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paul wheaton
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I make my own toothpaste and soap.  Here's a toothpaste recipe anyone can do -

1/2 cup coconut oil (it hardens at around 70 degrees)
2-4 tsp baking soda
10-20 drops peppermint or spearmint oil
pinch Stevia

Mix it up to taste in a small jar.  No need to refrigerate unless your house is hot (above 72 degrees all the time). 
 
brett watson
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Location: Northern California Zone 8b
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Even better, IMOOO
http://www.eco-dent.com/
which you could probably make yourself

we've been using it for over a year now, kids too. doesn't require very much and I don't wake up in the morning with nasty mouth
 
T. Joy
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So you don't find the coconut oil greasy in the mouth? I can see my kids trying to eat that unfortunately, lol. I may try it anyhow though.
 
                    
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I expected it to be oily but there's also a tiny bit of grit from the baking soda - it leaves no greasy residual that I noticed.  It is a good idea, however, to rinse your brush in hydrogen peroxide every so often.  And if your kids eat it, no fluoride to poison them!  The only tweak I would do with the next batch is more and stronger mint oil. 
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I must try this tomorrow.  I have been brushing with baking soda for years but I do miss the 'fresh' taste of minty toothpaste.  Coconut oil is supposed to be very good for you both topically and internally.
 
T. Joy
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Perhaps I'll try it then. I might add some neem oil as well, it's very good for decay prevention too. I might try it with anise or orange oil though, the kids both hate mint, it's too "spicy". The don't even like the expensive orange and apple flavoured pastes I bought from the health food store. Right now they are brushing with nothing which is ok so long as they do a good job, which they don't so they need a little something extra to help get their pearls polished .
 
                    
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Neem is a great idea - I'll have to remember that.  I have also heard of people using tea tree oil.  Not so great on the tastebuds, that one, but very effective antibacterially. 
 
gani et se
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Location: Douglas County OR
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None. It's a perfectly fine option for people who brush twice a day. Sometimes for the heck of it chew a mint leaf. A small pinch of baking soda if you are getting stains.
Brush meditatively for several minutes. The brush doesn't get scraped back and forth -- small circles that move the tips of the bristles around a bit are what you are after. Brush your tongue too!
For those of us who came to it late and have gum pockets, a toothpick is helpful for cleaning out debris that brushing/flossing miss.
Abrasives (including baking soda) can be problematic if you have any gum recession. Since teeth roots are softer than normal tooth enamel a concoction that is not too abrasive for the tooth can damage the exposed root.
How about floss alternatives that aren't prohibitively expensive?
 
T. Joy
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I have flossed with any and everything that will work, threads pulled off clothing, a piece of paper or corner of a plastic bag, even once a piece of my own hair. I have to floss, I can't stand the feeling of food stuck in my teeth and even though it's not glamorous I'll use whatever is handy to rid myself of that intolerable sensation.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Anyone have any idea why toothpaste would have propolis extract in it?  (Propolis is the stuff that bees use to glue things together inside the hive, for anyone who doesn't know.)  A friend gave me some toothpaste that has propolis extract as an ingredient, and having some experience with bees (ex is a beekeeper), I was a little curious about that!

Kathleen
 
Nathalie Poulin
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I've heard that if you stop using fluoride toothpaste and only drink filtered/bottled water that has no fluoride in it, it makes your teeth softer.
I want to stop using conventional toothpaste, but I'm terrified of my teeth softening or messing up my beautiful teeth. (Vain,  I know.)
Can anyone substantiate?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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jaggednib wrote:
I've heard that if you stop using fluoride toothpaste and only drink filtered/bottled water that has no fluoride in it, it makes your teeth softer.
I want to stop using conventional toothpaste, but I'm terrified of my teeth softening or messing up my beautiful teeth. (Vain,  I know.)
Can anyone substantiate?


I've never heard that.  I was raised on non-flouridated water (well water -- we don't buy water).  We did use toothpaste with flouride in it, once that was invented, but not three times a day.  Our teeth aren't perfect (my four siblings and myself), but the only issues are ones that can be traced to too much sugar in the diet.  Keep in mind that flouride was only added to water and toothpaste VERY recently, historically speaking. 

