Ever stopped to think about the waste created from cleaning your teeth? Lauren Grimshaw has a twin solution: make your own toothpaste and switch to a bamboo brush.
Toothpaste tubes and old plastic toothbrushes are thrown in the bin each time they are empty or worn out, and often can’t be recycled in kerbside bins.
The solution? Making your own toothpaste and switch to a compostable bamboo toothbrush.
Making your own toothpaste
Making your own natural toothpaste and storing it in an upcycled food jar not only reduces waste to landfill, but also means you avoid certain ingredients found in mainstream toothpaste brands, such as triclosan over which there are unresolved health questions.
Baking soda, coconut oil, sweet spices and essential oils are often the most popular ingredients to add to homemade toothpaste. Baking soda is a mild abrasive, perhaps less abrasive than normal toothpastes, and used for its alkaline and antibacterial properties. It has also been found to reduce plaque and reduce its future growth when brushing.
Common spices such as cinnamon and ginger, and essential oils such as peppermint can be added to the toothpaste for that sweet minty flavour we are all so used to (but will change the colour). Essential oils, however, should be used in small amounts as they have powerful antibacterial properties and we need to maintain a delicate balance of good bacteria in our mouths.
What you’ll need
- 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- A few drops of peppermint oil (or oil of your choice)
- A small glass food jar
- Compostable toothbrush
- Small spoon
Combine the baking soda and the spices in a small jar.
Add the coconut oil and the essential oil (of your choice but peppermint oil is great) into the jar and stir well until all of the ingredients a smooth paste like texture.
Apply to your toothbrush using a small spoon or similar and simply clean your teeth as normal! Rinse with water.
The aim is to create a paste that has a toothpaste like texture, if you feel you need more (or less) of an ingredient, add until you have a result you’re happy with!
Things to remember
This toothpaste will not foam up as you’re probably used to and it will be slightly saltier than conventional toothpastes, as a result of the baking soda. The consistency of coconut oil also tends to fluctuate depending on its temperature, so if it’s hard, just run its container under some warm water, and if it’s really runny, just pop it in the freezer for a short time.
Why switch to a bamboo brush?
In Australia, millions of plastic toothbrushes are used and disposed of each year to landfill. Toothbrushes are made from a combination of plastic and rubber with nylon bristles. These materials remain in landfill indefinitely, meaning nearly every toothbrush ever used still exists.
Switching to a compostable bamboo toothbrush will lessen your ecological footprint and reduce waste, provided you dispose of it by a method that allows it to compost. Bamboo is also one of the most sustainable grown plants in the world. You can pick one up at your local health store.
* Savings are an estimate based on typical prices. Mileage may vary.