Categorized | FMFK Blog Team, News, Organic Moms

no toothpaste, no cavities

Yep. That’s right. No toothpaste in our house. And no cavities, either.

Hasn’t always been this way, though. We used toothpaste in the past, gobs of it…I would buy tubes of it, on sale, by the dozen.

My kids also used to have cavities. Gobs of them. At every 6 month visit, there would be another dental cary to drill and fill.  Same story of all four kids. As young as two years old, even, my kids had cavities. My daughter had a tooth pulled when she was six.

Yes, we brushed our kids teeth. Yes, we flossed our kids teeth. No, we did not dine on pure sugar. No, we did not even keep soda in the house.

Our diet was pretty typical, I think, though with a slant towards plenty of fresh produce. Cold cereal for breakfast (not the sugary kind, mostly plain, puffed wheat or brown rice). Sandwiches, fruit and milk for lunch (whole wheat bread, not the white stuff). Homemade dinner, with fast food about once a week. Sugary snacks in moderation. You get the idea. Pretty typical. Seemed fairly healthy.

But those darn cavities would show up at every dental check-up. I hated that, and felt like a mom failure. What had I missed?

The dentist said we were doing all the right things, but she suggested that we switch to the SoniCare toothbrush. Which we did. That was an investment.

Then I did some general Google searching on tooth care. Did you know that:

– brushing is what cleans teeth, not the toothpaste?
– toothpaste is full of chemicals
– the benefits of fluoride are controversial
– cavities are holes made by bacteria
– bacteria feeds on sugar

I reasoned I could manage oral hygiene without the chemicals, so with my dentist’s blessing, we put the kibosh on toothpaste.

We also cut out all processed sugar. All of it. There is no processed sugar in my house. No sugar = no food for bacteria = a clean mouth.

Before you think that we are Spartans, let me reassure you that we do eat sweet treats. We have weekly Sunday sundaes; we have chocolate cake (or brownies). We eat pancakes and waffles, both with syrup. I make muffins and cobblers and more. We are not a sweet-deprived family.

We just don’t use processed sugars. We use Sucanat. And raw honey. And pure, Grade B maple syrup. All organic, by the way.

So, what is the difference?

Sucanat, for example, is dehydrated juice from the sugar cane. No processing, just drying, so that the end product retains all the minerals and fiber from the original plant. Do you know why white sugar is white? Not only is the sugar cane juice processed and filtered, but it is also bleached, just like your laundry.

Sucanat has a light molasses flavor, which especially compliments chocolate desserts. I use Sucanat 1:1 in any recipe that calls for sugar.

But getting back to the dentist….

Before we stopped toothpaste, and before we eliminated processed sugars, one of my children had a small cavity between two molars — not big enough to drill out, but enough for the dentist to watch.

At our first six month check-up post toothpaste, no cavities.

A year later, no cavities.

Eighteen months later, still no cavities.

Two years later, you guessed it, no cavities.

This is monumental for us, given that my kids routinely had cavities at every six month dentist appointment, while using toothpaste and eating refined sugars in moderation.

I’ll even add that my teeth no longer have a layer of sticky, morning gunk. My breath is fresher. Can you imagine fresh breath without minty toothpaste? It’s true.

But the real kicker? You know that cavity that the dentist was watching?

It died. The bacteria had no food on which to thrive. The tooth is regenerating itself.

Which toothpaste can claim that?

Recipe for clean teeth and fresh breath

– brush 2x/day with SoniCare toothbrush (no toothpaste)
– floss daily with Desert Essence floss, with tea tree oil
– for fuzzy teeth, dip toothbrush in a pinch of Celtic sea salt, and brush (no more than 1x/week)
– mouth wash to be used, as needed: mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, swish in mouth for as long as you can, spit out, and rinse with water. This mouthwash must be made as needed, since the hydrogen peroxide deteriorates when exposed to light.

Lori Rivas, organic homeschooling mama to 4 great kids

photo credits
kids brushing teeth from:
toothpaste warning from:
Spongebob from:
smiling shark from:
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11 Responses to “no toothpaste, no cavities”

  1. Wendy Hagen says:

    It is a little unclear from your post – do you attribute the no cavities to no processed sugar or no toothpaste? I would think eliminating sugar is what made for the “no cavities.”
    By removing the toothpaste, you have removed the toxic chemicals and shown that you don’t need toothpaste for truly cleaning your teeth, correct?

    I have never used Sucanat. I am assuming I could get that at Whole Foods, right?