Kathleen
 
T. Joy
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jaggednib wrote:
I've heard that if you stop using fluoride toothpaste and only drink filtered/bottled water that has no fluoride in it, it makes your teeth softer.
I want to stop using conventional toothpaste, but I'm terrified of my teeth softening or messing up my beautiful teeth. (Vain,  I know.)
Can anyone substantiate?


I can't imagine that's true, doesn't sound very scientific.

As for the propolis, it's considered anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-microbial which would help in dental cleaning and care of the mouth.

I made that coconut oil baking soda toothpaste for the kids to try, oh ha ha. Not happening. Oh well, guess I'll brush with it to use it up. They are going to stick with plain water for a while.
 
                            
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I do something very similair to Paul's, but substitute the coconut oil for vegetable glycerin. I also add tea tree and thyme oil as well as peppermint. Propolis sounds like an interesting addition 
 
Jose Zamora
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Location: Canary Islands, Spain
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Does anyone clean their teeth with more traditional/tribal methods?

From my research, I think there are three main categories of natural teeth cleaning tools (though there are probably more):

Leaves: You could brush your teeth with leaves of plants with special antibiotic properties, or maybe saponins. You'd have to try different plants to see what works (or look for some information source). I guess most aromatic plants (mint, sage, etc.), cinnamon and tea would work very well.

Sticks: Brushes made from twigs or roots are very widely used (and I strongly believe they're better for teeth than industrial brushes and pastes). They can be very pleasant to use (for example, if you use licorice root or a cinnamon twig) and naturally antibiotic (if you choose the right plant).

Powders: When I wondered what modern (western) people used before toothpastes were invented, I found out there were teeth powders with with you could brush your teeth, and, well, they can be made with whatever you want, letting you adapt it to whatever you want to achieve.

That's without taking into account the inter-teeth tools (which can be threads, hair, spikes or whatever).

Personally, I use everyday a powder I made myself with powdered egg shells (minerals), mint, cinnamon and clove, aniseed (antibiotic and good taste), tea (natural fluoride) and chamomile (anti-inflammatory) (and maybe more things, I don't remember).
I put a pinch of powder in my mouth and a bit of water, and move that with a lot of pressure to cover all my mouth, passing it in between all the teeth (controlling that might look difficult, but it's easy if you practise a bit moving your mouth muscles). I do that and not brushing it because I don't want to scratch and erode my teeth at all.
I also use a thread when I have something stuck in between and I have a licorice brush too, but I don't really use it, as I don't need it. Oh, and gums massages with my fingers. Those are very important to keep the teeth healthy.

Well, good luck everyone! ^^

Edit: I'v just discovered that powdered dried pomegrenate peels make a great teeth cleaning powder! It's supposed to make them whiter too (I don't care too much about that, but I guess lots of people do care about it). I'm glad I always do some research before throwing/composting things.
 
Denise Lehtinen
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Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
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jaggednib wrote:
I've heard that if you stop using fluoride toothpaste and only drink filtered/bottled water that has no fluoride in it, it makes your teeth softer.
I want to stop using conventional toothpaste, but I'm terrified of my teeth softening or messing up my beautiful teeth. (Vain,  I know.)
Can anyone substantiate?


I do remember the sensations of my teeth changing after I stopped using fluoride toothpaste.  The fluoride binds to the outer surface of the teeth making them harder.  They aren't soft now -- just not as hard as they were with the fluoride.

One issue with regular baking soda is that it is contaminated with aluminum.  (Aluminum is implicated as a cause of alzheimers in alternative health circles.)

This is the website of my local natural dentist:
http://www.saveyourteeth.com/
If you click on the SECRET tab, you can read what he has to say about keeping your teeth healthy.
 
Adam Swenson
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I'm going to go out on a thin limb here and say I don't use toothpaste. At all. For over a year now.

I got "permission" from my dental hygienist to quit using fluoridated toothpaste as I haven't had a cavity in 20 years, and the toothpaste was irritating to the corners of my mouth. So I tried non-fluoridated toothpaste; same thing. Frustrated, I went without. I haven't looked back. I had my yearly checkup recently and was without cavities.

