It’s a slightly embarrassing subject to address, but I feel we must do it. Breath. How’s yours?
When you begin using natural toothpaste, curiosity seems to build among friends and neighbors on the subject of breath. Since I switched to all natural and homemade toothpaste, people seem to ask me about the offensiveness of my breath as easily as if they were asking to borrow a pen for a hot second.
“Are you going to make mouthwash to go along with your toothpaste?”
“But how can you stand un-fresh breath in the meantime?”
“My breath is fresh. It’s just not freezing and minty.”
“But doesn’t your breath smell bad?”
“Tell you what – I’ll test on you. Smell my breath. If you keel over, I’ll make mouthwash.”
Now, the person featured in my story did not keel over, but I suppose that was not the best way to start things off on the right foot. Let’s just say that there was no second date.
Now I’m not trying to suggest that my homemade toothpaste is sub-par. Quite the contrary – I’m very happy with my paste. It’s not complicated, it’s not greasy, it’s not scented, and it keeps to itself; it’s my kind of beauty product. I will admit that I do miss mint just a little (although, with my homemade toothpaste, I can drink orange juice immediately after brushing, which would be a great plus, except I’m not a huge fan of OJ).
The one thing I never liked about traditional mouthwash, like Listerine, is that it stings. Maybe I just have a canker-sore-prone, overly sensitive mouth, but I can barely swish that stuff for 10 seconds without crying, let alone the 30 seconds Listerine recommends. I always thought it was an incredible amount of spice/mint that caused the stinging, but apparently it’s the alcohol content.
Alcohol, which makes up 75% of some mouthwashes, can cause dryness and irritation (hence the unpleasant stinging). Not to mention, some traditional mouthwashes are loaded up with all kinds of chemicals and suspected carcinogens like parabens and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Studies have shown that an effective natural mouthwash that can promote dental hygiene can be made from herbs and essential oils.
Mouthwash was a pretty fun challenge, because there are tons of good things that you can add to achieve different results. Here’s what I put in mine:
- 8oz. water
- 1 tsp. Aloe Vera Juice (AVJ supposedly has antibacterial and antifungal properties)
- 1.5 tsp. Baking Soda (my old friend BS is a great cleanser and helps prevent infections)
- 3 drops Tea Tree EO (antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties)
- 7 drops Spearmint EO (antifungal and antioxidant)
- 2 drops Peppermint Extract (optional)
So I think it’s safe to say I won’t have any problems with fungi anytime soon, which is a great relief, because we all know there’s nothing worse than tooth fungus!
The wash took a total of about 5 minutes to whip up – all you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and shake well. The peppermint extract is optional, because it does have some alcohol in it (although, the extract itself is only part alcohol, and you’re only using a few drops, so I doubt it has an incredible effect). I mixed up a batch without the peppermint extract, but when I tested it, it lacked some mint flavor. The extract does add a little bite and a stronger minty flavor, but it’s completely optional, I’d say.
Go forth and commune in tight quarters….with confidence!