Frugal yet Eco-Friendly Toothpaste

Well, I looked into toothpastes and what I found was a tad disturbing.

So you know that fluoride for example, is taught to be good for your teeth to strengthen it, and is actually already present in our water that we drink… turns out to be a hotly debated topic in terms of its impact on the environment?

I had no idea! Apparently fluoride is a cumulative poison.

Over the past two years in the United States, people have started to notice the word “poison” on their fluoridated toothpaste labels, as well as a warning to contact a poison-control centre immediately if more than what should be used for brushing is accidentally swallowed!

Canada doesn’t have such warnings, although fluoride remains one of the most toxic substances known to man–between arsenic and lead on the toxicity scale–and is the subject of great scrutiny in the US as well as in some parts of Canada.

Some health professionals fear that a large number of children, especially those residing in areas with fluoridated tap water, are over-fluoridated. This results in dental fluorosis which has no warning signs. Mottled spots on teeth start off white, then turn brown. Teeth become weak and brittle. They also chip and decay more easily.

(Source: Read more about the fact that fluoride is in EVERYTHING we drink/eat here)

Wow. I immediately tossed our toothpaste reading that. I’ll switch to baking soda, thank you!

Not only that: you’d think it’s mostly baking soda, fluoride and some flavour, but these are all the chemicals present in toothpaste:

  • Triclosan (registered pesticide, used as an antibacterial and antifungal agent and can destroy fragile aquatic ecosystems)
  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) (okay)
  • Detergents (Eww…)
  • Binding agents (used to hold the ingredients together)
  • Humectants (used as like a moisturizing agent)
  • Artificial flavoring (never any good as I don’t care for flavour)
  • Artificial colors (never any good because it’s extra colour for nothing)
  • Preservatives such as Methylparaben and Ethylparaben (parabens are hotly debated to have disrupted hormones in animals …and I think we come close to being animals)
  • Pyrophosphate
  • Potassium nitrate (an aquatic environmental nasty)
  • Lauryl sarcosinate
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Polypropylene glycol
  • Sodium saccharin/aspartame (aspartame used in artificial sweeteners are thought to cause headaches and cancer)

One little blob of toothpaste used every night could be harmless.

But take us, at least twice a day (for me anyway), for an entire year, multiplied by a millions of us and you’ve got a problem. I used to go through around a tube a month, so that’s 6 tubes a year for me, alone!

So what am I saying?

Don’t give up on brushing, by all means! Gawd. Don’t show this one to children.

Dental hygiene is EXTREMELY important and can save you insane amounts of money each year in health bills

They say healthy teeth leads to a healthy set of organs because we won’t be dripping bacteria from our teeth down with our saliva into our internal system…eww, right?

So what can you do?


Your toothbrush, no matter how sexy and powerful it is, CANNOT get in between your teeth the way a piece of floss can. And there is a plethora of hidden bacteria between your teeth.

Don’t believe the hype about fluoride. If you want some, you’ve got it. It’s in our tap water.

There are many fluoride free toothpastes out there, but if you want to go all cheapie here are a couple of recipes:

1. Aluminimum free Baking Soda and/or Salt (salt is a great cleanser and used by dentists to make you swish to disinfect your mouth), with peppermint oil if you must.

2. Plain old Aluminimum free Baking Soda if you can stand the taste.

3. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

4. No toothpaste at all*

*I am not sure about option #4, but BF has apparently brushed and flossed for 20 years before he discovered toothpaste, and he has never had a cavity, root canal nor any other problems.

Where he IS fantastic, is in the flossing department.

BF is like a flossing demon.

He flosses EVERY TIME he eats and he refuses to snack because he’ll make himself floss and brush again.

You can also save on the packaging because if you buy baking soda or salt anyway, you don’t need to buy another fancy coloured tube that promises to whiten, strengthen, and make your teeth glow like Christmas lights.

Besides, all that whitening stuff is NOT good for your teeth. It actually erodes the enamel on your teeth because it’s trying to bleach your teeth from its natural pale yellow into an unnatural white. This means it’s almost stripping a layer off your teeth, AND bleaching it to boot.

Bleach has never been a friend of anyone. It’s just for appearances anyway.

There’s a lot to think about and research. Naturally, this may all be some serious hype by some over sensitive activists, but it’s better to learn both sides of the issue before deciding that they’re all whack jobs.

And just because I like to tell you something that’ll stick in your heads:

The ancient Romans found that a mixture of sand and urine did a great job of cleaning the teeth – the sand was an abrasive to rub off that furry feeling, and the ammonia in the urine served as an astringent mouthwash.

Colgate simply embellished the concept with sweetening, odorising, colourising and lubricating agents – all of which we can do without — plus occasional fluoride, which we already get in the water.

Yup. Baking soda sounds good to me right about now……… *shudder*

I can just imagine them:

“So, should we brush our teeth again today?….”

“Nahhh.. the flavour leaves something to be desired, don’t you think?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.