I find that I can get the same clean feeling without too much extra work; in fact it's easier to tell now when I've gotten all the plaque off my teeth because my tongue isn't numb from frankensteiny mint and I can more easily feel whether my teeth are smooth or still have some plaque.

No halitosis issues either in case anyone is wondering. Wish me luck for continued success.
 
Travis Custer
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Location: Currently the SW U.S. but spending time in Northern Nicaragua as well
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For anyone interested in alternative dental care check out this link. I highly recommend these techniques. http://chanchka.com/chanchka-products/
 
Joe Netzl
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Adam Swenson wrote:I'm going to go out on a thin limb here and say I don't use toothpaste. At all. For over a year now.


I don't use toothpaste either...for years and I've never had a cavity. My tooth care is not very impressive, I suppose it's more like a freak show. I have to admit it is fun to see how shocked people can be about it.

We'll see who gets the last laugh when my teeth finally fall out I guess, but for now they work pretty good I think. They don't look half bad either.
 
Deb Stephens
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I am reposting my response to a very similar thread started around Jan. 3rd. (Too lazy to rewrite it...) One thing I would like to add though is that both my husband and I have excellent teeth -- no cavities at all with brushing only once per day. And when I went for the one and only cleaning I had ever had in my life about 6 years ago, the dental hygienist couldn't believe I had never had my teeth cleaned. (I am 55.) They were in such good shape it only took a couple of minutes and probably could have been dispensed with altogether.

From 3 Jan. 2012
Since even the expensive natural toothpastes out there often contain flouride or sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS -- nasty stuff!), I make my own. I have tried (and discarded as just plain too unpalatable to use) the many baking soda and salt mixes. Ditto, those containing peroxide. While they will work, they are horrible tasting and even make my gums sore -- especially recipes heavy on the baking soda and salt -- sea salt or otherwise. After several years of experimentation, this is what I have come up with. It looks, feels and tastes like commercial toothpaste, but it contains NO flouride, NO SLS and it costs pennies once past the initial investment for a couple of more expensive ingredients you will need. This is what you need...

Coconut oil
Vegetable glycerin
Baking soda
Salt
Clove oil (for sensitive teeth) optional
Tea Tree oil (for gum problems) optional
Stevia powder to sweeten if desired, but not necessary (the glycerin sweetens it pretty well anyway)

Filler -- either food grade calcium carbonate (chalk); or food grade aluminum oxide (clay); OR, if you don't mind the color, you could use finely ground activated charcoal. (The latter does not look, feel or taste like regular toothpaste, but does work.)

Flavoring: I recommend using a mint oil or extract because it has a toothpastey sort of taste, but I have made delicious toothpaste flavored with anise, banana/cherry (sort of tutti-frutti taste) and several other food flavors. Just use whatever you like or nothing at all -- its a matter of personal preference.

If you live near a big city, you can probably find all this locally, but if not, it is readily available online. You can get organic or regular coconut oil and essential oils, but plan to pay at least a third more upfront for organic. Check out Mountain Rose Herbs http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ for most of this, (very reputable company) and get the powders (chalk and clay, charcoal) from a chemical or scientific supply place (Essential Depot has a lot of the soap making supplies like sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, but they also carry some other products of interest to homesteaders -- like the glycerin and coconut oil http://www.essentialdepot.com/servlet/the-Glycerin...SP-Kosher-Vegetable/Categories ). As a last resort, Amazon.com does carry the powders in small containers. You want pharmaceutical or food grade because these are abrasives and you really don't want to be scratching your teeth with sand and other impurities. Besides, you get the finest grade powders that way (and the best prices, because you can buy in bulk quantities). Don't get any of it at a health food store! You will pay a hundred times more for a fraction of the quantity.

