It sounds absurd, but I’ve only recently discovered that there are people who brush their teeth with natural/homemade soap bars (apparently they’re glycerin free and much more effective than commercial toothpaste). Tempted to give it a try, I hunted for said soap in several places, only to stumble upon an alternative, sitting all exotic and expensive on an inconspicuous shelf at Honey World Marina Square – Doctor Burt’s Cinna Mint Toothpaste – 100% Natural!
After examining the packaging and ingredients, I found to my disappointment, the words “plant glycerin” printed on the length of the box. I was willing to close an eye on account of the word ‘plant’, so I coughed up the cash and made my most expensive toothpaste purchase. I’ve since tried it an hour ago for the first time, and of course I can’t report on any long-term effects, but here are a few things I did notice on opening:
It had a consistency I was not accustomed to, what with being an uninitiated believer of your average drugstore brand. The paste was firmer and dryer, and did not lather as well. I don’t know if the tube was left on the shelf for a long time, or if it was meant to be this dry, but whatever it was, it produced very little foam on brushing. I used Braun’s Oral B electric toothbrush, if this is of any importance. In my experience electric toothbrushes produce quite a bit more lather than manual ones with the same amount of toothpaste, so I imagine those using manual toothbrushes would find little to no lather at all. If foamy paste is your thing – as it is mine – then you’ll likely come away feeling like you’ve done nothing beyond rubbing your teeth with salt. I’m convinced the dryness is intentional, since the tube’s opening was sealed with foil, making evaporation unlikely. I’m attributing the dryness to one of its key ingredients, sodium bicarbonate (or baking soda), which is chalky on its own already.
Being dryer than usual, I was not used to spreading the stuff over my front teeth. After I got them evenly out on every tooth, I switched the toothbrush on, and immediately made a flying mess of white spots on the mirror facing me. The thing about commercial toothpaste is that they produce enough lather to cling on and mix around with your saliva, so it’s easier to control the residue and spit. No such luck with Doctor Burt’s toothpaste. I guess I should say I didn’t get a kick out of brushing, because there’s nothing like the illusion of cleanliness a good frothy scrub provides.
It was easy to rinse out, considering how there was close to nothing in the first place. Doctor Burt’s needed just two rinses, compared to the several rounds it usually takes to thoroughly get rid of the slippery, alkaline residue of commercial toothpaste. There was also less of the overwhelming mint aftertaste – just a light, natural peppermint breath. Fresh, but not sickeningly fresh.
What can you expect after the routine? Well, my teeth look clean, and feel clean. Actually, they feel better than clean! They feel polished. The best part? My mouth doesn’t feel at all dry. I’m convinced it’s all in the lack of foam, because – and I say this without scientific proof – I think whatever’s responsible for producing lather is the culprit behind a dry mouth. Now we all know a dry mouth is the main cause of bad breath, so Burt’s toothpaste scores big time in this area.
Here are the details of where I got this item:
Location: Honey World (6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-260 Marina Square, Singapore 039594)
Ingredients: Purified water, vegetable glycerin, calcium carbonate, bentonite, peppermint oil, spearmint oil, cassia oil, sodium bicarbonate, yucca schidigera extract, chlorophyll, parsley oil, xanthan gum
Physical description: Dry-ish, hardened greenish-white paste (not gel). Tube has a large screw-on cap, packaged in a red box. Comes in two flavours: lavender mint and cinna mint. I have cinna mint. According to the Doctor Burt’s official website, they have discontinued with its production for some reason. Some shops still sell it, but don’t count on it.
P.S.: Upon further reading on the www, I’ve to admit I’m confused about the glycerin issue, because it seems like natural soapmakers are insisting that glycerin is good and that commercial soaps remove it from their products. I don’t believe this to be true because I’ve recently checked Dove and Dettol soaps, and they both have glycerin as part of the listed ingredients. Also, I’m no chemist or beautician, so you be the judge.