A DIY Way To Freshen Your Breath Without A Mint

When you are used to toothpaste that tastes like an after-dinner mint, transitioning to a baking soda–based tooth cleanser can take a little getting used to. But, oh, how clean it leaves your teeth!

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth eat sugar on your tooth surfaces and convert it to an acid (this is not unlike how yogurt and sauerkraut are made). This acid can slowly eat away at your alkaline tooth enamel. When the pH of the mouth returns to its healthy, alkaline state, mineral ions dissolved in the saliva help rebuild the damaged tooth enamel.

This recipe is distinctly alkaline, has a healthy dose of calcium to assist in the re-mineralization of your tooth enamel, and adds the dental-friendly sweetener called xylitol.

If you don’t want to invest in calcium carbonate or xylitol, you can get squeaky-clean teeth by brushing with pure baking soda. I brushed with plain baking soda for years and came to really like how fresh it left my mouth feeling, but the taste can be pretty off-putting at first.

Peppermint Tooth Powder

(Makes ½ cup)


  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons food-grade calcium carbonate powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated xylitol
  • 4 to 6 drops food-grade peppermint oil or food-grade peppermint essential oil


In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Store the tooth powder at room temperature in a small tin or a widemouthed 4-ounce jar with a tight-fitting lid. If kept dry, the powder will last indefinitely, though the essential oil scent may fade over time.

To use

Run your toothbrush under water, then tap off any excess. Sprinkle the tooth powder onto the brush and gently scrub your pearly whites clean.

© 2015 by Erica Strauss. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving, and Natural Homekeeping by permission of Sasquatch Books.

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