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We have been using my homemade toothpaste and tooth powder in the Hippy Household for quite a while, but we were still in need of a good mouthwash that wasn't too harsh and still was highly antiseptic. After all of my research and bugging my friend who's going to school to be a dental hygienist, I came up with this recipe for a gentle alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash that tastes great while cleansing your mouth and freshening your breath!
Hydrogen peroxide – the key to a fresh white smile
Hydrogen Peroxide is a known disinfectant and bleach and is used in all sorts of ways to clean throughout my house naturally. Not only is hydrogen peroxide a proven weapon in the fight against most bacteria as well as a gentle whitener for teeth, it's also been shown to fight gingivitis. One study published by the National Institutes of Health found that when used as a mouth rinse, Hydrogen peroxide prevents bacteria buildup and plaque, both contributors to gingivitis (Wennström and Lindhe). The other awesome thing about using hydrogen peroxide in your mouthwash is that it does an amazing job at helping to heal canker sores too! Take that alcohol! (Honestly, though, I used to get canker sores all the time before I changed my diet and lifestyle, and I now I can't actually remember having a single canker sore since we went down the hippy path…soo your mouthwash may help heal the canker sores up, but the underlying cause may, in fact, be your diet.)
Most conventional mouthwashes contain toxic ingredients
The most popular brands of mouthwash may not even be the best dental options. Many contain ingredients that are known to be toxic and unhealthy such sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, and parabens. Mouthwashes are also most often sweetened with artificial sugars such as sodium saccharin (a known carcinogen) and sucralose, which has been known to trigger migraines and other issues. These mouthwashes also contain synthetic flavors and colors such as FD&C Blue 1 and FD&C Green 3.
Why not alcohol-based mouthwash?
Most mouthwashes on the market, natural included, are often alcohol-based, containing anywhere from 18 to 26% alcohol. Mouthwashes containing alcohol that are used regularly can contribute to cancers of the mouth, tongue, and throat. In 2009, a review in the Dental Journal of Australia confirmed that alcohol-based mouthwashes contribute to an increased risk of oral cancers. Use of mouthwashes containing alcohol will temporarily reduce bad breath, but in the long term, they help to improve conditions for the development of bad breath because they dry the mouth out. The continued production of saliva is key to keeping the mouth fresh.
Natural Peppermint Antiseptic Mouthwash
- 1 cup peppermint hydrosol (can be substituted with filtered water)
- 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide (It MUST be 3% and no more, otherwise it could be hazardous to your health, 3% is found in most grocery stores and is the most common peroxide sold on the shelves.)
- 1 Tbsp. raw unfiltered honey (to emulsify the essential oil)
- 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional – Not for use with children. Substitute with strawberry flavor extract.)
- Combine essential oils drops into honey and then combine ingredients in a dark glass bottle or re-use a hydrogen peroxide bottle, and shake to combine. Peroxide breaks down in sunlight, so storing in a dark container in a cool dark place is imperative to keeping your peroxide from turning into water.
- Shake before use, then swish around and gargle in your freshly brushed mouth for 2 minutes. Spit and rinse with water. DO NOT SWALLOW MOUTHWASH, SPIT OUT AFTER USE.
- You can switch out the essential oils (and hydrosol if using) for other essential oils including peppermint essential oil, clove bud essential oil, spearmint essential oil, sweet orange essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, tangerine essential oil, lemon essential oil, sage essential oil, rosemary essential oil, and cilantro essential oil.
- You can effectively gargle with peppermint tea for a cleaner mouth and fresher breath.
- a tsp. of baking soda in 8 oz. water can also be used as a natural mouthwash.
- a Tbsp. of raw apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. water with a few drops of essential oil has also known to be a great mouthwash (if you can handle the vinegar flavor)