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No More Toothpaste

by: Leah Cason

I am NOT a Crest kid.

Flouride is a scary, complicated subject. Not everyone is even interested in listening to all the argued "blah blah" about it's origins and the damage it can cause when ingested or otherwise absorbed into our systems. Almost 7 years ago, I woke up to the reality that flouride, whether swallowed or not, could still impact our health through our gums or when consumed in our foods. According to various studies, the dangerous effects of over exposure range from reproductive harm (studied in rabbits) to neurological damage and lowered thyroid function in human adults and even bone cancer in boys.

When I realized that the majority of our most popular brands of toothpaste include this highly controversial ingredient, I began searching for something that would free me from at least this one source. Of course, it is still in our tap water and can be found in a variety of products I did not suspect, but that is a topic I may tackle another day. Ultimately, I decided toothpaste just wasn't on my list of wants, or needs, so I chose a more natural route.

So, what do I do instead?

Now, my daily routine consists of swishing a mix of 1 tablespoon of organic, raw coconut oil and about 13 drops of pure tea tree oil for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. When I'm done, I spit the oil out, either into an empty water bottle or the trash to prevent clogging the pipes of my sink or toilet. (NEVER swallow the oil because any toxins collected in it can give you a sore throat or stomach ache! Yes, this has happened to me and it was not pleasant.) As a follow up, I brush with Bob's Red Mill Pure Baking Soda or plain water. Either way, my mouth has never felt cleaner!

Was this a weird transition, initially? Yes, for more than one reason. For starters, the oil certainly does not offer that mouthwash burn and was a seriously weird experience the first few times. Adding the Tea Tree oil (which also kills bacteria) helped with the freshness taste, though. Secondly, baking soda does not have that nice, minty flavor I was used to. It leaves a more salty taste and I was not prepared. However, with this change, I immediately noticed a healthier, whole-mouth look and feel: the red, swollen, tender areas of my gums were soothed; there was little to no plaque between my teeth when I flossed; and I didn't feel like I was missing any spots.

There are some truly awesome health benefits to oil pulling, but I would not recommend it to everyone. A few of my family members tried it and were pretty disgusted...whoops. On the other hand, I do highly suggest at least looking for natural toothpaste or replacements that work for you; flouride (and other ingredients like formaldehyde, ugh) is not something we will ever suddenly need more of. This list of 12 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives is a great place to start!

What about you?

Have you tried oil pulling? Did you notice any changes? Please share your experience with us ♥

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