Whenever you visit the dentist for a checkup, you’re likely told about three main components to good dental health: brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Mouthwash is used to reduce the risk of cavities and control bad breath. Commercial mouthwashes contain ingredients designed to fight bacteria, but they also have artificial colors and flavors that your body doesn’t need to be healthy.
Here’s a look at what’s in standard mouthwash you buy at the supermarket and some natural mouthwash options to consider.
To fight bacteria in the mouth, mouthwashes often contain zinc gluconate, cetylpyridinium chloride, or quaternary ammonium compounds. They frequently are made with astringents like zinc chloride, phenolic compounds, ethyl alcohol, and flavoring agents. The strong flavors of mouthwash can merely cover up bad breath rather than addressing what is causing it in the first place. Many Americans have come to expect their mouthwashes to be green or blue in color, so artificial colors are added as part of the branding process for mouthwash.
While standard, commercial mouthwashes work just fine for many people, you might be curious to learn about more natural options that exist as well. The benefits of trying a natural mouthwash include no harsh additives so they’re gentler on sensitive teeth and gums. Some people find that natural mouthwashes don’t dry out their mouths as much because they don’t contain alcohol, which can reduce the production of saliva. If you choose a natural mouthwash from a reputable source, you won’t have to worry about putting mystery ingredients into your body. Instead, you’ll get the benefits of natural antibacterial properties to protect you against gum disease and tooth decay. There’s also the bonus of no burning sensation when you swish it around in your mouth!
If you’re interested in giving natural mouthwash a try, there are ready-made products that you can buy to reduce your exposure to chemicals and artificial ingredients. TheraBresh Fresh Breath Oral Rinse is a popular option for fighting bad breath without alcohol. Listerine has a Natural Antiseptic Mouthwash that has a reduced alcohol content and is budget-friendly while The Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse is a good choice for people with very sensitive gums because it contains aloe vera instead of abrasive cleaning ingredients.
If you have a little more time and are looking for a fun project, you can also try making your own DIY mouthwash at home. This ensures that you know exactly what you’re putting in your body and are taking personal control of your oral health. Here are a couple recipes to try.
Salt and Baking Soda Mouth Wash
This recipe is so easy and contains common household ingredients you likely already have.
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup warm water
- Brush your teeth as normal.
- Mix all ingredients and swish around in your mouth for about 20 seconds.
- Spit out and rinse mouth with pure water.
Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar Mouthwash
Here’s another easy recipe for mouthwash to try if you want to naturally fight bad breath and promote whiter teeth without chemicals.
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup salt
- 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a jar
- Add other ingredients and mix.
- Swish in mouth and then spit out without swallowing.