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Sunday, 12 September 2010

Homemade toothpaste

As a little follow up to the last photo on the last post, here my thoughts on teeth. Any dentists out there are welcome to disagree with me and butt in with their comments, but I am very cynical about their profession.

Like any good boy I have always been told by my teachers and parents that it is vitally important to go to the dentist regularly at least every 6 months, whether you have a toothache or not. So I did for the first 21 years of my life. I never actually suffered from toothaches, except during actual visits to dentists. In those days they didn't give you any anaesthetic for some mere drilling, only for pulling.

In my experience at every visit to the dentist he always found something: "aahh, you have a bit of caries on your upper left molar. We need to drill that out and give you a filling." Next visit he'd have to replace that filling, drill out some more caries and start on a different tooth. Once he finished off my milkteeth in that matter, he started off on my adult teeth. Two of my molars he had managed to hollow out so much that they finally collapsed and he had to pull or rather extract them bit by bit. Much to my relief at the time as that would stop him drilling in them. The other plus was that that made some room for my wisdom teeth.

My last regular visit to this dentist was before a 6 month trip to India. I felt I better have my teeth looked at before trusting some village jaw breaker in a developing country. As a farewell present I got my one remaing molar filling replaced and the neighbouring tooth drilled into and filled.

Nothing happened in India. When I came back I moved to another city and I decided to give dentists a bit of a rest. 15 years later, I was falling into the same trap and tried encouraging my step-daughter to visit the dentist regularly, problems or no. She quite rightly pointed out to me that she never noticed me going, so I decided to register with a dentist for the first time in England.

This time round it turned out to be a rather attractive female Swedish dentist, which almost convinced me that I should go more regularly. When I answered 15 years to the usual dentist question: "how long since your last visit?", she looked rather taken back. "We better X-ray your teeth to see what's wrong with them". They didn't do that sort of thing last time I had gone.

Much to her disappointment, the X-ray didn't show any problems at all, so she proceeded in polishing my teeth (another novelty since my last visit) with a fancy machine and urged me to come back in 6 months time. I would have, if it hadn't been for the fact that free dental care had also become a thing of the past and I got charged £50 for nothing.

Since then I've had a problem some 3 years back when I bit onto an unpopped popcorn with my damaged molar (damaged by my original dentist now almost 30 years ago!). The outer wall is now slowly crumbling away and I get food trapped in there, which occasionally leads to infections. I went to see a Dutch dentist in Italy one day when this was particularly bad and she put a provisional filling in, which has now disappeared again. I find now that as long as I keep that tooth clean I have no problems.

Anyway, cut a long story short, I reckon dentist are just after your dosh when they tell you to come back every 6 months and they actually make the problems worse. And for toothepaste this is what we now do rather than buy unindentifiable crap from pharma concerns.

I mix up 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 a teaspoon of coarse sea salt, a teaspoon of dried mint and 4 or 5 fresh sage leaves and pulp them to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.

Apply onto a wet tooth brush and brush your teeth. Sage is said to whiten teeth and strengthen gums. Dried mint freshens the breath. And if all else fails, chew some spilanthe.


Laura said...

I've been reading evidence that the sodium fluoride in most toothpastes can actually be harmful for your teeth!
So I've switched to a lovely rosemary, sea salt and mineral toothpaste. Now I can't use normal toothpaste - it tastes all chemical-y and I find the foaming action gross!

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

I'm funny. I like to brush my teeth in the shower. My husband pulls the toothpaste out of the shower frequently so that he can brush his teeth over the sink, so frequently I go without toothpaste at all. Seems to clean fine without it. I wonder if we truly need toothpaste at all?

Ayak said...

I'm in total agreement with you. When I lived in England I visited the dentis every 6 months and always had to have something done. Since I moved to Turkey I only go when I actually need something done. Eg I had some crowns replaced and a wisdom tooth removed. Although treatment here is relatively cheap, the dentists also try to encourage you to have work done that's not really necessary, in my opinion. I saw a dentist about 6 weeks ago because of a crumbling tooth (similar to yours) the jagged edge of which was causing me to bite the inside of my mouth. He filed it down and it was fine. I then had a scale and polish. But he was suggesting I not only had the crumbly tooth crowned but bridgework to fill a gap next to it, which you can't see and doesn't bother me, and a crown on a tooth above it.

Because we simply can't afford it at the moment I told him I would be back when our finances were in a better state. Well I haven't been back, and I have no problems now...and I've saved myself 600 lira.
I'm going to try your home-made toothpaste...sounds good.

Jan said...

And I'm sure it'll do just as good a job as conventional toothpaste!

Heiko said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with this view. I thought I might be giving a bad example for the kids here. Welcom Amy to my blog, just popped over to yours. I will carry on following your exploits with interest.

Mr. H. said...

