The Ultimate Homemade Toothpaste

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The beauty about switching to a more natural choice for health and body care is that you open yourself to the option, in many cases, to be able to make it or buy it.
Some of us are extremely busy and prefer to head to the local health store and pick something up. I am often that way myself, especially until I have done the research to find the best way to make it. Enter natural toothpaste. I have to admit, I didn’t decide to switch because of the “great fluoride debate.” Instead, I wanted to access all of the amazing natural solutions there are for healthy, clean teeth without the processed items in commercial toothpaste.

My first try was pretty nasty-a blob of coconut oil mashed up with baking soda and a bit of stevia to sweeten it. My teeth felt clean but it tasted awful. Not to mention the fact that there weren’t many dental benefits to the mixture. So I started to look into it and found that there were so many options to make the switch from toothpaste. Some use the simple coconut oil/baking soda mix, some use a bar of soap (imagine the taste!), and others got really complicated!
I like to think that my recipe is the middle of the line. I was going to include calcium carbonate, and even found a recipe to make my own powder using egg shells…and then the egg shells broke my coffee grinder…so that was out. This recipe doesn’t make you ruin your only ticket to daily caffeine! If you can find calcium carbonate already powdered, feel free to use it in place of some of the baking soda.

The Ingredients:

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Coconut oil: This is key for developing the toothpaste texture. I also like to think when I brush with coconut oil I am getting some similar benefits to oil pulling.

Baking soda: Used to help scrub the teeth clean. Some people believe it is too abrasive, but overall it isn’t any more abrasive than other toothpaste ingredients. If you want to, feel free to use half baking soda and half calcium carbonate powder for a less abrasive paste.

Xylitol: Here it is – the wonder-paste ingredient! Xylitol helps to “remineralize” teeth. It also helps to prevent cavities and achieves this by slowing bacteria growth in the mouth, which decreases plaque and cavities! As a wonderful bonus, Xylitol sweetens the toothpaste without adding sugar!

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap: Don’t judge. Remember, there are people scraping a toothbrush across a bar of soap and brushing with it. I used it in my recipe because it helps to scrub things clean, it adds that “foaming effect” we all love our toothpaste to have, and the peppermint kind doesn’t taste very soapy. Yes I put some on my finger and licked it. It was minty. And the bottle says you can – so there.

Essential Oils: Of course these are in here! This is where you get to customize your toothpaste!

Peppermint: Prevents bad breath, antiseptic.
Cinnamon: Prevents bad breath, helps with mild sensitivity, fights bacteria.
Clove: Excellent for teeth with greater sensitivity. Dentists actually use clove oil as a numbing agent! If you have a toothache you can apply clove oil directly to the affected area!
Tea Tree: Prevents bad breath, helps with gum disease, gingivitis and inflammation, fights bacteria. If you can stand the taste! Pregnant or breast feeding women, and also children, should avoid tea tree oil.
* Remember, use essential oils sparingly, excessive amounts may cause irritation. Some people are sensitive or allergic to certain essential oils. Always make sure you use essential oils that are safe to ingest – some are processed and marked as external use only. Your health food store should be able to help you find the right quality.

The Recipe (yes, I made you read all that to get here):

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons xylitol
1 1/2 tsp Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap
3-4 drops of your choice of essential oils (total combined-I used cinnamon but need to make a peppermint batch for Picky Husband)

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Mash the coconut oil, baking soda and xylitol together until blended. Add Castile soap and oils and mix until smooth. If required, add in a few drops of water until you reach the consistency you like.
The toothpaste will have a slightly grittier texture from the xylitol. If you are like Picky Husband you can grind it in a spice grinder until it is finer.

This recipe fits wonderfully into a clean soap dispenser or a squeeze tube. You will want something with a wider opening so it is easier to fill. You can put it in a jar and then stick your dirty toothbrush into your clean batch of toothpaste if you want…but isn’t the whole point here to reduce bacteria?

Now go brush your teeth! And share – what was your essential oil blend? Have we won you to the green side?

 
– This post was written by Aubrey

My Medicine Cabinet Makeover

I’m a bleach girl. My Mum cleaned with bleach, and I always knew when she had just cleaned the house because our house smelled like a swimming pool. So, naturally, when I moved out I bought bleach and started cleaning with that too. Enter pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Abigail I started reading every pregnancy blog under the sun. I quickly learned that inhaling toxic chemicals was not a good idea, especially when pregnant. I remembered reading a blog post by our very own Aubrey about natural cleaners, so I texted her asking her for details and made up some of my own cleaners and ditched the store bought chemicals. Slowly throughout my pregnancy and after Abigail was born, I started to read research ways that I could rid our household of scary chemicals and unnecessary drugs etc. My medicine cabinet was one place that I tackled right before Abigail was born. Thankfully I had a fantastic naturopath doctor to help me. He was really great about helping me find lots of natural remedies, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourites:

 

Colloidal Silver: This stuff is a powerful antibacterial and is great for ear infections, pink eye, styes and even sinus infections. Just spray it in your eye or ears–you can even put it in water to fight off colds or the flu. 

 

Oil of Oregano: My mother-in-law swears by this stuff. If I’m at her house with a cold, I do my best to hide it from her because without a doubt she tries to get me to drink some. It taste AWFUL, but I have to admit that this powerful antibacterial works! Use it if you feel a cold or flu coming on! My mother-in-law squirts a few drops on yogurt and ingests it that way. 

