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travis laduke
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what other woods!?
 
Eli Boyd
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Location: Taos, NM
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I've read that strawberries can be mixed with baking soda and used to whiten teeth:

http://www.dumblittleman.com/2007/01/diy-whiten-your-teeth-with-strawberries.html

 
Aljaz Plankl
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travis laduke wrote:
what other woods!?

Hey. My crazy friend made a video about how to make it, there is also link to an article in the description. It will answer all your questions.
 
Kellic kelwen
Posts: 27
Location: Northwestern Ohio, US
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Well, I've heard that good old salt is enough to clean off the teeth. I would use sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt as they are the real salt types.
 
                    
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I also use homemade charcoal - from hardwoods.  I have made a toothbrush from Althea (Rose of Sharon) twigs - they work nicely.

 
                            
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Toms didn't use to have SLS in it....

Biotene is a terrific product which doesn't contain SLS.

Will start a new topic on canker sores.
 
T. Joy
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Salts and baking soda are indeed too harsh for regular use, very abrasive which is good for occasional stain removal but not every day use.
Most tooth paste, even the "natural" ones, contain glycerin which does coat the teeth preventing natural remineralization (from mineral rich saliva, from a mineral rich diet  :wink.
The best thing to brush your teeth with is soap. There are products on the market called tooth soap etc but they are basically just Dr Bronner's style liquid castile marketed at an insanely inflated price ($20 for 2 oz instead of $20 for 32oz). So you can brush your teeth with the same stuff you use in the bath and wash the counters and floor with. That Dr Bronner's stuff is amazing. It does have a small amount of naturally occuring glycerin in it but no more has been added so it's pretty good.

Neem oil is fantastic for oral health and so is iodine like lugol's etc. Just a couple drops of either on a wet toothbrush with or without soap. And remember to floss daily and rinse with water directly after eating anything at all.
 
                      
Posts: 14
Location: Tejas
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I don't know   Sounds like someone was swearin'  and got their mouth rinsed out as
a child one too many times.  Are these good memories for you CLM? 

Isn't the bacterial ecosystem in the mouth a sensitively balanced
thing?  Do we really think that essential oil or tea tree oil or soap is
needed?  I agree with some that the most important thing we can do is brush and floss GENTLY.

If your gums are bleeding perhaps you are brushing too hard or perhaps
your liver is on the fritz.  This sensitive climate of "wet/dry" in the mouth
is doing it's hardest to do it's job right.  Help it out by omitting sugar, ciggs,
caffeine and over eating and then see if your gums are still bleeding.  If yes
find a nourishing tonic(like burdock) to drink everyday to help strengthen your
liver. 

 

 
                                      
Posts: 32
Location: East Grand Forks, Minnesota
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I know for sure my liver is working prime according to the results from the doc a few months back.

These recipes are inspiring. I am going to drop my flouride toothpaste like the toxic thing it is. Ramen noodles gotta go too.

I've had my mouth washed out before once or twice but cussing has stuck with me a little here and there. Tryin to quit, such a nasty habit.

Time to try out my Spilanthes plants in their area of great worth! I wonder how strawberries would mix with that and Baking Soda.

Maybe I should make a few concoctions and get a good thing going 
 
T. Joy
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Never had my mouth washed out LOL hippy parents didn't believe in much discipline.
If you're going to use something at least try the soap and see how you like it. You can add some peppermint essential oil drops to flavour it. Stevia too if you're a wuss. I'm ordering some neem oil myself, gonna see what I can concoct for the kids and I. Plain old water is surely just fine but there's something to be said for fresh breath too  .
 
                      
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Location: Tejas
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Glad to hear your liver is aok----

Hippy Parents LoL!  It was the absolute 180 0pposite for me. 

Alright-  in the name of keeping an open mind
I will try the minty Dr. B's on the teeth - at some point. 


I also have been wanting to try bee pollen and myrrh. 
 
                                      
Posts: 32
Location: East Grand Forks, Minnesota
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Same here on the 180 My parents are a bit more close minded than I would like but still hip enough to have interesting conversations with.

Never seen myrrh before but I do have a big bag of unused beepollen that would be great to incorporate into toothpaste!

I also have organic cold pressed neem oil that I might give a try in my mouth today. I do get irritated skin by it though. Last summer I thought I had scabies or some kind of skin disorder but it turns out the neem oil was the culprit!

