Friday, February 20, 2015

How to Make Flavored Toothpicks with Essential Oils

How to Make Flavored Toothpicks with Essential Oils

Do you ever find yourself mindlessly chewing on random objects like pens, pencils, straws, toothpicks, or stirrers while deep in thought? Are you the person who always has to have gum or mints on hand? You probably have a slight oral fixation. Don't worry, you're not alone. I'm a self-professed "chewer" myself. Let's be friends! [Insert awkward & dorky high five]

Whenever I exert laser focus on a particular activity that's brain oriented like writing, my habit of chewing on stuff goes into full force. Either that or popping my knuckles. I much prefer the former. Maybe it's a way to release physical energy while I'm so mentally focused or keep my body busy creating rote movements (like white noise) while my mind is focused elsewhere. Either way, chewing is going to happen.

For folks like us who have oral fixations, mindless eating when you're not hungry can be a huge problem. I'm totally guilty of this, especially when I'm reading and writing. One way to combat this is with gum or mints, but these days pretty much all commercial versions are filled with artificial sugars and weird ingredients. I used to chew gum all the time, but after ditching fake sugars (like sorbitol & aspartame) from my diet, it's difficult to find anything decent.

Flavored Toothpicks = Excellent Solution for Oral Fixation 

An excellent alternative to this is flavored toothpicks. They freshen breath and keep your mouth busy for a bit. You can buy cinnamon or peppermint flavored toothpicks at your local grocery or health food store, but they can be pretty pricey, especially if you're looking for toothpicks with quality ingredients.

For me, it made more sense to make them at home, especially since I'm building up an arsenal of essential oils that I use for a myriad of other DIY projects. Another perk of DIY flavored toothpicks is that you can pick and choose which essential oils to use and add extra oils that help your teeth, gums, and overall health.

How to Make Flavored Toothpicks with Essential Oils

Benefits of Using Flavored Toothpicks with Essential Oils:
  • freshens breath
  • curbs appetite (I find that cinnamon bark works the best, although grapefruit is also a popular option)
  • improves mood (citrus oils help a lot)
  • energizing (especially with peppermint)
  • supports a healthy mouth (tea tree, Thieves & cinnamon are great) 
  • homemade versions are stronger than store-bought, so they last longer

Important Note on Which Essential Oils to Use
  • Make sure to choose an essential oil that has been certified as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) or as food additives, by the F.D.A.
  • avoid using any oil that says "for aromatherapy use only" on the bottle. These oils are NOT truly pure and/or safe to use in this way. Always, always, always read your labels first!

Using Essential Oils to Make Flavored Toothpicks

Five Easy Recipes For Flavored Toothpicks
Learn how to easily make flavored toothpicks at home with essential oils. I include five different recipes using some of the best essential oils for curbing appetite, freshening breath, improving your mood, supporting healthy digestion, and more!

What You'll Need:
  • clean mason jars (or recycled glass jars with tight fitting lids)
  • 100% pure essential oils (I only use THESE essential oils)
  • toothpicks (a pack of 250 should suffice)
  • fractionated coconut oil (to dilute the hot essential oils)
  • clean tongs or tweezers
  • paper towels, clean cloths, or foil for drying the toothpicks
  • metal tins or glass container with lid for storage (see the bottom of post for more ideas)

1. Peppermint Flavored Toothpicks
Peppermint essential oil is excellent for freshening your breath and giving you an energy boost. Seriously, try applying a little peppermint essential oil behind your neck and under your nose for a jolt of energy. It's great before workouts, too. Peppermint is also excellent at supporting healthy digestion, so it was my number one choice for flavored toothpicks. Pop one of these in your mouth after a hearty meal, when you're traveling, or before a meeting or test. 

80 drops peppermint essential oil (I buy my essential oils HERE)
3 drops of melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil) (I buy my essential oils HERE)
40+ toothpicks 

2. Cinnamon Flavored Toothpicks
Cinnamon is one of those classic flavors that folks have been using for years to flavor toothpicks. Cinnamon Bark essential oil (the real deal) is not only fragrant and delicious (I've added it to homemade chocolate), but it's great for stimulating the senses, supporting healthy digestion, and warding off cravings. Fun fact: cinnamon was historically associated with attracting wealth!

40 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil (I buy my essential oils HERE)
3 drops of melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil) (I buy my essential oils HERE)
1 teaspoon of fractionated coconut oil (I used THIS)
40+ toothpicks

Note: Even diluted at this ratio, the cinnamon toothpicks will still be slightly spicy on your lips at first contact. Most fans of cinnamon enjoy this, but if you're worried it might be too spicy, double the fractionated coconut oil used. You can also make two batches, one less and one more diluted and see which one works best for you. 

3. Mojito Flavored Toothpicks
Mojitos are a popular cocktail that incorporate fresh mint leaves & lime wedges muddled together with sugar cubes or simple syrup, a bit of alcohol, and tonic water. They're super refreshing, so I thought I'd use the two main components--lime and mint--and turn that into a flavored toothpick! 

65 drops of lime essential oil (I buy my essential oils HERE)
15 drops of peppermint essential oil (I buy my essential oils HERE)
3 drops of melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil) (I buy my essential oils HERE)
40+ toothpicks

How to Make Flavored Toothpicks

4. Citrus Fresh Flavored Toothpicks
Citrus Fresh is an essential oil blend that includes orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, and spearmint essential oils. It's a mixture of a bunch of bright, uplifting, and refreshing essential oils. It is certified as GRAS by the F.D.A., so makes a great option for flavored toothpicks. 