DISCLAIMER: I originally used the aluminum oxide powder because it is a primary ingredient in all of the off-the-shelf toothpastes (go read your label), BUT... it has been recently linked (although not conclusively) to Alzheimer's Disease. You may not be comfortable taking a chance with that, so while it does have a better mouth feel and provide a creamier consistency to the paste, it may be better to substitute chalk or charcoal. You can even leave it out altogether, but the toothpaste becomes tooth "milk" and is hard to keep on your brush. Also coconut oil becomes rock solid at below about 70F and runny above about 80F, so mix it very thoroughly while it is in a creamy in-between stage, store in a relatively cool place and stir the mix occasionally to keep it all from separating.

Now about the mixture proportions...

As I mentioned, I am not a fan of the baking soda and salt taste, so I experimented quite a bit to get the texture and taste I found pleasing. You will need to do that as well, but to start, you need to mix the filler, coconut oil and glycerin in approximately equal proportions. Add the flavoring (and the stevia, and clove or tea tree oils if you want those) to the glycerin before pouring it in to make sure it is uniformly distributed, then add only a pinch of salt; and finish by adding baking soda 1/4 tsp at a time until it seems right to you -- tasting as you go.

The initial outlay may set you back a few bucks, but depending upon the quantities you buy, you could have the makings for a decade of toothpaste for your entire family with that one purchase. Considering one tube of something like Jason's or Tom's of Maine cost around $8, it will pay for itself in a couple of months!
 
Aro Ericsson
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I wouldn't recommend using any toothpaste without fluoride, especially if your water isn't fluoridated. Fluoride has an important role in preventing acid damage.

Jeanine Gurley wrote:Coconut oil is supposed to be very good for you both topically and internally.


Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which any doctor will tell you is not good for your general health, or for your arteries in particular. Using a small amount of it as a base for toothpaste probably won't cause any damage, but using it for cooking, when there are much healthier oils available, is not a good idea.

Deb: you say aluminium oxide might be linked to Alzheimer's, but please note that prolonged use of charcoal as a toothpaste ingredient may well result in mouth cancer. Charcoal is produced by slow burning of wood, it is an impure form of carbon. Some of the impurities, such as benzene, are extremely carcinogenic. Chalk is much safer.
 
richard wafer
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I've post a recipe in a similar thread.
http://www.permies.com/t/11836/frugality/DIY-Dental-Cleaning#109736
 
Adam Swenson
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Aro Ericsson wrote: Fluoride has an important role in preventing acid damage.



That's highly debatable. It is used in forming enamel when you're a young pup but notice that once enamel is gone it cannot reform. What does that tell one about the role of fluoride in adults? It is useless at best.
 
Deb Stephens
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Aro Ericsson wrote:I wouldn't recommend using any toothpaste without fluoride, especially if your water isn't fluoridated. Fluoride has an important role in preventing acid damage.

Jeanine Gurley wrote:Coconut oil is supposed to be very good for you both topically and internally.


Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, which any doctor will tell you is not good for your general health, or for your arteries in particular. Using a small amount of it as a base for toothpaste probably won't cause any damage, but using it for cooking, when there are much healthier oils available, is not a good idea.

Deb: you say aluminium oxide might be linked to Alzheimer's, but please note that prolonged use of charcoal as a toothpaste ingredient may well result in mouth cancer. Charcoal is produced by slow burning of wood, it is an impure form of carbon. Some of the impurities, such as benzene, are extremely carcinogenic. Chalk is much safer.


Aro,

I would like to refer you to a few studies about the dangers of flouride, but rather than link all of them, I will simply refer you to only one of many links where several legitimate studies are quoted. Some of these studies are by the ADA (American Dental Association) itself and include observations about flouride dangers by dentists. I have known for years that flouride was not something to be used lightly. As a physical anthropologist, I have seen first hand what flouride can do to bones and teeth. In fact flouride is so persistent in bone that it can be used for dating biological remains. Personally, I lump this in with optical brighteners and hydrogenated fats as something I do not want or need in or on my body -- ever.

http://www.naturalnews.com/030123_fluoride_babies.html

Also your information on coconut oil is outdated and incomplete. Yes, it is a saturated fat, but the latest studies indicate that not all saturated fats are equal in being "bad for you". There are literally hundreds of articles out there quoting study after study about the benefits of coconut oil in the diet -- particularly in warding off heart attacks and stroke. Just search for them and you will see for yourself.

