What's inside toothpaste


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/27/whats-inside-toothpaste.html


Why bother making your own when every tube contains an infinite quantity of the stuff?


Why do so many toothpastes contain salicylates? (Such as peppermint, cinnamon, cloves, etc.; of course mints are also emetics.) Why is it so hard to find toothpaste without salicylates?


Salicylic acid is used as a food preservative, a bactericidal and an antiseptic. So, they probably help to kill off plaque-causing bacteria on the teeth. In addition, the specific ingredients you mentioned are all considered to have a pleasant taste, so that might also be part of the reason.


I remember, from 40ish years ago, an episode of the ABC After School Special that had a related theme.

The protagonist saw a business opportunity to use his grandmother’s homemade toothpaste recipe and sell it door to door to his neighbors at a tiny fraction of the cost of the store-bought stuff.

The plot revolved around the obstacles he encountered from scaling his operation up from producing ten or so salable units per week to upwards of a hundred; along with requests by his customers for new features. It also produced small but steady price increases to his product as he had to hire friends to help, and as his mother stopped subsidizing his business by letting him raid the pantry for ingredients.

The final “conflict” was an interview on local TV that featured the kid and a PR person from a major toothpaste label whose market he was nominally cutting into.

Maybe some other Happy Mutant remembers that show?


And, reiterating the above:


But why is it so hard to find toothpaste without salicylates? Given that many people get sick or get nasty side-effects from exposure?

And why is peppermint considered a “pleasant taste”? It’s a mint. At least for me, minty tastes are a signal that I’m going to vomit soon, a signal I find quite unpleasant.


If you’re going home brew - save time and just use baking soda.


Because we’ve all been brainwashed to think that a “minty” taste means “clean.” I would guess people are so used to tasting mint when they brush that they expect it now.

But, if you’re looking:

There’s also a guide to making your own toothpaste in there.

I have never heard of anyone (aside from yourself, and now the person running this website I’ve linked) who gets sick or gets nasty side effects from mint exposure. It’s probably something like gluten sensitivity, or lactose intolerance: given that the majority of people don’t suffer from these sensitivities, it’s easier and more profitable to cater to the majority.

For me, it’s primarily a sensation of coldness, with no indications of nausea. And (switching to the taste of gum), unlike other flavours, it doesn’t fade or go stale as quickly.

But then, tastes are a very personal thing. I’ve been told that coffee, wine, and beer all taste good by various people, though I can’t palate any of them.


Is it made with real teeth?


I switch back and forth between Cleure (sal-free) and Toms of Maine (a low-sal version, with flouride). Thanks for the link though.


Are you sure that you aren’t thinking of cloves?

Some of them are! There was a big scandal a few years back when it was found that some brands in India were using human bones as their source of toothpaste calcium.


Could be. Although I’ve never seen toothpaste prominently labelled as “clove-flavoured.”


I remember the book.

Originally he used old baby-food jars, then went to an auction where he bought a bunch of tubes – wasn’t sure how many he was getting, and it turned out to be a gross of boxes of a hundred, or something like that. Then, there was a problem with how he had distributed shares to his friend-employees using Monopoly money.


But no idea of the title.


Tom’s of Maine Clove Toothpaste is my favorite.

The flavor is relatively prominent on the label.


That’s what I thought! I prefer Vicco.


That’s me… I enjoy seeing how long I can go with an “empty” tube of toothpaste.


I thought that the hot thing now-a-days was to use powdered charcoal for one’s homemade tooth stuff.


no barbaques in my building


This is an easily testable hypothesis. Compare the difficulty of, um, creating the toothpaste with a new and unused tube with that of creating the toothpaste with an older and unused tube. The theory that the catalysts decay implies it should be that much harder to create the toothpaste with an older and unused tube. In fact just as hard as with an equally-old and heavily-used tube.