What can one do to freshen the mouth and sweeten the breath without using commercial mouthwashes? Standard commercial mouthwashes can contain large amounts of ethyl alcohol (a suspected carcinogen), artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors, and antiseptics and astringents. They also can contain benzalkonium chloride, a suspected liver, respiratory, and brain toxicant.
Natural plant extracts can give the same antiseptic, astringent, and mouth freshening effect. It’s easy to make your own mouthwash from scratch.
#1. Essential Oil Mouthwash
Add a few drops of one or more essential oils that have antiseptic or astringent properties to two cups of water. Make sure that the oils are 100 percent pure. Essential oils are available in health food stores.
#2. Aloe Vera Mouthwash
The healing properties of aloe vera are legendar. Add 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice to 1 1/2 cups of water, and then add a few drops of essential oil of your choice.
#3. Chew On It
Chew on a fennel seed, star anise seed, or cinnamon stick.
#4. Apple/Herbal/Vera Mouthwash
Soak for a day 1/4 cup herb of choice in two cups of apple cider vinegar. Strain away the herb and add 1 more cup of water or aloe vera juice.
Make enough of your home-made mouthwash at one time to last as long as a commercial brand. Store covered in a glass jar.
By Annie B. Bond, best-selling author of five books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), and most recently, True Food (National Geographic, 2010).