I do not necessarily advocate the use of charcoal (and yes, I do know how it is made, having made it). I have never used it myself, and probably never will, but it is listed in a number of old recipes for toothpaste, and was actually the preferred tooth powder additive of Benjamin Franklin. (It is still used in many third world countries.) I mentioned it only as a possibility. I would expect anyone willing to make their own toothpaste to do research as well, and not blindly follow the advice given by anyone here -- myself included.
 
Aro Ericsson
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I would like to refer you to a few studies about the dangers of flouride, but rather than link all of them, I will simply refer you to only one of many links where several legitimate studies are quoted. Some of these studies are by the ADA (American Dental Association) itself and include observations about flouride dangers by dentists. I have known for years that flouride was not something to be used lightly. As a physical anthropologist, I have seen first hand what flouride can do to bones and teeth. In fact flouride is so persistent in bone that it can be used for dating biological remains. Personally, I lump this in with optical brighteners and hydrogenated fats as something I do not want or need in or on my body -- ever.


Firstly, 97% of cases of fluorosis examined by the study references in your link were mild, and all cases were dental rather than skeletal. Mild dental fluorosis poses little threat to health or quality of life.

Secondly, the study is concerned with consumption of fluoridated water by infants. This is largely unrelated to the safety of the use of fluoride toothpaste by older children and adults, as babies are much smaller than adults and as a result less fluoride is required to produce adverse effects; in addition, drinking fluoridated water results in much larger fluoride intake than using fluoride toothpaste.

There is extremely strong evidence that the fluoride toothpaste prevent caries. See the results of this meta-analysis:

http://www.nature.com/ebd/journal/v4/n2/full/6400176a.html

Fluoride is toxic. Just like water is toxic. All things are toxic in sufficient quantities; it's the dose that makes the poison.

Fluoride plays a valuable role in preventing caries. I would not recommend foregoing fluoridated toothpaste due to health concerns, which are for the most part unfounded.

Also your information on coconut oil is outdated and incomplete. Yes, it is a saturated fat, but the latest studies indicate that not all saturated fats are equal in being "bad for you". There are literally hundreds of articles out there quoting study after study about the benefits of coconut oil in the diet -- particularly in warding off heart attacks and stroke. Just search for them and you will see for yourself.


Looking through the studies on PubMed, it does seem that it may have positive health effects. I would still err on the side of caution, and for daily cooking use olive oil, or a similar oil with very firmly established benefits to health, until further research on the precise long-term effects of coconut oil is done.

I do not necessarily advocate the use of charcoal (and yes, I do know how it is made, having made it). I have never used it myself, and probably never will, but it is listed in a number of old recipes for toothpaste, and was actually the preferred tooth powder additive of Benjamin Franklin. (It is still used in many third world countries.) I mentioned it only as a possibility. I would expect anyone willing to make their own toothpaste to do research as well, and not blindly follow the advice given by anyone here -- myself included.


Actually, allow me to elaborate a bit on that point. Activated charcoal, which is extremely pure carbon, approved for medicinal use, is probably safe. However, putting in your mouth the sort of charcoal you buy in large bags for use on the barbeque, or charcoal you've made in your own charcoal burner, is not very wise.
 
Deb Stephens
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Actually, allow me to elaborate a bit on that point. Activated charcoal, which is extremely pure carbon, approved for medicinal use, is probably safe. However, putting in your mouth the sort of charcoal you buy in large bags for use on the barbeque, or charcoal you've made in your own charcoal burner, is not very wise.


We will have to agree to disagree on the flouride issue since I still disagree that it poses very little risk. I would rather have dental caries than flourosis.

However, on the charcoal issue -- please note that I did say "finely ground activated charcoal" on my first mention, not BBQ charcoal briquets. You have merely assumed that as you have apparently also assumed that because I suggested it for toothpaste, I also cook with coconut oil. I admit that I do use it in moderation for pie crusts, since I do not use hydrogenated fats or lard (I am a vegetarian) but I cook with olive oil and other healthy oils. My reason for having it in the house at all involves my soap making activities -- not culinary ones.
 
