First, some background…
If you’ve tried Earthpaste, then you know it’s almost the perfect alternative to conventional store-bought toothpaste laden with sodium laurel sulfate (a carcinogenic surfactant), flouride (ever wonder why toothpaste has directions on how to contact your local poison control if too much is swallowed?), glycerin (which coats your teeth and prevents remineralization), harsh abrasives and whitening agents in many cases, artificial dyes, and a whole slew of other unpronounceable ingredients that those who are “crunchy”-minded will not want to put in their mouths. Even many of the so-called natural brands available in stores do still typically contain sodium laurel sulfate, glycerin, and sometimes even flouride.
Earthpaste is (an almost) perfect alternative (I will elaborate below) not only because it contains none of the above questionable ingredients in other store-bought brands, but also because it is, in my opinion, superior to other natural options available. When I first gave up store-bought toothpaste, for lack of a better option, I started just brushing my teeth with straight Dr. Bronner’s soap for a few months. My teeth felt cleaner and healthier than when I was using conventional toothpaste, but oddly I noticed a black film would form on my teeth, sometimes the fronts, and especially the backs. It would scrape off with a dental scaler, but I think there must have been some residual glycerin in the soap coating my teeth and forming a scum of some sort. Not only was that gross, but I want to avoid glycerin to allow remineralization of my teeth. There are a lot of natural tooth soaps on the market which probably would have been better, though in all my research, I was still not 100% convinced that the glycerin problem would not be an issue with the ones I looked into. I have also shied away from many homemade toothpaste recipes out there because almost all of them call for baking soda, which, for the most part, is a perfectly safe and natural thing to use on your teeth occasionally, but it is also pretty abrasive for daily use. I have a couple teeth with sensitivity issues, so I need something more gentle for everyday use.
So on to the pros of Earthpaste. The ingredients in Earthpaste are as follows:
- Redmond Clay
- Real Salt
- Various essential oils depending upon the flavor including: tea tree oil, menthol, peppermint, wintergreen, and cinnamon
The back of the package actually permits you to swallow after brushing, which may even be a good idea if you can retrain your brain to do so because of the health benefits of ingesting bentonite clay!
- Void of harmful ingredients found in most other toothpastes (flouride, sodium laurel sulfate, etc.)
- Allows for and even aids the process of remineralization since there is no glycerin, and the clay and salt contain beneficial minerals
- Is non-abrasive (the clay is too soft to damage your teeth, but tough enough to clean any plaque and leave them sparkling white)
- Tastes wonderful
- Leaves teeth bright, slick, and clean when done
Earthpaste, in my opinion, is the best brand of commercial toothpaste available.
Now for the cons…there are two drawbacks to Earthpaste, in my opinion.
First of all, I am not sold on Xylitol. The FDA says its safe. Many dentists say it actually benefits teeth. The Xylitol companies want you to think that it’s a perfectly natural alternative to sugar. However, I keep coming across articles like this one that raise concerns about how it’s manufactured, effects it may have on the digestive tract in humans, and also the effects it has on lab rats (which could presumably apply to humans if given a high enough dose). The fact is, while it may be derived from natural sources, I don’t know of a single person who could or would grow it in their backyard or create it in their kitchen. As a general rule, I strive to avoid things that don’t meet those criteria, and the evidence against Xylitol is definitely somewhat alarming. I sort of feel like, as with many other alternative sweeteners out there, time will tell that Xyltiol is not all it’s cracked up to be. With that said, I still think Earthpaste is the best commercially made toothpaste money can buy. I would prefer that it did not contain Xylitol, but if you are in a season where you must buy something pre-made, by all means, choose Earthpaste. I would recommend not swallowing it on a regular basis if you share my concerns about Xylitol. You will ingest a minimal quantity if you use it this way.
So onto my second and more obvious con: PRICE. Perhaps the most affordable way to buy Earthpaste is to place a large enough Vitacost order to get their free shipping. Vitacost sells Earthpaste for $4.59/tube. When I first tried Earthpaste, I think I paid close to $8 with shipping to order it off Amazon.com. Unfortunately, I have not seen it made available on Amazon prime with free shipping yet. So my suggestion is to try it once and then figure out a way to order it in bulk to save on shipping. Still, even at $4 or so per tube, it is only a teeny tiny 4 ounce tube of paste, and unfortunately, I find that I have to use close to double the quantity of Earthpaste that I would a regular foaming toothpaste to get all of my teeth coated and to the point where they feel clean. It took my hubby and I about 2 weeks to run through our first tube of Earthpaste. So if we used 26 tubes of Earthpaste per year, even at $4 a tube, that’s over $100 on toothpaste. I guess that might not sound bad to most people, but the majority of my beauty products these days cost me pennies per week, and I prefer not to sink this kind of money into a toothpaste that is not 100% ideal in my eyes. So, after trying commercially produced Earthpaste, I set out to make my own. It took a lot of trial and error, and the homemade version is not exactly like Earthpaste, but I think it works just as well, it’s cheaper, and I have more control over the ingredients.
Homemade Clay Toothpaste
- 1/4 cup food-grade bentonite clay (I use Redmond Clay, which is the same stuff they use in Earthpaste)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (does not really matter if it is solid or liquid)
- 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (I use Celtic salt)
- 30 or so drops of essential oil of your choice: peppermint, wintergreen, cinnamon…or get creative – orange? lime? Your choice.
- 3 drops tea tree essential oil
- Stevia to taste (optional but greatly improves the taste and serves as a good substitute for the Xylitol)
Note regarding Stevia: please don’t make the same mistake I did and get the processed powdered junk you see pictured above. Stevia is a green plant and should be purchased in pure, liquid, extract form. I am using the powdered junk up in my toothpaste which I spit out but definitely will not buy it again.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Stir to incorporate with a rubber spatula, adding one tablespoon of water at a time until a paste-like consistency is achieved.
You will want to test the paste by brushing as usual and adding more of various ingredients until the taste and consistency suit you.
Once desired final product is achieved, transfer to an airtight container. You may wish to put each family member’s paste into a separate container since this paste is not a squeezable paste. My hubby and I share, but I could see siblings who share not wanting to contaminate the paste with each other’s cooties. Maybe a rule could be instated requiring the use of a clean finger rather than a cootyified toothbrush to scoop out the paste for each use.
The above container lasts my hubby and me about 2 months. The most expensive ingredient (due to the volume used) is the Redmond Clay. I can buy a 10 ounce jar of Redmond Clay through Azure Standard for $6.45. I think you can make at least 5 batches of the above recipe with one jar of clay. Allowing generously for the cost of the other ingredients, I think it’s safe to say you could supply two people with a year supply of homemade clay toothpaste for less than $20 compared to at least $100 for Earthpaste, plus you have more control over the ingredients and can customize the recipe for you and your family’s tastes. I also like that the homemade recipe contains coconut oil. Coconut oil is very beneficial for your teeth. In fact, you can brush your teeth with coconut oil alone in a pinch, though I find that it does not deal with the plaque over time as well as Earthpaste or homemade clay toothpaste.
So whether you buy Earthpaste or venture to make your own homemade clay toothpaste, I think at this point in time, these are both great options for more natural, healthy, “crunchy” teeth for you and your family!