While arranging glass jars of baking soda, cayenne, and other ingredients, Gabrielle Darvassy, owner of vegetarian eatery B’Gabs Goodies, explained why the small Mason jar of dull reddish-brown powder in my hand was so important. The tooth powder, she said, would keep my pearly whites pearly and white for the better part of a year. “These ingredients have been around on the planet for 3,000 years, so you know it’s not a hustle. The Egyptians used this.”

This ancient pharmaceutical was brought to me by B’Gabs’s workshop series, the aptly named Wellness Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, Darvassy takes a break from serving up massive colon-cleansing juices and superfood snacks and teaches a class on wellness.

On February 26, students learned the art of making their own tooth powder.

Darvassy’s husband, Ron Brigel, called replacing toothpaste with tooth powder “addition by subtraction.” He says he’s improved his health and saved money, which is what the wellness series is all about. I’d be lying if I said it tasted good, but as Brigel said, “bitter is good.” It was odd and clumpy at first, but it eventually spread more evenly. It was a little disconcerting spitting out a brown mush, but my teeth felt cleaner.

The ingredients in tooth powder are simple, natural and easy to find, and twenty-five dollars can buy enough of them to last an entire year. The recipe is wonderfully simple: four parts baking soda, two parts frankincense, one part ground cloves, and half part cayenne. Put all of these ingredients in a jar, seal it, and shake until combined. The powder itself smells like a spice rack, but the formula works wonders, Darvassy says, and is particularly good at removing those nasty coffee stains from your teeth.

Sodium fluoride, she explained, which has long been used in commercial toothpaste, is known to be poisonous. Her husband Ron Brigel chimed in. “It even says on the box, ‘Contact poison control if swallowed.’ Well, then why are we putting it in our mouths?”

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