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Safe and Natural Mouthwash Alternatives You Should Try

Mouthwash is an essential part of your oral hygiene. It keeps your dental health in top condition by disinfecting your mouth and freshening your breath.

Believe it or not, mouthwashes existed thousands of years ago. Ancient Chinese books and Ayurvedic medicine dated back to 2700 BC listed the ingredients of mouthwash as a treatment for gingivitis. Also, Hippocrates mentioned how the mixture of salt, vinegar, and alum helps prevent bad breath.

These are safe and natural alternatives to over-the-counter mouthwashes. Today’s store-bought mouthwashes contain alcohol and toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and aquatic organisms (thymol) while others may be carcinogenic (hexetidine). Learn what other risks they pose and why more natural remedies may be better solutions.

Why a Commercial Mouthwash Is Not Good for Your Oral Health

Commercial mouthwashes may not be as healthy as they seem

Swishing a minty mouthwash makes your mouth feel cleaner and gets rid of unpleasant breath odour. There are numerous brands that claim to be the best mouthwash for bad breath, but many may not be as healthy as they would like you to believe.

The downsides of using commercial mouthwashes often outweigh its advantages:

  • They don’t discriminate
    While store-bought mouthwashes kill harmful bacteria, they can also destroy the mouth’s natural flora, making the problem worse. Your mouth’s microbiome plays a crucial part in your digestive system. Killing the good oral bacteria can have a detrimental impact on your digestion.
  • They can cause dry mouth
    Commercial mouthwashes can dry out your mouth and aggravate bad breath. Saliva helps keep a healthy pH in your mouth by neutralizing acid. A dry mouth does not only reduce the production of saliva but also promotes bad breath due to the increase of the population of bad bacteria. Ideally, brushing your teeth, flossing, and scraping your tongue keeps the mouth clean.
  • They are not a substitute for brushing and flossing
    Some people believe that mouthwashes can make their mouth clean and fresh. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. Relying on mouthwash alone can put you at serious risk of dental problems, including dental caries and gum disease.

Homemade Natural Mouthwash Recipes That Are Safe to Use

If using mouthwash is part of your oral hygiene, choose natural mouthwash if possible.  Make sure to use safe homemade mouthwash recipes to freshen your breath without any repercussions.

  • Simple Baking Soda and Salt Mouthwash

    Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has antiseptic properties that fight off oral bacteria that cause bad odour. It also assists in teeth whitening and removing stains. To concoct a simple baking soda mouth rinse, you need to mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of distilled water.

    You can even improve its effectiveness by adding a tablespoon of salt to the baking soda mouth rinse. Mix it wells and pour the solution into a clean bottle. Nothing can be better than good ol’ baking soda and saltwater mouth rinse recipe to keep your mouth clean and your teeth white.

Cinnamon has antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties

  • Cinnamon and Clove Mouthwash

    The combination of cinnamon and clove makes it one of the best natural mouthwashes you can use. Cinnamon has antibacterial effects that stop the growth of harmful oral bacteria, while clove is known for its woody, astringent flavour and smell that freshens your breath in an instant.

    To make a homemade cinnamon and clove mouth rinse, you will need a cup of distilled water, 10 to 15 drops of clove oil, and 10 to 15 drops of cinnamon oil. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and transfer it to a bottle. What is great about this DIY mouthwash is its long shelf life. In addition to fighting bad breath, this mouthwash also helps combat cavities.

  • Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash

    Cleanse your teeth and gums naturally using this homemade peppermint and tea tree oil mouthwash recipe. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that kill odour-causing pathogens, while peppermint oil does not only make your mouth smelling clean and fresh but also leaves a soothing feeling.

    In a mason jar, mix a cup of distilled water, 2 drops of tea tree oil, 8 to 9 peppermint leaves, and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Before using it, shake the jar well to stir up the baking soda settles down on the bottom. Do not swallow the mixture while rinsing your mouth.

Parsley keeps teeth strong and leaves your breath smelling fresh

  • Parsley and Mint Mouthwash

    Parsley has chlorophyll that helps subdue the mouth odours caused by volatile sulphur compounds, while mint leaves help freshen your breath. Aside from brushing or flossing, swishing your mouth with this mouthwash solution is an effective way to keep bad breath at bay.

    Add 2 tablespoons of parsley, 2 tablespoons of mint, a cup of distilled water, and a tablespoon of vodka (optional) into a blender and blend all ingredients for about 2 minutes. Drain the mixture through a strainer to remove the residual herbs. Pour the mouthwash solution into a jar and close it tightly. Use a tablespoon of mouthwash when rinsing your mouth. Do not swallow.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash

    Hydrogen peroxide is a mild form of antiseptic frequently used to soothe minor throat irritations and mouth sores. In addition to its antiseptic performance, hydrogen peroxide has bleaching qualities that whiten teeth. Used properly, it is an effective mouth rinse. However, it is a highly reactive substance that can cause stomach irritation and, in high doses, be fatal.

    Use with caution. Bottles available in drugstores have a 3% concentration. While this is relatively safe, it can cause digestive problems when ingested. Dilute it with water before use and avoid swallowing it altogether.

One thing you may find missing on this list is apple cider vinegar mouthwash. While many may recommend it, it is not recommended by dentists. Consult one before using any of these mouthwash options so you can safely care for your teeth.

Seeing a dentist is the best solution to bad breath and other dental conditions

No matter which homemade natural mouthwash you prefer, see your dentist every 6 months or whenever necessary for dental health checkups or teeth cleaning services. If you have periodontal disease, the dentist may prescribe a therapeutic mouthwash as one of the treatments. Do not forget to brush your teeth twice a day and floss to clean hard-to-reach areas that a toothbrush cannot clean.

If you are looking for a dental clinic in Oshawa whom you can trust your and your family’s dental health, turn to Simcoe Smile Dental. We provide exceptional dental services of the highest standards to patients of all ages. Give us a call today at (289) 312-1482 to book an appointment.


  1. M. Kilian, I. L. C. Chapple, M. Hannig, P. D. Marsh, V. Meuric, A. M. L. Pedersen, M. S. Tonetti, W. G. Wade & E. Zaura. The oral microbiome – an update for oral healthcare professionals, British Dental Journal volume 221, pages657–666 (2016).

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