I assume its different for everyone but I am sensitive to it.
 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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I use white calcium carbonate powder (found in antacid)  instead of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Baking soda has a lot of sodium and calcium seems better to use on teeth.

Crush generic Tums and use the powder to whiten teeth and freshen breath. Occasionally spritz a little hydrogen peroxide on the calcium carbonate powder (after putting the powder on teeth) for extra whitening hold in mouth for a couple minutes and rinse.

Baking soda and antacid powder are abrasive so that helps remove stains from teeth. As others have said, might not be a good idea to scrub teeth every day with abrasives. Then again you don't have to scrub heavy every time, just brush the powder on teeth and let it work, then rinse. The antacid usually has a mint flavor that leaves breath fresh. Toothpaste leaves my mouth feeling abused - I hate the after toothpaste taste in my mouth.
 
              
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I use baking soda myself. When I switched from toothpaste to baking soda, it cured my problem with bleeding gums.

Comparing two natural abrasives, baking soda is 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, calcium carbonate (Tums) is 3 on the scale -- so somebody needing to reduce abrasion of tooth enamel might do better with baking soda than with calcium carbonate. Baking soda can be dissolved in a little water to reduce its abrasiveness (a step recommended by Dr. Hulda Clark), whereas calcium carbonate doesn't dissolve easily and may (?) retain its abrasiveness even when wet.

I notice that silica, a common ingredient in toothpastes, is 7 on the Mohs hardness scale! Yipes! When we used toothpaste, were we sanding our teeth?

 
T. Joy
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Don't use peroxide in a mouth that has metal fillings FYI. You could brush it onto the fronts of your teeth with a qtip maybe but don't go rinsing with it.
 
                              
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check out :  curetoothdecay.com and sign up for his email free lessons. He reccommends his favorite tooth paste. In the meantime, you can use bar soap--rinse well.
 
Jack Shawburn
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Listerine is a good weedkiller.
also can upset digestion by killing off intestinal "flora"
 
William Lewis
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Location: Willamette Valley
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Great suggestions on tooth-brushing compounds! I'm going to see what I have around here and make up something.

The peroxide and lysterine mentioned would be good for soaking your toothbrush, which otherwise quickly becomes a vector for re-introducing bacteria into your mouth every day. I use a half-tab of denture cleaner, which I also use daily to clean my night guard. Bleeding can also be caused by gums irritated by plaque build-up. Plus of course the use of aspirin or related such as naproxin.
 
Melba Corbett
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Location: North Carolina
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The salt and baking soda is a little abrasive, so don't brush too hard with it.  Brush lightly and floss and rinse and that might work best.  It does for me.  Also, if the gums are bleeding, one of the natural remedies for that is to simmer mulberry leaves in white wine and swish, gargle and swallow it.  It would probably also work if you just made a tea from the leaves.  Mulberry tea has twice a much calcium as milk.  Another good reason to grow more mulberries!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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For regrowing gums (if they've receded)--take a few tsps of gelatin in fruit juice (or water and stevia, something to mask the gross flavor) daily for a few months. Pure gelatin, no additives. My gums regrew several millimeters when I did this.

For brushing, I just use hydrogen peroxide, but I might try switching to Dr. Bronner's or a chewing stick, that sounds a lot nicer!
 
meganjoy ostermann
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http://wellnessmama.com/2500/remineralizing-toothpaste/
http://wellnessmama.com/8780/squeezable-homemade-toothpaste/
i use coconut oil, xylitol, few drops of tea tree oil, and ceylon cinnemon!
or if i'm lazy i use placker flossers, chew xylitol, dry brush, and oil pull with coconut oil
 
Stephanie Ladd
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I have tried soooooo many different kinds of crazy things for toothpaste. I made my own baking soda toothpaste first. My teeth started to become really sensitive to it and I read that it can cause gum recession. I tried actual soap flakes as well. Super gross and weird. I bought some powdered herbal mixtures that work well but it feels like I am brushing with dirt.

Here is what I have discovered. It's not so much what you are using to brush, but how you are brushing. The herbalist Susun Weed suggests never putting essential oils in your mouth (or ever using them period) and just using a simple yarrow tincture. A few drops on your toothbrush and brush away. It can also be used as a mouth wash. Currently, I use a tincture blend from HerbPharm called Oral Health. It makes my mouth feel wonderful after using it. When I make my yarrow tincture this year, I will probably switch to that.
 
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