DIY Mouthwash Is Cheap, Easy, and WAY Better Than Anything You're Buying
The other day, someone stopped me at the store and told me my dress made me ‘look like a hippie.’ I had to laugh because - unbeknownst to them - I was buying ingredients to DIY my own mouthwash. So, OK, if you know me, I pretty much DIY everything from condiments to skincare. That may (or may not) make me a hippie, but I really like to know that the ingredients in my food and skincare are pure and natural!
I used to buy the ‘all natural’ mouthwash sold at the health food store. But those sold for almost $7 a pop!I knew I could make something cheaper (and better!) Plus, most mouthwashes (even the ‘natural’ kind) contain suspect ingredients such as:
Propanediol - an ingredient known to be a skin and eye irritant
Benzoic Acid - a preservative the European Cosmetics Directive considers safe at only .5%. The US market allows concentrations up to FIVE TIMES this amount.
Natural Flavors - we should ALWAYS be suspect of this term because manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients of the ‘natural flavors’ added. These could literally be anything, so long as it comes from a plant or animal. If you suffer from allergies, acne, or sensitivities, then ’natural flavors’ should be something you avoid in all personal care products.
I knew there had to be a better way. Turns out that homemade mouthwash is cheap, easy, good for you, and contains safe ingredients the you can pronounce. Let’s commence with the ingredients, shall we?
Salt - Salt water rinses help alkalize the mouth, and destroy acid-forming bacteria that causes gingivitis. In fact, most dentists prescribe salt water rinses after procedures because salt reduces inflammation and promotes healing of dental tissues. Salt also works as a natural preservative here.
Baking Soda - Along with salt, baking soda works to alkalize the mouth and make it a less hospitable place for bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis. Even the National Cancer Institute recommends a rinse of baking soda + salt to reduce mouth pain and reduce the oral side effects of chemotherapy. Baking soda + salt for the win here.
Xylitol - This is a naturally derived sweeter that won’t damage your teeth and is shown keep cavities at bay. I prefer the xylitol that comes from birch (instead of corn) such as the one found HERE. You know that chewing gum that’s advertised as ‘endorsed by 4 out of 5 dentists’? Xylitol is the main ingredient in the gum and is the reason why dentists claim that chewing xylitol-based gum is so good for your teeth!
Trace Minerals- Adding trace mineral drops helps to remineralize any areas that may have been eaten away by acid-forming bacteria in dental plaque. I like the ones found HERE. Added bonus - put these same drops to your drinking water and homemade toothpaste for amplified benefit!
Essential Oils** - As I mentioned above, most commercially-available mouthwashes rely on ‘natural flavors’ to make them taste and feel minty fresh. So, why not just go to the source use the real deal? I personally use a blend of peppermint and spearmint, but you can use essential oils of clove, tea tree, or wintergreen. Essential oils help disrupt bacterial cell walls thereby helping avoid cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Plus they taste genuinely great!
To a mason jar add:
1 tsp salt (I use pink Himalayan sea salt)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xylitol (I use THIS BRAND)
8 drops peppermint essential oil (or other oil, optional)
20 drops trace minerals (I use THESE)
1 cup warm distilled water
Add all ingredients to the jar and shake well to mix. Shake well before each use to disperse the oils.
Mixture does not require refrigeration.
**Safety note for essential oils: Certain oils such as peppermint and wintergreen should be avoided with young children. Wintergreen can lead to the development of Reye's syndrome when used by children under the age of 10. Peppermint is generally safe for children over the age of 6, but can rarely lead to respiratory issues in younger children, so it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it with younger children. Clove oil is generally safe to use with children over age 2. That said, if you feel that your child is likely to ingest the mouthwash rather than spit it out, you may be best to leave the oils out all together.