I have made a personal commitment towards sustainability in my home. It’s never going to be perfect, because the realities of suburban family life, budgeting and ease of weekly shopping mean that packaging sneaks in no matter how hard I try to avoid it.
I can make small, manageable changes though, to begin with. Starting in the bathroom, my family and I don’t use shampoo or conditioner to wash our hair, just hot water, so there is less packaging there (as well as less harmful ingredients in our waterways). We clean our bathroom with vinegar, bicarb, water and essential oils and use old washers to clean with, rather than paper towel. I’m not a regular cosmetic user and am happy to use ingredients from my kitchen for my skin, so there is savings in dollars, packaging and harmful ingredients there too. We’ve been making our own laundry powder, with great results, and the most recent thing to go has been the toothpaste.
No more tubes going to landfill. No more standing for hours staring at toothpaste options in the supermarket or health food store, trying to find one that will have minimal impact on health, environment or budget. No more messy toothpaste globs stuck in the sink (and other interesting places) from children’s independent tooth-brushing efforts. With children there is the inevitable sprinkling of powder around the sink, but as the ingredients are the same ones we clean with, this is MUCH easier to wipe up!
Here’s our simple recipe. We like it so much that my children have added it to the books where they keep their favourite recipes. We mix this up together, add our chosen flavourings and shake it all up. We keep our tooth powder in individual containers, so we can have our own flavourings too. You could also add coconut oil to this if you prefer more of a paste. I’m personally not very fond of the taste of coconut oil, so I leave mine as a powder.
- 1 part white bentonite clay
- 2 parts bicarb soda
- a few drops of essential oils
The idea is to wet your toothbrush, tap off the excess water and then dip into the tooth powder. Whatever sticks to your toothbrush will be enough to brush your teeth with. We have been using this for three months now and find our teeth feel nice and smooth afterwards and our gums are healthy. I’ve read that the bentonite clay adds minerals for your teeth, among numerous other benefits, but to be honest I’ve not looked into this too much, as I find the softness of this clay creates a nice texture and is useful for counteracting the saltiness of the bicarb, which took a little getting used to at first.
I made my first batch with a few drops of lemon, ginger and melaleuca essential oils. This was yummy! We’ve since used peppermint (the current favourite) and in my last batch I added some cinnamon powder … perhaps a bit too much as it tastes a little like brushing my teeth with a muffin.