  2. admin says:

    My great grandfather used to use baking soda to brush his teeth and never had cavities. I saw a recipe for homemade toothpaste using 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 tsp of hydrogen peroxide, and and a drop of peppermint oil (I guess for minty flavor?). What do you think about using something like this Lori? Just curious? I LOVE my Sonicare! I recently bought my kids the new kids version. They love it too!

  3. Lori Rivas says:

    I have read articles that attribute fluoride with the demineralization of tooth enamel. I didn’t look deep into the science of it all, but I do have a family history of “soft teeth.”

    My dentist attributes our improved dental health to diet changes and the SoniCare toothbrush. She also freely admits that it is not the fluoride that cleans teeth, but rather the brushing.

    She is a very conservative, mainstream dentist. I have asked her about the 6-month fluoride treatments, and she replied that my kids do not need the fluoride — that whatever combination of things we are doing is working, and we don’t need to add anything else.

    Yes, you can buy Sucanat at WF, but I buy mine, in bulk, from — it is cheaper, and you can set up regularly scheduled deliveries (Wholesome Sweeteners, fair trade, organic). Sucanat is a trade name and you can find its equivalent at most any Hispanic grocery, under the name “muscovado,” and some other names, which I cannot remember right now.

  4. Lori Rivas says:

    My dentist told me that using baking soda and/or hydrogen peroxide should be limited, as daily use could be too harsh on the teeth. But, I dunno. Ask you dentist. I don’t find that I need any of that, so, why go through the hassle?

  5. Kahalia says:

    Wow! How amazing to see someone else with my same issues. My 6 yr. old is going to have to have an extratction and we sound just like you, pre-no brushing. I left the dentist today feeling like the worst mom ever! Thwedentist told me that my kids have cavaties because they snack too much. She told me to limit them to 2 snakcs per day. I have a 3 yr. old, seriously. She said that is what is causing the cavaties. Has anyone heard that from their dentist before? PS She didn’t ask me what I do, or feed them, or anything.
    Really going to consider your method Lori.

  6. Lori Rivas says:

    Kahalia, Best of luck to you in pursuing better oral hygiene for your family, especially the little ones. Google information about sugar and pH, about indigenous diets and cavities, about nutritional value of natural sweeteners. I tell you, even my very conservative dentist is amazed, and every time I bring the kids in, she has more questions, and says that she wishes all of her patients would kick the refined sugar habit.

    BTW, it is now nearing a year since I originally wrote this article, and all the kids are still cavity free. And that one small cavity between my son’s molars — that cavity is still dead.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m on day 3 of no toothpaste, I use only a pinch of baking soda (disovlved) and sometimes a hydrogen peroxide rinse. I’m astonished at the results, my teeth is so white I want to smile all day long. My breath is so fresh, no plaque whatsoever…I want to try it for a month and if my teeth are still healthy, I’m tossing all my toothpaste.

  8. Lori says:

    I have exclusively only used pure baking soda to brush with my sonic care tooth brush for 4 months now. My teeth are the whitest they have ever been. I drink 3 cups of coffee every day. I have absolutely no tarter build up between my bottom teeth. My hot and cold teeth sensitivity is 100% gone! I will never, ever, ever use toothpaste again. I keep my baking soda in a lidded jar on my counter and just wet my brush and dip. LOVE IT!!!

  9. Julia says:

    Omitting sugar helps prevent cavities. Not using toothpaste omits the layer of glycerin that prevents the remineralization of cavities, as toothpaste (even the natural stuff) is full of glycerin. Glycerin coats the teeth, preventing this vital, natural process. Brushing with baking soda, especially in the evening when you produce the lease saliva, leaves your teeth clean and bare, ready for mineral deposits from your saliva.

    If you have active tooth decay, also be sure to get plenty of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and Vitamin K2. Cod liver oil and grass fed butter and milk should help with that.

  10. shay says:

    i use baking soda. my mom has always said not to use toothpaste so often. shes 40 and no cavities. none of my family has. we brush with either baking soda (we love our baking soda) or just plain water and dont want chemicals. weve cut out a lot, like all cleaning products shampoo and conditioner toothpaste lotion shave cream moisturizer face wash all by baking soda vinegar and olive oil. we only use borax in our dishwasher. i havent used tothpaste in weeks and weeks. my teeth are fine, actually amazing :)


  1. […] major sweet tooth. I love home-baked goodies. I love hot chocolate. I wish I could be as strong at Fit Mom Lori who has no refined sugar in her house. But what about cake pops? And dark chocolate? And cream […]

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