Goodbye to conventional toothpaste

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Earlier this week, at a visit to the dentist (I go religiously every six months – don’t you?) I was informed that I had the early stages of periodontisis by two of my teeth and that both she and I needed to keep a keen eye on developments.

Now, I have two criteria for wanting to go on living:

  1. I want to be able to travel on my own, schlepping my own luggage unaided, to cities both new to me and old faithfuls, and get around mostly by walking. Once that is no longer the case, I don’t want to live any longer.
  2. If I ever need dentures, I will also lose the will to live.

I therefore decided to no longer procrastinate on something I have been thinking about for a long time.

At the same time, and slightly unrelated, except it all has to do with oral and dental hygiene, it has always annoyed me that conventional toothpaste has to contain many chemicals that have no anti-bacterial or other tooth-cleaning purposes but are only there to give it a fresh taste. Or to make the toothpaste look white as the driven snow (or – even worse – give it stripes in other colours). Or to make the toothpaste lather up. Full stop. We do, after all, churn these poisonous substances into our system via the mouth, and subsequently spit the leftovers out into the environment.

Then, with all the recent writings that some of these chemicals are potentially carcinogenic, I decided to say goodbye to conventional toothpaste, at least till the next visit to the dentist.

I immediately bought three so-called ‘natural’ toothpastes (although it always annoys me to shop in Denmark, especially in health-food shops. In future I will be more organised and buy them in Berlin where I try to do most of my shopping anyway, since all these things cost about a third there of what they cost in Denmark): I have started out with the brands Lavera, Sante Naturkosmetik, and Dr Organic.

I have also made a homemade toothpaste: 3 tblsp organic, cold-pressed coconut oil, 2 tblsp bicarbonate of soda, and at least 6 drops of essential oil (in this case peppermint, but any essential oil will do, since it is only in order to add some flavour).

And finally, I have started to ‘oilpull’ – swish a spoonful of organic, cold-pressed oil around in your mouth for at least ten, preferably 15 or even 20 minutes, first thing each morning. Coconut oil is by all accounts the most anti-bacterial, but sesame oil and olive oil are also mentioned as suitable. (Just remember they have to be cold-pressed and not the roasted variety often available in the case of sesame oil).

My main interest will be to see if it makes any difference at all on the early stages of periodontisis. On the mighty www, people report whiter teeth, fewer cavities, and clearer tongue after making this switch, especially with oilpulling, so I have even taken “before” photos of my teeth and tongue, but they are not flattering and will never be published, so in case I am able to report any – hopefully positive – changes in six months’ time after my next visit to the dentist, you will just have to take my word for it.