Mouthwash can be somewhat of a polarizing topic. There are those people who love it despite the burning sensation and the chemicals because they want that squeaky post-gargle clean. And then there’s the rest of us, myself included, who won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.
While I think we can all agree that minty fresh breath is always a good idea, there’s just something about the burn of neon green chemical-laden mouthwash that gives me the skeevies.
And as if you needed another reason to avoid commercial alcohol-based mouthwash, it seems using it might increase the oral cancer risk for those with other risk factors like tobacco use [source]. Research has shown mixed results as to whether it also kills bacteria. This 2018 study found no difference in mouth bacteria [source], but a more recent study demonstrated an impact on both the bacteria and pH from chlorhexidine mouthwash, which was even associated with increased blood pressure [source]!
The alcohol in mouthwash not only stings but also dries the mouth, which affects the oral microbiome, possibly favoring bacteria that lead to bad breath. So, while you think you’re doing something good for your teeth and gums every time you swish, you might really be making things worse.
But the good news is that you can still get the disinfecting benefits of mouthwash without the chemicals by making your own essential oil mouthwash at home! Not only is it just as effective at killing germs and freshening breath as its store-bought counterparts, but it’s cheaper, too.
What’s not love about fresh breath sans the chemicals? Call me a convert.
How to Make Your Own Essential Oil Mouthwash
This DIY mouthwash uses peppermint and tea tree essential oils, so it freshens breath, kills bad germs, and leaves your mouth feeling sparkling clean without burning. It also contains minerals to help replenish mineral stores in your teeth and gums and baking soda to help remove stains, deodorize, and whiten teeth. It truly does it all and tastes great to boot.
While I don’t like my mouthwash to taste sweet, some people prefer it. If you find that you need to make your mouthwash more palatable, simply add a drop or two of liquid Stevia.
And it couldn’t be easier to make. Just combine your ingredients in a lidded glass jar and give it a good shake. Then store it on your bathroom counter for up to a week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Essential oils do a decent job of keeping bacteria at bay, but because it contains water (which can grow mold), it’s better to be safe than sorry. If there’s any chance that you might not use it up fast enough, go ahead and make a smaller batch, or pour it out and start fresh at the beginning of each week.
Essential Oil Mouthwash
- Glass bottle with lid
- Funnel (optional)
- Add all of your ingredients to a glass bottle, replace the lid, and give it a good shake.
- Use twice a day, in the morning and at night, after brushing your teeth.