Our first experience with an all-natural toothpaste was a couple of years ago when I took my son, then 5 years old, to the dentist. He had more cavities than candles on his birthday cake and I was devastated.
Our diet was good. There was very little processed food and we bought the highest quality real foods we could afford.
My son has always been my fruit and vegetable kid, choosing clementines over cupcakes and making requests for olives while grocery shopping. So when the dentist said it was because of too much juice (which we typically don’t buy) and too many snack-y foods like goldfish and graham crackers (which we also don’t buy), I knew her comments based on conventional dentist knowledge were wrong.
Around the same time, my husband was diagnosed with periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. He was 26 years old, and while his habits in college weren’t exactly the best, I wouldn’t have considered him an unhealthy person. He rode his bike to work, ate good food like the rest of us, and didn’t smoke or drink soda.
But between the cavities in my 5 year-old and gum disease in my husband, clearly, there was a bigger problem at hand.
When Real Food Isn’t Enough for Healthy Gums
All Natural Toothpaste
With real food already in play, we turned to our dental routine and switched to an all-natural toothpaste. We tried Earthpaste first, which is based on bentonite clay and contains no fluoride, glycerin, artificial colors, or foaming agents.
Earthpaste has just a few ingredients: clay, water, essential oils, real salt (for taste and minerals) and xylitol (for dental health and flavor). It’s safe enough to eat (which is a huge plus when you’re dealing with kids) and the customer reviews were raving. I hadn’t heard a single bad thing about it, so I figured it was worth a shot.
Brushing with Earthpaste is an entirely different experience than brushing with typical toothpaste.
First, it’s brown. To me, thinking that a brown toothpaste will clean your teeth is weird.
Second, it doesn’t foam. At all. It’s almost as if the toothpaste disappears after you’ve been brushing awhile… but you know it doesn’t because you haven’t swallowed it. It’s weird.
The strangest part though, is that it gave us the cleanest, freshest mouths we’d EVER had.
We were sold on that first brushing, and I threw out every other conventional tube of toothpaste in our house that weekend – including all the free samples we from dentists and mail-offers over the years – and never looked back.
Homemade Natural Toothpaste
We used Earthpaste faithfully for about nine months and even cut the ends off the tubes to scrape out every last bit. When we ran out, I tested the waters of making our own toothpaste using bentonite clay (the same clay that Earthpaste is made of) and we loved that version even more. It’s super easy to make, we can make it in any flavor we want (orange is my favorite – it tastes like an orange tic tac!) AND it costs 60% less.
In this time frame of using Earthpaste and eventually switching to our own homemade toothpaste, my husband worked on healing his gum disease naturally and we had some of my son’s cavities filled. We know that natural remedies for good health is more of a life-long commitment than an overnight fix, so we struck a balance by fixing immediate concerns now and implementing new routines for good dental health going forward.
Meanwhile, I stopped going to the dentist.
A Simple Daily Routine for Healthy Gums
Let me clarify. This wasn’t a conscious decision. This was more like the side-effect of being a busy work-at-home mom who homeschools her two children and juggles a full schedule on a weekly basis. Our dentist is 45 minutes away, and with a pretty full schedule as it is, no day was ever a good day to go to the dentist.
So I didn’t. I took my son to have his teeth cared for and I supported my husband in his quest to heal his mouth. All while mostly neglecting my own.
My Original Routine
For about two years, my dental routine consisted of faithfully brushing my teeth every morning with our homemade toothpaste. I brushed my teeth on the nights when there was just enough energy left to stand in front of the sink for two minutes… but that didn’t happen very often.
I flossed occasionally with non-fancy mint dental floss, but never enough for it to become a habit.
When my husband got his clean bill of health from the dentist, he told me it was my turn. I procrastinated, knowing that I hadn’t been taking care of my teeth as I should have and that my teeth were not in “going-to-the-dentist” shape. Plus there STILL was never a good time to spend half the day driving to and from the dentist with two kids in tow.
About six months later, when I still hadn’t made an appointment, Mr. Crumbs lovingly took matters into his own hands. He called the dentist, made an appointment for himself, and then immediately made an appointment for me too.
I was stunned. Shocked! Who does this man think he is, making a dentist appointment for me? Doesn’t he know that I’m too busy taking care of the house and the kids and this blog to go to the dentist?!
But I knew he was doing it for my own good, and my issue wasn’t with him – it was with me. I hadn’t been taking care of my own teeth and I didn’t want to confess this to the dentist.
