I have been making an effort lately to use products that are more natural and don't contain chemicals that could be carcinogenic. A lot of toothpastes and mouthwashes contain chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, which are skin irritants and potential carcinogens. These chemicals give products the foam that makes us feel like they're getting our mouths extra clean. They're there for psychological reasons more than anything and may actually be harming us.
And let's face it, those of us with the train tracks on our teeth are going to be brushing and rinsing more often than the general populace, so we have a greater exposure to these chemicals.
So, I've switched to natural toothpaste with fluoride and I've actually started making my own mouthwash, something I never in a million years thought I would do. But my naturopath gave me a really simple recipe for mouthwash that I could make with ingredients that I just happened to have lying around my house, so I figured, "Eh, why not?"
It was worth a shot, and it would certainly be cheaper than anything I was using now, particularly in the quantities I've been using it.
Here's the recipe:
2 ounces of water
¼ tsp of baking soda or sea salt
1 drop of pure peppermint oil
1 drop of tea tree oil
Mix together. (I quadrupled the recipe and mixed it up in an old mouthwash bottle so I'd have some on hand for awhile.)
I used it for the first time a few days ago and, at first, was a bit put off by the taste. The baking soda (or salt) makes it salty and the taste of the natural oils takes a bit of getting used to, as they're not coated in sweeteners like they are in manufactured products.
But after awhile, it's not so bad. It works really well in my Water Pik to help get the crud out of my braces. I think it would have been handy as a variation on a salt rinse when my jaw was wired shut as well, had I known about it.
Also, I discovered that if you let it sit for awhile instead of using it right away, the salty taste goes away as the flavours meld together. So, mix up a batch instead of just making it when you need it, and it will be fine.
If you don't have the essential oils handy, it will cost a bit upfront to start making your own mouthwash, as the oils are usually $10 each for a small bottle. But, as you're only using a small drop (or four), that little bottle of essential oil will last a long, long time.
If you try it, let me know what you think.