Guess what? Micki is making up a batch of your toothpaste today...sage and all.:) Thanks for the great tip. That last picture of yours makes me drool.:) Have you tried chewing on the flower heads yet, they are really potent.

Heiko said...

Mr.H, well done that woman! I haven't tried chewing the flowers, must try that. I have transplanted one plant to indoors for emergencies. Is it perennial if you keep it frost free?

Heiko said...

I knew that sea salt and soda bicarbonate are good for the teeth, but this is first I see a recipe for toothpaste.
How does it taste like? Salt and soda bicarbonate don't have a very nice taste, but maybe sage and mint improve it.

This was a comments by Vrtlatica which accidentally got deleted. You get used to the flavour just like with any other toothpaste and the herbs do improve it. Just rinse your mouth out well.

Mr. H. said...

Spilanthes is a perennial in the tropics and sub-tropical areas so perhaps yopu will have some luck keeping it alive through the winter. Also, the dried flowers and leaves work just as well as the fresh ones.

Here is an excerpt from an article I read that you might find interesting: "A friend suffering from degenerative gum disease made a habit of dropping a little Spilanthes extract into a glass of clean water, using this as a swish after tooth brushing. She continued with this practice for several months, and then went to her dentist who exclaimed "What have you been doing to make your gums so healthy?!" Whereupon she explained the Spilanthes mouthwash regimen. After trying it himself, he eventually poured all his sweet green liquids down the sink, and started using the diluted Spilanthes, instead. The mode of activity here is quite simply the stimulation of blood circulation to the oral mucosa, in conjunction with a rapid flushing of all the tooth and gum interstices by the freely flowing saliva, and the antibacterial activity of the spilanthol. In this case, we see that the whole herb extract is more useful than any single constituent could ever be, as the effects are synergistic."

From: http://b-and-t-world-seeds.com/Horizon.htm

Heiko said...

Mr H, I wonder if I should add some dried spilanthe to my toothpaste mixture?

Angela said...

Can you tell me the names of all your ingredients in German? I want to try it!

Heiko said...

Backpulver, grobes Salz, getrockene Minze, frisches Salbei. Spilanthe weiss ich nicht, ist'n lateinische Name. Wenn meiner samt schicke ich dir ein paar Samen.

Angela said...

Danke Heiko. Ja, das wäre schön. Darunter kann ich mir gar nichts vostellen, Spilanthe. Aber die anderen Sachen kriege ich zusammen. Klasse, dass Du immer alles auf Deutsch weisst!

Patricia said...

What a great idea, I shall be trying it from now on. Only just discovered your blog, but I love it..

Heiko said...

Welcome to my blog, Patricia.

Ruth Trowbridge said...

I too share this experience or over zealous dentist. Now my teeth chip and the fillings fall out and I am so happy to be rid of them. The first one gave me enough toothache pain to never want it again. Now I am working with 6 teeth chipped and fillingless with no pain. I rinse my mouth with cider vinegar at the hint of discomfort. It always works. I also brush with your mixture but add essential oil of myrrh. An old timer told me that is why it was valuable to give to the baby Jesus. Clove oil takes the pain and infection away. Essential oil of thyme also kills the pain causing bacteria. I am also a shower brusher who sees like use for paste at all. Thanks for this post, we all can stand together on the net. Peace

ps now they market "white strips" that breakdown the enamel on the teeth so teeth are sensitive - now they market toothpaste for sensitive teeth - go figure

pps why believe toothpaste, recommended by dentists, will keep you from going to the dentist when they make their money if you do

Heiko said...

Rose, no doubt many dentists are on commision for recommending tooth past brand X. Thanks for the info on the essential oils. I wonder if these herbs are effective simply used dry, like thyme for instance. I find buying essential oils rather expensive.

Unknown said...

I have started using hydrogen peroxide when a tooth starts bothering me, since it indicates that I'm starting to grow bacteria there. I make sure to leave the tooth immersed in the peorxide for about a minute, then spit it out and rinse thouroughly. I've had no further deterioration of that tooth, and I noticed plaque does not build up. Just a thought.

C L A U D I A said...

Wow! Thank you very much for this. I will have to try to make some too. I bought some sage leaves. :) And will probably continue to do so now that I know that they're good for teeth and gums. I've been just eating and juicing them too. They taste good.

One question though, you mentioned that you just rub the leaf on your teeth, does it matter what side of the leaf?

Thanks again Heiko.

Heiko said...

Claudia, I have no idea. It kind of disintegrates while you do this anywy. Since writing this post I have started refining the recipe by adding some spilanthe (one flower and a few leaves) and fennel seeds (anti-bacterial.

C L A U D I A said...

That is true. Okay then, thank you.

I will keep a look out for spilanthe and fennel seeds as well.


Toronto Dentist said...

Thanks for sharing the blog with us.