Toothpaste is a must for a squeaky clean mouth. It kills bacteria that causes bad breath, gum disease, and cavities! In exchange, you’ll get… toxic chemicals? Sadly, this is the case with multiple commercial toothpaste brands. It’s a pretty good reason to make a natural version instead.
How To Make Natural Peppermint Toothpaste
The ingredients in this DIY toothpaste can keep your teeth healthy and strong in many ways. Coconut oil can kill Streptococcus mutans, the most common bacteria that causes cavities.1 Baking soda is a cheap and natural whitener, while neem is a strong antimicrobial.2 Adding xylitol to this combination decreases both plaque and gum inflammation.3 Finally, peppermint oil adds an extra dose of freshness!
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon neem powder
- 1 tablespoon xylitol
- 1 or 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
- In a small container, combine all the ingredients.
- Mix until it forms a paste.
- Apply on your teeth with a small popsicle stick or spoon.
- After each use, rinse with water.
As with commercial toothpaste, do not swallow this mixture. It might be natural, but it shouldn’t be consumed. Store the toothpaste at room temperature. Otherwise, the coconut oil may harden or melt, making your toothpaste unusable.
What’s Wrong With Commercial Toothpaste?
The chemical in question here is triclosan. This ingredient is used in toothpaste to prevent or limit bacterial contamination. Sometimes, it’s also added to body wash, antibacterial soaps, and cosmetics. Seems like a smart move, right? Not necessarily. High exposure to triclosan has been linked to the following problems.
1. Disrupts Hormone Levels
In animals, triclosan has been found to decrease thyroid hormone levels. A similar effect was found in humans in a 2017 study in Environmental Health Perspectives that included 398 pregnant women.
Researchers measured maternal triclosan exposure in urine and blood and compared the measurements to the thyroid levels in the mothers and newborns. The result? An inverse association linking higher triclosan levels to lower thyroid hormone in both mothers and babies. This might affect a child’s neurobehavioral development.4
In general, low levels are bad news. The thyroid hormone controls countless functions, from metabolism to digestion. Possible symptoms here include muscle pain, mysterious weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and feeling cold when other people aren’t. Feeling tired and sluggish is an early sign.5
2. Promotes Resistant Bacteria
Triclosan’s job is to kill harmful bacteria, or at least keep it under control. However, there’s a growing concern around bacteria that are actually resistant to the chemical. This means triclosan can alter hormones without even doing its job.
Normally, triclosan stops enzymes that bacteria need for their cell structures. It seems like a good thing, but at the same time, triclosan “occupies” part of the cell. As a result, the bacteria become resistant and are never completely damaged.6
3. Might Eventually Lead To Cancer
The link between triclosan and cancer is unclear. Animal studies haven’t been consistent, and the relationship is yet to be studied in humans. At the moment, animal studies are being done on triclosan’s role in skin cancer.7
|↑1||Peedikayil, Faizal C., Vimal Remy, Seena John, T. P. Chandru, Prathima Sreenivasan, and Gufran Ahmed Bijapur. “Comparison of antibacterial efficacy of coconut oil and chlorhexidine on Streptococcus mutans: An in vivo study.” Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry 6, no. 5 (2016): 447.|
|↑2||Kanth, M. Rajini, A. Ravi Prakash, G. Sreenath, Vikram Simha Reddy, and S. Huldah. “Efficacy of Specific Plant Products on Microorganisms Causing Dental Caries.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 10, no. 12 (2016): ZM01.|
|↑3||Maden, Eda Arat, Ceyhan Altun, and Cengizhan Açikel. “The Efficacy of Xylitol, Xylitol-Probiotic and Fluoride Dentifrices in Plaque Reduction and Gingival Inflammation in Children: A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial.” Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry 15, no. 2 (2017).|
|↑4||Wang, Xu, Fengxiu Ouyang, Liping Feng, Xia Wang, Zhiwei Liu, and Jun Zhang. “Maternal Urinary Triclosan Concentration in Relation to Maternal and Neonatal Thyroid Hormone Levels: A Prospective Study.” Environmental Health Perspectives 67017 (2017): 1.|
|↑5||Thyroid disease. WomensHealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health.|
|↑6||Saleh, S., R. N. S. Haddadin, S. Baillie, and Phillip J. Collier. “Triclosan–an update.” Letters in applied microbiology 52, no. 2 (2011): 87-95.|
|↑7||5 Things To Know About Triclosan. United States Food & Drug Administration.|