“In the field of dream interpretation, teeth falling out are associated with loss and important life changes. This symbol points to feelings of insecurity or vulnerability regarding a recent event that disrupted your life.” — www.teethfallingoutdream.org
It was this one that sent me down the rabbit hole.
We brush our teeth at least twice a day, using this stuff morning and night. We may eschew many toiletries, but never this one.
But – whoa! – have you seen the small print on your tube of toothpaste? It often contains an ominous warning to contact a poison centre or emergency room right away if accidentally swallowed. Many of these toxic ingredients are included simply for foaming purposes or as sweeteners, not as cleansing agents.
I switched from drugstore variants more than a decade ago. First to health food store versions – my favourite was Green People’s great-tasting fennel toothpaste. Last year I moved to tooth powder, primarily for ecological and travel purposes. I tried Eco-Dent’s anise flavoured tooth powder and it too tastes delicious. Both, though, are pricey.
I ran out of the (US made) Eco-Dent some months ago, and being in India at the time, I couldn’t get hold of that nor the (UK made) Green People. I was enjoying my tooth powder kick in any case, and wanted to stay on this route.
Incidentally, tooth powder is something still used in India, though more by older generations and considered deeply unfashionable by everyone else. All the modern pharmacies were most sniffy about it, so I traipsed around to dusty old-school chemists and Ayurvedic shops. The powder came in giant cheap plastic jars with lurid labels complete with wrong spellings. I tested half a dozen. Several left an alarming stain on my porcelain sink. They all tasted frightful. None made my teeth feel clean.
I also tried some local “herbal” toothpastes, but the list of ingredients (as they are for Big Corporates) indicated some nominal herbal component and otherwise filled with the usual dodgy SLS, parabens and dyes.
So I finally decided to make my own.
How simple is it?
Very simple, it turns out.
I first tried using a mix of baking soda, salt and some ground fennel (for my favourite flavour; others may prefer mint). It was super easy to put together, but the baking soda felt a bit too gritty against my teeth. I also felt the urge to brush my teeth again a few hours later as I quickly lost that “fresh” taste in my mouth.
I found hundreds of recipes online. I sifted through the information and settled on the following ingredients:
- Bentonite clay. Clay is eaten instinctively and universally by humans and animals alike when we’re sick and or need to expel poisons. Clay binds with toxins and carries them out of our bodies. Even when not injested and only used in the mouth, clay is said to collect lurking bacteria and heavy metals. There are several clays to choose from – green, white, Fullers Earth (known in South Asia as multani mati) and my pick, Bentonite, from volcanic ash. Use non-metal spoons and bowls when handling clay to prevent oxidisation.
- Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate. Said to remove plaque and whiten teeth.
- Salt. Natural salt (sea, rock, Himalayan) contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus that help strengthen our gums. Note! It’s important to use them finely ground so as not to be too abrasive against our teeth’s enamel.
- Optional additions for taste: ground cloves (also great for teeth health), ground dried mint, ground cinnamon, whatever you like. Ensure they’re finely ground. I like my fennel seeds, ground to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or blender.
After experimenting, here’s my preferred mix:
Homemade healthy simple tooth powder recipe:
- 2 teaspoons Bentonite clay
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt (rock, sea or Himalayan), finely ground
- ½–1 teaspoon anise or fennel seed powder (or your preferred flavour, such as dried mint) ground to a powder
- ¼ teaspoon clove powder
Measure with a non-metal spoon and mix in a non-metal bowl. As an added good measure, sift them in a sieve to ensure it’s all (literally) fine. Store in a glass jar. Scoop out with a spoon to keep the contents dry. Alternatively, put in a non-metal salt or pepper shaker and shake about a pea’s size onto a wet toothbrush.
I use my old Eco-Dent tooth powder container, which is used not unlike a pepper shaker, except that it’s plastic and has a lid.
Is is worth it?
Oh yes. This is a quick, cheap, easy and simple tooth powder recipe. All the ingredients are edible, which is handy in case you accidentally swallow some. Only the clay might be slightly difficult to source (I got my Bentonite clay in India from Green Junction), but just about every culture has a local version that should be easily accessible.
“You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney