Salt and Soda Tooth Powder

When I fileted this file out of a file that had become too crowded with notes on various topics, I wondered where I could put it that I could find it again.

So I'm making it into a Web page.  It might be useful to someone — when I gave up on finding a toothpaste that didn't have a horrible saccharin-like flavor that couldn't be rinsed out of my mouth, there was nothing on the Web.

Search revealed that brushing my teeth with salt and soda would Save the World, make me immortal, and guarantee me a place in heaven, but nobody knew how much salt and how much soda.  I had to figure out for myself that you brush your teeth with soda and put in salt to kill the taste.  Salt is a good cleaning agent too, but stings if you don't dilute it with soda.

And it was by the purest accident that I learned that one needs to grind the salt to powder in a marble mortar.  (I got mine decades ago in a store that sold other stores' left-overs, but I saw identical mortars in a restaurant-supply store only a few months ago.)

A piece of dried leaf in the salt is a good indicator: when it becomes a faint green tinge or vanishes utterly, the salt is fine enough.

When the salt is ground, I lay a square of waxed paper on the counter, put a large tea strainer on the paper, put half a cup of soda into the tea strainer, and dump in the contents of the mortar.

I sift the powder onto the waxed paper, then pick it up by the edges, pour everything into the mortar, dump the mortar into the tea strainer, and sift again.  Repeat until everything is well mixed.

I thought I could buy a package of commercial tooth powder and use the container to dispense my home-made powder, but it appears that pre-made tooth powder is extinct.  After much experiment, I settled on putting a small amount into a cheap plastic pocket pill box, a short, shallow cylinder five-eighths of an inch high and an inch and a quarter in diameter.  It's easy to dip the brush in flat against the powder, picking up an even coat, and if I contaminate the powder I haven't spoiled the whole batch.

I use a rectangular 200-ml semi-disposable food-storage container to store the rest of the powder.  The corners of the box make it easier to refill the pillbox than the round opening of the mustard bottle I used before, but I'm still looking for a better way.

15 November 2016

Tooth powder made:  1/2 cup soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. fennel seed.  Most of the fennel seed stayed in the tea strainer.  I hope not too much of the salt stuck to it.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Tooth powder made:  1/2 cup soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, a sprig of dried peppermint.  Began using this batch on 3 May 2017.  

4 October 2017

Tooth powder made:  1/2 cup soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, a lot of dried peppermint.  

28 February 2018

I've brushed my teeth once or twice since emptying the snack box into the pill box that holds enough for two or three days, so I finally got to it this morning,  I used the 4 October recipe, but I have more dried peppermint than I can use up before peppermint-harvesting season, and I got carried away,  The salt was ground fine enough long before the peppermint was a powder, and when done, the primarily-vegetable powder clung to the mortar.  I scooped up some of the soda that had fallen through the tea strainer and ground it, which got most of the peppermint powder off,  And I must have given up grinding too soon, because there are visible flakes of peppermint in the powder.  

27 August 2018

Ditto.  A small sprig of mint.  I threw the rest out, and will dry some fresh mint.  (I picked it by twilight, and two of the three sprigs are of doubtful mintness.)


11 March 2019

Black cardamom.


21 September 2019

One pod black cardamom. I threw out the shuck.


24 January 2020

One pod black cardamom. I made tea with the shuck.


17 July 2020

Three or four dried peppermint leaves.

The peppermint made the salt bright green, which helped me know when I had sifted enough.


9 December 2020

1/8 teaspoon coriander, one crank black pepper.


7 May 2021

1/2 cup soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon dried basil.


Thursday, 14 October 2021

1/2 cup soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

A quarter teaspoon was far too little basil; I suspect it will turn out to be far too much ginger.

Given the season, I should have used a mix of cinnamon and cloves with just a touch of ginger -- but it will be spring before I use this batch up.

10:35 AM 5/2/2022


Monday, 2 May 2022

1/2 cup soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon basil.

Basil didn't grind in entirely, and my finest tea strainer didn't take all the flakes out.


Friday, 25 August 2023

1/2 cup soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of basil.

6:49 PM 8/25/2023

As a Hoosier, I'm a fan of the Ball Brothers, and always choose their canning jars.

Except for the wide-mouth half pints.   Kerr's are "can or freeze" shape, and easy to clean and neat to serve from.   Ball's look like the top sliced off a wide-mouth quart.   Cute, but it's hard to get stuff out of the bulging channel.

But I learned by accident that if one stores a batch of tooth poweder in one, when the powder gets too low to scoop a pill box into it, one can shake it into the bulging channel and scoop quite conveniently until it's almost gone. Then one has to tip and pour, but it's about the same inconvenience as pouring from the half-pint rectangular semi-disposable containers I used before, and one has to do it only once or twice.


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