There is a saying I remember my dad repeating to me when I was younger – the person with a smelly breath, is always the last one to find out about it. That’s how he got me to brush my teeth twice daily. Well, obviously, saying that girls don’t like boys with bad breath also played a minor role in my ever-growing love for fresh mint toothpaste.
Humans (not sure about other species) started using toothpaste in the early 1800’s. Since then we’ve seen a revolution in the reasons for using toothpaste and the ingredients we put in them.
Let’s get you up to date.
Baking Soda in Toothpaste
Today, toothpaste is much more than a hygiene product. Besides getting rid of bacteria that cause bad breath and forms decay & cavities, we also use toothpaste for more cosmetic reasons such as a teeth whitening.
The latter is where baking soda made its impact in modern society. There is no lack of recipes online that speak about the ability of baking soda to give you snow white teeth. The results? Disappointing to say the least.
Let’s be real. Baking soda alone can’t and won’t remove unwanted stains. More importantly, it’ll have a negative health effect on your gums in the long run. Baking soda is a very abrasive agent that if overused will cause your gums to be sensitive and even bleed.
What About Other Whitening Agents?
It is only natural for us humans to keep testing until we reach the desired results. That’s why most people have tried at least one form of a whitening agent to enhance their smiles even if it means using harmful chemicals:
- Fluoride is the most common ingredient in commercial toothpaste to prevent decay and whiten teeth. In reality, fluoride doesn’t really do much for already stained teeth.
- Salt can be used because of the light abrasiveness it offers but will also not be enough to remove stains on its own.
- Activated charcoal can be used to assist in teeth whitening. Although there’s no concrete evidence to prove that it removes stains or lightens teeth, many people swear by it.
But what if you don’t want to spend a lot of money? When it comes to naturally removing stains or whitening your teeth your options are limited. That’s why prevention is always better. Follow these few guidelines to prevent stains and teeth from discoloring:
- Red wine: While red wine will help you relax after a long day at work, it won’t do much for your teeth. Limit your wine intake to prevent stained teeth.
- Coffee: Coffee leaves yellow stains on teeth, so moderation is key.
- Tea: Here’s a surprising fact: Tea can discolor teeth the same way coffee does.
- Cigarettes: Nicotine is a no-brainer. You know that it’ll leave nasty stains behind.
Can you adjust your personal habits to benefit your teeth in future?
The Organic Route
A popular method these days is to try organic solutions for everyday challenges. This relates to toothpaste too because people try to avoid unnatural chemicals. That’s how homemade toothpaste evolved.
Before you jump in and mix everything natural together there are a few ingredients toothpaste should consist of:
- A natural breath freshener: Even when going all natural you still want your breath to smell good, so be sure to add essential oils such as spearmint or cinnamon.
- Clay: In order to get the right consistency and hold all your ingredients together you have to add a natural clay. This will also help to remove stains and bacteria. Bentonite clay is a good option to go with.
- Salt: You need slight abrasiveness in your toothpaste that’ll aid in stain removal.
- Coconut oil: This oil has antibacterial properties and prevents inflammation in gums.
- Sweetener (optional): Stevia or Xylitol can be used in moderation to improve the taste.
Making your own toothpaste will give you a peace of mind that you’re doing good to the environment and your body. It also helps manage other aspects of your life such as your budget. And you never have to run out of toothpaste again. So, now you can put the sparkle back in your smile – the healthy way.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.