How To Use Peppermint To Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Toothpaste
Mint is often said to have the highest antioxidant capacity of any food, and its natural antimicrobial properties make it an ideal natural breathe-freshener. Mouthwash, breath mints, toothpaste, and chewing gum all have one ingredient in common– mint– and this key to pearly-white teeth is easy to grow in any garden.
The cooling effect of mint freshens the mouth and lingers long after ingestion, which makes it an ideal medicinal herb when it comes to “freshening” up. Mint is high in an antioxidant known as rosmarinic acid, which has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties which also make it a gentle cleansing agent. We seek this taste after a meal, after waking up to clean our mouth, and to generally feel refreshed. Regardless of which product we are using, the peppermint herb is a true gem when it comes to oral hygiene.
Historically, peppermint has been known for its medicinal uses, and can be said to be one of the world’s oldest medicines. Because of the presence of menthol and its natural antiseptic qualities, peppermint oil has long been used in dental care.
However, when we buy products that are meant to freshen the mouth, such as chewing gum or mouthwash, most of the time the products contain chemical simulations of the peppermint flavor rather than the true natural herb. (They are also often filled with a host of other noxious chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, glycerin, and dimethicone– a dangerous endocrine disrupter.)
I have found that an easy and fun solution to the problem of “body burden”– the idea that using chemical-laden personal care products can lead to chemical build up in the body– is to create homemade body care products with simple and natural indigents– often those that can be sourced directly from your own garden. Rather than relying on store-bought oral hygiene products, its possible to make your own.
One of the first recipes I used when I first started experimenting with homemade personal care products was the following recipe for toothpaste, which has quickly become a GC favorite. Homemade toothpaste is a perfect alternative to commercial toothpaste and with the natural peppermint flavoring it tastes even better. While we aren’t actively swallowing toothpaste, when we brush our teeth twice a day, the trace amount that we do swallow builds up, and leaves toxic residues in the body.
There are many different recipes for homemade toothpaste out there on the internet, but I’ve found this recipe to be the easiest and the most straightforward. It is also great way to begin experimenting with homemade body care products, because it contains minimal ingredients you likely already have at home.
The peppermint leaf oil is a combination of water mint and spearmint. Peppermint blooms from July through August and is native to Europe and Asia. It grows wild in moist, temperate areas, and the plant tends to spread easily wherever it is planted.
The essential oil of the peppermint is extracted through a process of soaking the leaves in a carrier oil multiple times throughout the course of several days. It is possible to do this process at home using fresh-picked peppermint leaves from the garden, and that’s definitely what we recommend. It takes about one pound of peppermint leaves to make one bottle of peppermint essential oil, but the freshness is totally worth it. As such, the effects of the oil are strong and concentrated– and this way, you know exactly where it came from. (Still, store-bought essential oil will also work with this recipe, but nothing tastes better than that which you grow yourself!)
The antiseptic quality of the peppermint combines with the baking soda– a strong cleaning agent– for a deep cleanse, and the coconut oil adds a smoothness to the paste. The entire mixture feels nourishing on the gums and teeth, and your mouth will feel squeaky-clean.
GC Peppermint Toothpaste
- 1/4 cup of Coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 5 Tbsp of Xylitol (used as an optional sweetener)
To prepare, mix the baking soda with the coconut oil in a small bowl with the back of a teaspoon to create a paste. Add the Xylitol and mix the solution. Next, add the peppermint essential oil. Store in a glass container and keep the paste in the fridge.
To use, take a pea sized amount onto the toothbrush and scrub softly so as not to irritate the gums. Smile, and enjoy your garden-sourced toothpaste!