Tooth of the matter

For years, hubby and I have waged a toothpaste war against one another, to see who can squeeze the ever-loving last gram out of the tube before throwing it away. The loser receives much taunting.

This morning was no exception, as Brad used the Vulcan Death Grip to win the battle. This time.

Crankily tossing the tube in the trash, I was reminded how much wasted packaging goes along with toothpaste — and the stuff that makes it foamy has been linked to mouth ulcers. Remembering my Dad’s stories of brushing his teeth as a kid with baking soda, I decided to search for homemade recipes. Preferably ones that don’t actually taste like baking soda.

Photo by Brian Hefele

Most of the recipes I found used things like glycerin or coconut oil, but I wanted to keep it simple and cheap, using ingredients that are always on hand. So I started experimenting with the basics, baking soda for a little healthy abrasion, hydrogen peroxide for its foamy, antibacterial qualities, and — by far, the most important part — flavoring. Here’s what worked best:

Mix together…

4 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide (use a little more or less to reach desired consistency)
6 drops citrus oil (next time I’ll try mint extract)


Admittedly, tasting a bit off the tip of my finger was not terribly enjoyable. But I decided to give it a brush test anyway, and the results were surprising. It was just as foamy as store-bought toothpaste, and the flavor was much milder, with the citrus coming through more as a result of the brushing. And my teeth felt squeaky-clean, as if I had just come from the dentist’s office. Who’d of thunk it?

A tube of Tom’s costs $5. The same amount of homemade toothpaste will probably run us about $0.50. There’s just one problem though — we’ll have to come up with new rules for the toothpaste war. Any suggestions?

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