Last week on Valentine’s Day the hubby and I had a good laugh on a somewhat random topic – bad breath. Each time I was pregnant certain smells would totally turn my stomach. Unfortunately, my husband’s breath was one of them! Apparently this is normal (what isn’t during pregnancy?), but I forced the poor man to give up certain foods, chew gum like a fiend and try every mouthwash out there. But the medicine-like smell of most commercial mouthwashes just made things worse.
So, we turned to a natural alternative. Cloves and clove oil have been used in dental care by many cultures for years, for everything from gum numbing to breath freshening—and that’s before we even know the causes of bad breath, namely bacteria. Combined with the naturally minty freshness of peppermint essential oil, this is the perfect natural mouthwash for getting rid of stinky breath!
Fortunately my wacko sense of smell eventually returned to normal. But I wish I had tried a natural remedy back then because homemade mouthwash works wonders – and it actually tastes good and there’s no weird after smell or alcohol burn. The alcohol in mouthwash is incredibly drying to the gums, which actually causes a further cycle of bad breath that you can never seem to get on top of. Yep, that’s right—instead of making the problem better, it could be making it worse!
Every time I try a natural remedy I’m shocked at how easy it is to make and how much better it works. Here’s how to make your own.
Mint, Clove + Cinnamon mouthwash
Cinnamon and cloves are awesome little spices for bad breath. Cinnamon contains cinnamic aldehyde, which reduces the amount of bacteria in your saliva, and cloves have powerful antiseptic properties to zap bad breath. The combination of clove, cinnamon and peppermint in this mouth rinse gives your mouth a nice zing (2 thumbs up from the hubby!) and you can use it as often as you’d like because it doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients.
Minty Clove Mouthwash
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 drops peppermint essential oil
- Bring the water to a boil and add cloves, cinnamon and peppermint and remove from heat. Let the spices infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture twice with a fine mesh strainer.
- Pour into a bottle with lid and keep refrigerated.
2. Turn it into a Breath Spray
Make a spray version for on-the-go or keep it on the night stand for a good morning breath spritz! Pour the above mouthwash into a small spray bottle and add a squeeze of honey. If you don’t like cinnamon, you can make an all peppermint version with just water, a few drops of peppermint essential oil and honey. I found these small bottles in the travel section of Wal-Mart. Just shake and spritz in your mouth for a quick pick me up!
I was going to add parsley to this list but apparently that’s no longer true! Try munching on fresh mint or spices like clove and cardamom instead. To avoid bad breath in the first place, cover the basics: brush often (especially your tongue!) and drink lots of water.
What’s your favorite way to get rid of bad breath?
Photos by Ana Stanciu166