What do you see it the photo above? I see nonrecyclable waste. Tons of it. What does your family use? A tube a month? Twelve tubes a year, 600 tubes in a lifetime. And then floss... I know many people like those little flossers, but oh my! So much plastic. We will talk about that in a bit, but first, what can you do about all that toothpaste plastic?
If you want to make your own toothpaste alternative, here is the one we use. Of course, check with your dentist!
But, here is another. Toothpaste tablets! There are many brands you can use, and at least one is even available at local stores!
How do these work? Well, you grab a tablet, toss it in your mouth--I like a bit of water first--chew for a few seconds, and then brush. That simple!
So, how do you choose what to use? I have tried two brands. Etee makes a tablet called Chewpaste that foams up like traditional toothpaste. If you really like that foamy feel, this might be what you like. The downside is that Etee is a pretty new company, and is still working on keeping things in stock.
The other brand I have tried is Unpaste. This is available in both a flouride and nonflouride version from Hellobulk, in downtown Salt Lake. Instead of using SLS-A as a foaming agent and surfactant, like Etee's Chewpaste, Unpaste uses sodium lauryl glutamate, which I find much gentler and less foamy. I like it, but you may not.
Locally, you can also get Nelson Natural's Crush and Brush at Animalia on 9th South. This version contains no surfactant. I haven't tried it. If you do, share how you like it.
So how can you evaluate these without buying all the things?
Here is a list of ingredients you might find, and what they do in the product.
Baking soda--in almost every natural tooth cleaner
Silica--the most common in whitening toothpastes
Dicalcium phospate--may also help remineralize
Remineralizes teeth-this reduces sensitivity and cavities
Nano-hydroxyapatite--(nHAp)--what enamal is made of
Most other mineral, including the ones below, haven't been shown to be very effective on their own
calcium carbonate--also mild abrasive
Citric and tartaric acid help stimulate saliva which helps remineralize
5-carbon sweeteners--sweetens, promotes dental health by suppressing harmful bacteria or encouraging good bacteria
Preservatives--many makers feel that preservatives in toothcare inhibit beneficial bacteria. This includes the items below, as well as EOs such as peppermint, menthol and tea tree
Eugenol, or Clove oil
Foaming Agents, Surfactants provide foaminess, and help break down films.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate--in traditional toothpastes. SLS is strong, cheap, common, and an irritant for many people. Good to avoid.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate--SLS-A--a much gentler, but still foamy surfactant
Quillaja Saponaria (Soapbark, from South America)--a natural surfactant.
Sodium Lauryll Glutamate--mild, natural surfactant
Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate--mild, natural surfactant
All of these items are used to make tablets. None of them are thought to be problematic
Cream of Tartar
Adosonia Gregoril (Cream of Tartar source)
Natural Flavorings, Essential Oils and Menthol are often added to enhance the experience and freshen breath. Some people are concerned at the effect some of these products have on beneficial bacteria. Others appreciate the effect on harmful bacteria. I don't know how to evaluate these claims.