Actually, I didn’t have to confess it. They’d take one look and see that the lack of effort I’d put into my mouth. It was embarrassing.
My Improved Routine
With the big appointment a month away, I finally put effort into my dental health.
- I brushed every morning and every night, still faithfully using my homemade toothpaste.
- I flossed on a daily basis, making sure to really get out all the particles stuck in between my teeth instead of a quick swipe of the floss.
- Sometimes I brushed a second time after flossing, just to be doubly sure my mouth was as clean as I could make it before bed.
And then the day came.
The hygienist asked me if I had been flossing regularly. I said yes, but that it was a fairly new habit. I confessed that I hadn’t flossed my teeth regularly for a long time.
She asked me more about my dental routine, and I told her about our homemade clay-based toothpaste. She smiled, and said she had only heard of one other person who made their own toothpaste.
The hygienist continued to clean my teeth, took x-rays and then called the dentist in.
I braced myself for bad news.
The Dentist’s Opinion
He took a look at the x-rays, looked in my mouth and said,
For someone who hasn’t been to the dentist in two years, your mouth looks pretty good! I don’t see any issues. We’ll see you again in six months!
I sat there with a huge smile on my face, feeling as if I just cheated death-by-cavity by the skin of my teeth.
No pun intended.
After the dentist had left, I asked the hygienist if she thought it was weird that I made my own toothpaste. Here’s what she said.
We have another patient whose teeth were in pretty bad shape and had gum disease. He used clay too, possibly packing it in his mouth or maybe in a toothpaste, and all of us in the office where shocked when he came back for his follow-up appointment and found no issues with his mouth. It was as if there was never a problem in the first place, which is practically impossible given how bad his mouth was.
That patient she was talking about? Was my husband!
Our Secret to Healthy Gums and Teeth
I admit that we’re not perfect in our dental routine. Some nights I go to bed without brushing my teeth.
If one of the kids moves the dental floss to the play kitchen… or to the pitched tent in the living room… or pretends it’s a present and wraps it in a box and puts it under the Christmas tree… I don’t necessarily muster the energy and go on a scavenger hunt for it that night.
I just go to bed.
But despite my shortcomings, I am convinced that bentonite clay has been pivotal in our dental health for two major reasons:
- The shape of the clay attracts toxins in two ways, through adsorption and absorption, and removes them from the mouth and body.
- It’s full of natural minerals, replenishing those lost in the daily grind and helping to restore the health of our teeth.
The fact that I didn’t go to the dentist for two years, neglected my teeth and gums and STILL didn’t have any cavities shows me that clay toothpaste is good for my dental health.
It also confirms what my gut tells me about fluoride not helping dental health: Conventional toothpastes don’t really help or heal or offer anything positive for teeth, and that the glycerin found in conventional toothpastes might actually prevent the teeth from healing, despite a real food diet.
Here’s the best part though: Bentonite clay is incredibly affordable.
Where to Find Bentonite Clay
One 10 oz tub will last you seemingly forever. I’ve had one jar for well over a year and I’ve made several batches of homemade toothpaste AND I’ve started adding bentonite clay to my homemade tinted moisturizer and powdered foundation. When the 10 oz tub is $10 or less (which happens pretty frequently), that’s your buy price. It’s SO much more affordable than buying toothpaste, and it’s multi-functional too!
One thing to note: I get questions all the time about the Proposition 65 and lead warning labels on Redmond Clay. I did some research and found what they have to say about it. Check it out here.
What steps have you taken for natural dental health? Have you tried clay toothpaste before? How do you feel about fluoride, glycerin and typical conventional toothpastes?
More Ways to Heal & Care for Your Body Naturally, at Home
- Reset high blood pressure with a 10 day water fast
- Remove a Mole with Apple Cider Vinegar
- How to Heal a Spider Bite with a Potato
- Homemade face lotion bar
- Homemade Tinted Moisturizer
- DIY Homemade Facial Cleanser
- Heal acne naturally
- Homemade Powdered Foundation
- Heal gum disease naturally
- Homemade shampoo bar
- Homemade lip balm and lip scrub
This post is sponsored by Redmond Clay. Obviously, I love Redmond Clay and have been using their products in my home long before this blog was born. As always, I would never recommend anything on Crumbs that I wouldn’t recommend to a close friend or neighbor, and all opinions here are my own.