80 drops of citrus fresh essential oil blend (I buy my essential oils HERE)
3 drops of melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil) (I buy my essential oils HERE)
40+ toothpicks

5. Thieves Flavored Toothpicks
Thieves essential oil blend was also one of my top picks for flavored toothpicks, cause it contains a powerful blend of essential oils that have been historically used to support a healthy body! It contains a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary essential oils and is considered GRAS by the F.D.A., so it's a good option for when your body needs a little TLC or you just want your mouth to smell like Christmas. ;)

40 drops of thieves essential oil blend (I buy my essential oils HERE)
3 drops of melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil)(I buy my essential oils HERE)
1/2 teaspoon of fractionated coconut oil (I used THIS)
40+ toothpicks

Note: Like the cinnamon, Thieves is considered a "hot" or "warm" essential oil blend because it contains clove and cinnamon, so I've diluted it here. However, it won't be as spicy as cinnamon by itself since it's mixed with other mild oils like lemon and rosemary. 

Update (December 2015): I've found that chewing on the Thieves toothpicks for too long makes your mouth a bit numb (as a result of the clove essential oil in it). For the average person, this is something you won't desire in a flavored toothpick; however, for someone wanting a bit of TLC in the mouth region to support their gums & teeth, this might be the ticket. 

Directions (For All Flavors)

Measure the essential oils into a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (like a mason jar), place the toothpicks inside (make sure all their tips are submerged in the oil), and seal the lid tightly. 

For the cinnamon and Thieves toothpicks (or any other flavors you want to dilute), add the fractionated coconut oil after measuring in the essential oils and stir the mixture well before adding the toothpicks.

Give the container a little shake to swirl around the essential oils and store away from direct sunlight for 24 hours, or until the toothpicks have fully absorbed the oils. 

When they're ready, use clean tweezers or tongs to remove the toothpicks from the jar and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Let the toothpicks air dry for 4-8 hours. You will know by feel when they are done. Place in an airtight container for long term storage!

Flavored Toothpicks Recipe

Notes & Tips
  • I added tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia) to all my flavored toothpicks because it's a gentle essential oil that is excellent for supporting a healthy mouth. If you don't have any on hand, you can certainly leave it out. I also recommend not adding too much of it to the toothpicks cause it doesn't have the best flavor! :)
  • I only diluted the "hot" essential oils, as I knew they would be really warm on my mouth. If it makes you uncomfortable to use essential oils neat (undiluted), you can certainly add in 1/2 - 1 teaspoon or more of fractionated coconut oil to each of these recipes; however, keep in mind that this may mellow the flavor considerably. 
  • If you do decide to dilute the peppermint, mojito, and citrus fresh flavored toothpicks, I'd advise either reducing the essential oils in half or doubling the amount of toothpicks used since you will have much more liquid.
  • You will have some leftover essential oil in each jar. Don't dump it! Save it for your next batch of toothpicks or add more toothpicks at the beginning of the process. 

Other Essential Oil Suggestions For Flavored Toothpicks:
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Tangerine
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Ginger (excellent for supporting digestion, along with peppermint)
  • Nutmeg
  • Clove (note: this will have a natural numbing effect)
  • Black Pepper (popular option for quitting smoking)
  • Spearmint
  • Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia): I would mix with other oils cause it's not the best tasting
Storage Ideas For Flavored Toothpicks

When your toothpicks are dry, you'll want to make sure to store them in an airtight (or at least pretty well sealed) container so that the essential oils don't evaporate quickly and the toothpicks lose their flavor. 

A few ideas for storage:
  • recycle an Altoids tin (might be lingering mint scent, not sure)
  • buy a new tin with a lid (like this one)
  • use an envelope (a regular business one or even homemade with pretty paper)
  • wax paper bags
  • 4 oz mason jars (like the ones I used to soak the toothpicks)
  • small glass jars with cork lids
  • glass roll-on bottle (like this one) (remove the plastic or metal roll top first)
  • test tube with cork lid

Join My Natural Living & Essential Oil Facebook Group

Want to learn more about essential oils and chat about them in a private community? Request to join The Rising Spoon Essential Oils Facebook Group. (Make sure your settings allow for messages, as I will send you one before accepting you!)

Buy Essential Oils at Wholesale Prices (24% Off)

As I mentioned above, it' super important to use pure (not adulterated) essential oils that are high quality if you want the therapeutic benefits. Here at The Rising Spoon, I (Elaina) only use Young Living essential oils, because I can trace the process from seed to seal and visit the company's farms myself. Transparency & purity are two of the most important things to me! Because of this (and the fact that I and my family love Young Living oils so much), I am a distributor for their essential oils. 

If you're ready to start your journey with Young Living and would like me as your personal sponsor for support and guidance in your health goals, I offer a great deal on the premium starter kit that includes a free thank you gift (with educational resources to help you). This deal changes monthly, so don't wait long!

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What was your favorite flavor for toothpicks growing up? Do you have tips for making or storing them? Leave a comment below!

DIY Flavored Toothpicks with Essential Oils + Five Recipes

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More DIY & Essential Oil Posts From The Rising Spoon:
DIY Clay Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace Tutorial

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. 
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