According to www.wisegeek.com, "Many people in developed nations prefer to use toothpaste, which is simply hydrated powder in a tube". That puts things in perspective. This website also mentions the following: "While dental hygiene has improved immensely over the ages, tooth powder has actually been around for quite a long time. The Egyptians used it, for example, as the did ancient Asian cultures. Europeans tended to use plain toothbrushes with no water until around the 1800s, when cleaning powders became popular. Many people made their own, and some commercial preparations were actually quite dangerous, due to the use of toxic filler ingredients. Toothpaste began to be marketed in the late 1800s, although it did not catch on immediately." Obviously, things haven't changed much in terms of the fillers used in commercial pastes!
After checking with my dentist, who said, and I quote, "baking soda is the best thing you can brush with, because it balances the pH in your mouth," I created the following recipe based on a few recipes that I found floating around the internet. I already used Arm and Hammer toothpaste with baking soda in it, so I was already used to the salty flavor of the ingredient. This recipe is actually very palatable; the mint and cinnamon flavor is very reminiscent of the flavor of regular toothpastes (and the cinnamon fights microbes in the mouth). Also, you can just increase the amount of baking soda in the recipe if you don't have any calcium powder handy (I took calcium supplement tablets and ground them in a spice grinder). The calcium is meant to be "remineralizing", but I really don't know how accurate that claim is. One thing to keep in mind, though - I have heard that baking soda can exacerbate high blood pressure when used daily or multiple times daily as a tooth powder, so if you have high blood pressure, this might not be for you.
I initially started using the tooth powder a few times a week at nighttime and my regular toothpaste at all other times, and slowly increased how much I used the powder as I got used to it. I absolutely love it - it leaves my teeth feeling extremely clean! At my most recent dental cleaning, the hygienist told me that I didn't have much plaque build-up at all (which isn't usually the case for me), and no cavities! So I'd say it does a great job cleaning. Give it a try!
Mint-Cinnamon-Clove-Flavored Tooth Powder
|Homemade Tooth Powder|
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons calcium powder
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
Mix the ingredients together in order in a small bowl. If there are any large granules present, sieve through a tea ball (or any sieve with a very small mesh). Leave the mixture out until the extract has dried. Place in a small container (I used a travel-sized lotion holder with a snap-top lid that I got at the drug store for .50 cents for easy application). Wet toothbrush and pour a small amount of the powder on to brush.
*The powder will stain your brush, but not your teeth :)