Aro Ericsson
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Apologies, I inadvertently skimmed over the part where you mentioned "activated charcoal". It's worth making it clear anyway, I suppose.

If you recognise the potential consequences of not using fluoride toothpaste, but choose not to use it anyway, then that's not a problem. In my opinion, the cost-benefit analysis pays off highly in favour of its use, but ultimately it's up to the individual.

Nowhere have I said that you specifically cook with coconut oil. I am simply stating that anyone who might want to cook with coconut oil, or take it as a supplement, should be aware that its health benefits are often wildly exaggerated, and there's a chance that it may be harmful in the long term.
 
Deb Stephens
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Aro Ericsson wrote:Apologies, I inadvertently skimmed over the part where you mentioned "activated charcoal". It's worth making it clear anyway, I suppose.

If you recognise the potential consequences of not using fluoride toothpaste, but choose not to use it anyway, then that's not a problem. In my opinion, the cost-benefit analysis pays off highly in favour of its use, but ultimately it's up to the individual.

Nowhere have I said that you specifically cook with coconut oil. I am simply stating that anyone who might want to cook with coconut oil, or take it as a supplement, should be aware that its health benefits are often wildly exaggerated, and there's a chance that it may be harmful in the long term.


Apologies accepted.

On the flouride issue. As I do not have a single cavity and at 55 still have all my own teeth, I would say my choice has been a good one.

I did want to mention that as I do not eat my toothpaste, using coconut oil in the formulation is also not a problem.
 
Jonathan Hontz
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Location: Denver, CO
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I currently use straight baking soda, but only as a backup plan. My primary cleaning agent is to just eat less sugar, especially refined sugars. While the benefits of brushing are probably pretty demonstrable, it seems like more meddling with body chemistry. If I keep brushing out all the stuff in my mouth, will there ever be a colony of beneficial bacteria in there helping me keep cavities at bay? There are probably rare humans out there who can eat a fair amount of sugars and never need to brush because they have the mouth flora and fauna to deal with it before it decays their teeth, but I'm not one of them. So long as I continue to eat sugar, I'll continue to brush, but my light at the end of the tunnel is a sugar-free existence with no brushing and perfect teeth. Who knows if I'll ever get there.
 
                                                
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The best we have found so far is zeolite mineral powder with just 2 drops of essential oil for about two tablespoons of powder. It took a very short time to get used to, but there is virtually no waste... but to get to zero waste we are experimenting with oak twigs. Cut a short branch and bite one end till it starts to come apart and start rubbing, gums too! In the meantime though we have gotten rid of gluten from our diets and more than a year ago got rid of nasty refined sugar. Oil pulling with organic coconut oil once a week and our teeth are as good as gold :) At least we can successfully avoid the dentist for the time being. We spend just $4 a year on the powder, so yeah, one could call it frugal too.

Cheryl
 
Nas Mus
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I've stopped using standard brush and tootpaste also. I have recently started using something used throughout the asian world in the olden days (these days they also seem to be resorting to toothpastes) called miswaak. It's a twig of some tree and it works wonders.

My gums have always bled. They stopped bleeding after a week or so of using miswaak and became much stronger.
Initially I thought my teeth were going yellow, but now there are clean and getting cleaner and whiter everyday with the miswaak.
It costs about 50p here in the UK for one miswaak which can easily last over a month of regular usage (about half a dollar I think that is)
You literally only need to use it for a about 30 seconds-minute after you eat and you can carry it around with you in your pocket, it's only a twig.

It's also supposed to have other effects due to nutrients and natural stuff in the twig like reducing phlegm - but i've never really had a phlegm problem so can't tell. Supposed to be good for memory too.

For me it's just a hassle free, natural method of keep my teeth clean and gums strong.
 
Victor Johanson
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According to some, glycerin doesn't rinse off well and can create a film on the teeth, presenting a barrier to saliva and thus preventing tooth remineralization. Plain, unscented soap has been recommended. I thought it would taste vile, but the homemade soap I tried isn't unpleasant at all. Under the right conditions, the body can heal cavities.
 
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