My Trip to the Mouthwash Aisle
A few months ago, I had a sinus infection that caused sensitivity in my upper molars. Without realizing it, I stopped chewing or drinking on that side of my mouth, and developed mild gingivitis in the upper gums.
My dentist ordered regular flossing (I was a floss slacker) and using a mouthwash to help treat the gingivitis. I’d never used mouthwash before, and stood dismayed in the mouthwash aisle of the local megamart.
There was nothing suitable. Every bottle was too big — I would only need to rinse for a few weeks or a month at most. Most mouthwashes had alcohol, which I thought was unnecessary, and a lot of ingredients with suspiciously long names.
I just wanted something antibacterial to cleanse my mouth. Something that wasn’t circus-colored, something made with natural ingredients that I wouldn’t have to worry about.
Of course. I’d have to make my own.
Why Make Your Own Mouthwash?
- Simply made. As with all products, there’s little reason to run around fetching exotic ingredients and spending hours over a stove. Thankfully, there are many recipes for homemade mouthwash that take 5 minutes to mix up.
- It is inexpensive. Those bottles in the store run 4, 5, 6 dollars and more!
- You control what goes into your mouth. Don’t want to dry your mouth out with alcohol? Then don’t add it. Like spearmint more than peppermint? Use that instead. Want antibacterial effects? Add some essential oils. The possibilites are nearly endless for creating your own custom mouthwash.
The Recipe I Recommend Most
The basic formula for a great homemade mouthwash recipe:
1 cup water
4 to 8 drops of any combination of essential oils, preferably those with antibacterial properties (more about essential oils on page 2)
pinch of sweetener, if desired (it does help palatability)
In a small water bottle, add 1 cup of water, 4 to 8 drops of essential oil of your choice, and a pinch of sugar or another sweetener if desired. Shake well. Store at room temperature or refrigerate, if desired. It’s not necessary to keep chilled, though.
To Use: After brushing and/or anytime, swish homemade mouthwash around in your mouth for several seconds, the longer the better. Think about getting the liquid all around your mouth, between your teeth and gums. Then spit it out. Never swallow mouthwash.
Natural Mouthwash to Treat Gingivitis, Also Excellent for General Mouth Care
This homemade mouthwash is my personal favorite. I can’t recommend tea tree oil highly enough. Not only is it anti-bacterial, tea tree oil is also anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce swelling. Natural mouthwash Is best for gingivitis or for treating canker sores. It’s also anti-viral and anti-fungal.
1 cup water
4 drops peppermint oil - good flavor, and has mild antibacterial properties
4 drops tea tree oil - excellent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal properties
pinch of sugar
In a small water bottle, add 1 cup of water, 4 drops of peppermint oil, 4 drops of tea tree oil, and a pinch of sugar or another sweetener if desired. Shake well. Store at room temperature or refrigerate. It’s not necessary to keep mouthwash chilled, though.
To Use: After brushing and/or anytime, swish liquid around in your mouth for several seconds, the longer the better. Think about getting the liquid all around your mouth, between your teeth and gums. Then spit it out. Never swallow mouthwash.
Other Essential Oils to Consider As Ingredients
clove - spicy flavor, antibacterial
myrrh - spicy flavor, antibacterial
sage - antibacterial
spearmint - minty, antibacterial
More Recipes to Try
If you don’t have any essential oils on hand, there are other natural recipes you could try:
While salt isn’t antibacterial, rinsing your mouth with salt water temporarily alkalinizes the mouth, which creates a less-hospitable environment for bacteria. It’s also a treatment recommended often by dentists for those who’ve had oral surgery.
In order to get the benefits of a salt rinse, it must be a very briny solution - at least 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of water. Some recommend simply adding salt to water until it can no longer dissolve.
Salt and baking soda mouthwash
Baking soda also helps to temporarily increase alkalinity in the mouth.
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dissolve salt and baking soda in the water.
Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash
Swish equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide around in the mouth.
Using these homemade recipes, you will be able to create a natural mouthwash that is best for gingivitis and other dental care needs all from the confines of your home. Keep those germs away and your mouths clean!