Frugal toothpaste: healthy for teeth and pocketbook

tooth paste

A family of four can spend up to $360 a year on toothpaste. Image: ToastyKen/Flickr/CC BY

Toothpaste is a commodity we all use every day. In the interest of being frugal in the economic downturn, we offer some suggestions of ways to keep your teeth healthy and your costs low.

It adds up

Although toothpaste is not a horribly expensive item, it can add up, especially if duplicated for multiple bathrooms used by multiple family members. According to  White Pines Whisper, a website for sustainable lifestyles, a family of four spends about $30 a month on toothpaste, or around $360 a year.

Read the label

There are more varieties of toothpaste on the market than anybody can name. They come in different flavors, colors, whitening properties, textures and you name it. But, according to Daily Finance, four out of five dentists say that brand
does not matter. What does matter is that they contain two essential ingredients: (1) fluoride to stave off tooth decay
and (2) an anti-bacterial, such as zinc or triclosan, to keep plaque down.

Anything else in your toothpaste is just hokum, candy-coating and filler. So read the label and pick the cheapest brand that qualifies.

Good to the last drop

To get all of the value out of your dollar, you should do what your mother told you and roll up the toothpaste tube from the end, instead of squeezing it in the middle. To that effort, Suite 101 recently offered instructions on how to make a toothpaste tube roller.

You will only need a couple simple items, which most likely can be found around the house: Two rubber bands and two sticks or pencils, slightly longer than a toothpaste tube is wide.

Place the sticks on either side of the bottom end of a slightly-used tube of toothpaste. Rubber band the ends of the sticks together tightly, and there you go. Roll up your squeezer as you go and you can push every last droop out of your toothpaste tube.

And if that is too much trouble, commercial roll-up tube devices are available very inexpensively.

Make your own toothpaste

For those concerned about additives in commercial preparations, there is the option of making your own toothpaste. White Pines Whisper found a recipe online that calls only for baking soda, food-grade glycerine, salt and extract flavoring.

These are the ingredients, measurements and their costs, according to White Pines Whisper:

5 Tbsp. baking soda          — $ .07
1/3 tsp. salt                          —   .01
7 tsp. glycerine                    —  1.18
1 tsp. peppermint extract  —   .48

Just stir the ingredients together, and you will make six ounces of toothpaste for around $ 1.74. You can find tubes of more than six ounces for less money, say at bargain outlets like the Dollar Tree. However, with this recipe you know what you are getting, and it certainly beats buying a commercial brand at a grocery or pharmacy retailer, which normally run from $3 to $5 a tube.

Sources

Daily Finance
Suite101
White Pines Whisper

 

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