Now I have gone and done it. And in a plastic tube, to boot.
Why did I buy toothpaste in the first place? Two reasons. First, my baking soda, wintergreen oil, stevia powder combination had been working fine for many months. But in the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling like it’s too harsh on my gums. My mouth feels kind of sore after using it. And then last week, during my radio interview on Tomorrow Matters, one of the callers said she worked in a dental office and believed that plain baking soda is too abrasive. I had heard this before, but hadn’t really believed it until I started noticing irritation in my own mouth.
Second, my dentist really wants me to have some fluoride on my teeth, and since giving up both toothpaste and Act fluoride rinse, I wasn’t giving them the treatment he thought they should have. Yes, I know there’s fluoride in our drinking water. But is it sufficient? Don’t know. Just know my mouth has not been very happy in a while.
So why didn’t I buy the metal Tom’s of Maine tube instead of the plastic Trader Joe’s? Because I compared the ingredients in the two toothpastes and liked those in the Trader Joe’s brand better. It doesn’t contain SLS, which the Tom’s of Maine right next to it did, and it also contains some baking soda (I bought the All Natural, Anticavity, Peppermint Toothpaste with Baking Soda and Fluoride) which the Tom’s of Maine didn’t.
Okay, before you jump on me, I didn’t realize at the time that there were so many other Tom’s of Maine choices in other stores. After buying the Trader Joe’s toothpaste, I went next door to the brand new Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy and found that Tom’s of Maine has put out a few SLS-free versions. Still, I did want some baking soda, which these lack. Blah blah blah.
The ins and outs of which toothpaste to buy are not really the point of this post. I’m sure there are all kinds of options and better recipes I could have tried and other opinions about what I should put in my mouth. And, as always, I’m happy to hear everyone’s comments about that. But the main discovery I made, which seems like it should be quite obvious but was a TOTAL BREAKTHROUGH FOR ME was this:
You don’t need to use very much at all. Even this tiny amount, about a quarter of a pea, is probably too much. I’ll bet I can make this one tube last a whole year. Or longer. After using baking soda for nearly a year, the amount of suds I get from this baby bit of toothpaste feels like washing my mouth with soap.
And I realized that in all my blogging about ways to reduce our impact on the earth, and specifically the amount of plastic we use, I don’t think I ever wrote about simply using less of everything. I’m pretty sure Green Bean has a post on this very topic. Yep, she does. It’s right here. But it wasn’t until I decided to break down and break my no-plastic rule that I actually thought about how using less of everything can help me lessen the environmental impact of that decision.
Oh, I have so much to learn and so far to go! Thanks to everyone who puts up with my baby steps and fickle nature. And speaking of fickle, I’ve started using the Urban Compost Tumbler again after whining about how sucky it was. More on that in a future post.