 

Oscillococcinum: This homeopathic remedy is great for the whole family-even babies! Take Oscillococcinum as soon as you start feeling run down or have other flu-like symptoms like the chills, or a headache! 

 

Arnica: I love this stuff! It was my best friend post-partum after Abigail was born.  It is WONDERFUL for bruising and swelling, but it is also great for emotional or physical shock and can be taken internally. 

 

Olbas Oil: This essential oil blend is lovely for clearing sinuses and I’ve found it works so much better than over the counter nasal sprays! 

 

Lavender Oil: Another great essential oil to keep handy, especially with active toddlers!  It is great for cuts and bruises and can be put directly on the affected area. Lavender oil is also good for acne. 

 

Tea tree oil: I LOVE the smell of tea tree oil (weird, I know, but I can’t help it). This is a potent antibacterial disinfectant and needs to be diluted. It can be used for acne treatment, a sore throat and congestion. It can even be used for dandruff and lice. The list of tea tree oil uses is extensive, but tea tree oil should be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  

 

Probiotics: Probiotics are wonderful! I’ve been taking acidophilus for years!  Probiotics are good bacteria that when eaten in the right amount have many health benefits. Once in the colon, the bacteria multiply and help to keep a balance between the good and bad bacteria that live there. Probiotics should be taken if you’re prescribed antibiotics or if you’re trying to treat diarrhoea.

There are a lot more great natural remedies out there, but these are the ones that I am familiar with and work for our family. What about you? Have you tried any of these remedies, or do you have your own personal faves?

*Before trying any of these remedies, it’s always a good idea to consult an ND, pharmacist or (if applicable) your obstetrician.

~Written by Andrea

Natural Treatment Options for Diaper Rash

Diaper rash. Something every little one is probably going to experience at least once in their diaper wearing lifetime. And, if you’re a mom I’m sure you know, it is no fun for anyone. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to deal with my first bout of rashiness until my son was almost 1! We had gone on a long roadtrip, and sure enough, before we made it back home it had begun to spread pretty bad. I did use Penaten in the beginning. My mom (and most moms from her generation I think) swear by it. But it didn’t work very well for me at all. The rash lingered. My son had his 1 year well baby visit soon after so I showed it to the doctor, and she said it looked like it could be a yeast rash and to try using the over the counter yeast infection cream I would use for myself. Well, I don’t use it and I wasn’t about to use it on my son if I could find a better alternative. So, I set off on a hunt for some natural alternatives for treating the yeast (and regular) diaper rash. I am happy to say that it was fairly easy and the options are pretty diverse. So, instead of detailing my journey, I’m just going share with you what I found has worked out best for my son and I!

 

IMG_26171. Coconut oil – virgin, unrefined is best. This is a great alternative for Vaseline as a moisture barrier and awesome for minor rashes. Mix a bit of topical grade vitamin E in with it and it works even better! And, it’s cloth diaper friendly. But, if you do mix in the vitamin E don’t let your little one get it in his mouth as that type of vitamin E is not meant to be ingested. If you have a pretty fantastic rash to deal with though, I find you’ll need to use some other tactics as well.

 

 

 

2. I’m sure you’ve heard it before but I’m going to say it again – let them have lots of, what we call in our house, naked bum time! Let them have at least 15 minutes a day, and let their bums dry after being wiped before putting that clean diaper on.

 

IMG_26243. Natural fibres (my favourite is hemp)!! If you cloth diaper, and this is an option for you (I’m in no way saying run out and buy more diapers!) use natural fibres. I have a lot of info and opinions about natural vs synthetic (I sewed all my own diapers and used both!) and if you ever wanted to have a discussion or ask questions I’d love to chat with you! But, for today, I will make just one point. Polyester is a petroleum product – not eco-friendly at all. I know it’s hard to get away from it when cloth diapering, and obviously cloth diapering is much better for the environment (and baby’s bottom) either way, but I like to keep my use of synthetics to a minimum i.e. only in the covers. Natural fibres breathe and this is oh so important when it comes to treating and keeping that nasty rash away. If you have wool covers use them as much as you can while the rash is around!

 

4. Don’t use throw away wipes – at all if you can. If you do use them, try to get ones without alcohol as it can not only be painful on baby’s bum, but  it also dries out the skin and aggravates rashes.

 

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5. Use a cloth wipe solution that contains antibacterial and/or anti-fungal essential oils with your wipes. Zany Zebra has several nice ones to try here. I make the Olive n’ Tea Tree Oil solution. Once I’ve mixed it up I store it in glass jars. I dilute it down to 3:1 water to solution and it still works great. I use it periodically rash or not (I basically alternate with pure water back and forth) and to be honest, since I started using it my son hasn’t had a single diaper rash so it must work pretty well!

 

 

 

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6. Finally, Apple Cider Vinegar (organic with the ‘mother’) and raw garlic are an amazing defense for yeast rashes. Crush one raw clove of garlic with 2 tbsp of ACV into 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water. Let it sit for at least half an hour before using. You’ll want to store it in something with a wide mouth. After you’ve cleaned your little one’s bum you pat the solution on to the rash with a cloth. Let it dry a bit before putting on the diaper. The garlic and ACV help kill the yeast. It will eventually start to dry out baby’s bum though, so I like to alternate each diaper change with coconut oil.

 

There are so many more safe and effective alternatives (sometimes more so than the ‘traditional’ routes) than the ones I’ve listed here. What are some of your go to treatments for diaper rash?

-Written by Nicole