Dental Care Basics

6 All – Natural Mouthwashes to Help Break Your Listerine Habit

Do you remember those commercials that told you to suffer through your mouthwash routine? Well, a lot of us still follow that regimen. After all, mouthwash kills harmful bacteria in the mouth and leaves your breath smelling minty fresh… right? Not exactly. While mouthwash does kill bacteria, it doesn’t distinguish between harmful bacteria and the helpful flora that live in your mouth. Today, I’m sharing 6 all-natural mouthwash options for you to consider.

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6 All - Natural Mouthwashes to Help Break Your Listerine Habit

Do you remember those commercials that told you to suffer through your mouthwash routine? Well, a lot of us still follow that regimen. After all, mouthwash kills harmful bacteria in the mouth and leaves your breath smelling minty fresh… right?

Not exactly. While mouthwash does kill bacteria, it doesn’t distinguish between harmful bacteria and the helpful flora that live in your mouth. Since antibacterial mouthwashes can wipe out all of the good bacteria, the bad bacteria come back at a different rate, making the problem of bad breath even worse.

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Antibacterial mouthwashes can have even more adverse effects for some people due to their destruction of the oral microbiome. The oral microbiome is an essential part of a healthy gut microbiome, so blasting bacteria in the mouth can have repercussions on your digestion and even cardiovascular health (through disruption of nitric oxide production).

If we think of the gastrointestinal tract as a river, then the mouth is the source of that river. What you do in the mouth sets the stage for everything that comes after in the gastrointestinal tract and in the whole body.

The alcohol in most mouthwashes also dries out your mouth, which can make bad breath even worse, since saliva is what maintains a healthy pH in the mouth. Without saliva, bad bacteria run rampant and encourage halitosis (that’s the technical term for bad breath). The drying effects of mouthwash can even increase your risk of oral cancer, according to some studies.

The best way to keep your mouth smelling fresh is to brush, floss, and scrape your tongue at least once a day – no mouthwash needed.

But maybe you’re one of those people who loves their mouthwash routine and the fresh feeling it gives you. Especially if you’ve already transitioned to a better toothpaste that doesn’t have that super-minty flavor, you might not be entirely ready to give up mouthwash, and that’s okay.

There are a few products that aren’t as harmful as some of the bigger conventional brands (though in all honesty, you’re really spitting the money you invested in the product down the drain no matter what, as far as oral health is concerned).

When you’re picking a better mouthwash, go for something made with natural ingredients and avoid the following ingredients:

  • Alcohol
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • Parabens
  • Poloxamer 407
  • Formaldehyde
  • Saccharin

Here are a few products we like for their all-natural approach to making your mouth taste and smell a little bit sweeter:

1. Aesop Mouthwash

This alcohol-free mouthwash from Australian skincare line Aesop boasts a pleasant flavor combo of clove bud, aniseed, and spearmint. No alcohol is used in this mouthwash, though it does use essential oils, which tend to kill bacteria as well, so be wary of using this product too often.

2. Oral Essentials

Oral Essentials is a dentist-formulated mouthwash made with Dead Sea salt, well known for its rich mineral content. This ingredient can actually help remineralize your teeth (remineralization is the process of restoring minerals to your teeth). This mouthwash also contains holy basil oil, a known adaptogen (a substance considered helpful in helping the body adapt to stress), and aloe vera juice, which is renowned for its soothing and healing properties.

Boost Remineralization
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Oral Essentials Clean & Fresh Mouthwash

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3. Georganics Coconut oil Pulling Mouthwash

This mouthwash was formulated in accordance with an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for bad breath known as oil pulling. The mouthwash has a light coconut aroma thanks to organic coconut oil.

Oil Pulling Option
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Georganics Coconut Oil Pulling Mouthwash

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4. Auromere Ayurvedic Mouthwash

This mouthwash is made with neem, also known as the Indian toothbrush tree. Studies have shown that neem is as powerful for mouth health as chlorhexidine (a common disinfectant and antiseptic) without being nearly as dangerous.

Neem-Powered Option
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Auromere Ayurvedic Mouthwash

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5. The Natural Dentist Antigingivitis Mouthwash

This mouthwash is specially designed for sensitive gums that have a tendency to bleed. Containing 20% aloe vera, along with Echinacea, calendula, and a touch of cinnamon, this mouthwash will quickly soothe any painful gums.

For Sensitive Gums
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The Natural Dentist Anti-Gingivitis Mouthwash

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6. Homemade Mouthwash

You can also make your own homemade mouthwash very simply with distilled water and baking soda. No need to add essential oils as they kill bacteria and could be harmful. Add sea salt to the combo for more mineralizing properties, though this mixture may be a bit less palatable. Then again, if you’ve been spending years swishing strong alcohol solutions, then a natural mix of baking soda, water, and salt should be a breeze! Of all the mouthwashes, this one is my favorite for its safety and efficacy in the mouth—and you won’t feel bad when you spit it down the drain!


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Oral Microbiome-Friendly Mouthwash

turmeric mouthwash

This mouthwash is best used before bed, to minimize the impact of foods eaten during the day. Swish a tablespoon for up to one minute before spitting. Do not swallow, and be sure to store in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

  • Author: Dr. Burhenne
  • Prep Time: 65 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon Calcium Carbonate
  • 1/2 teaspoon L-Arginine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 3-4 Cloves (soaked in 1 cup of hot water for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Water

Instructions

  1. Remove the cloves from the water and add the remaining ingredients, including the water, to a glass jar.turmeric mouthwash
  2. Whisk until well-combined, or add a lid to the jar and shake, or add to a high-speed blender.turmeric mouthwash
  3. Use 1 tablespoon worth for a quick rinse.turmeric mouthwash

Dr. Mark Burhenne

Got more questions about mouthwash and its effects on your oral health? Ask me a question!

Read Next: Can Rinsing With Mouthwash Replace Brushing?

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16 Comments

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  1. You recommend not using essential oils in the homemade mouthwash but the link provided in #7 has tea tree oil and peppermint listed. Is that a recipe you recommend even with the oils?

  2. Do you have any experience with Triphala mouthwash? I have seen a couple of studies that support using it. What is your opinion? Thanks.

    • William: I do not recommend it as it’s highly bactericidal. You’ll see on Askthedentist.com that I write often about the disadvantages of using a mouthwash that is designed to kill bacteria. This mouthwash you asked about also contains cinnamon essential oil which is one of the biggest offenders of altering the biome of the mouth.

      drb

  3. Hi Dr. B,
    Thank you for this information. If I go the route of making my own mouthwash, is there a way for me to prepare this in advance in let’s say a mason jar or something? Or do I have to mix the baking soda and water together in a cup each time I use ? Just thinking of an easy way to do this with my morning routine . Thank you !

    • I’m not sure, but I believe I’ve read that the efficacy of baking soda diminishes if it isn’t used straight away, so I would say you should keep a little plastic spoon, cup and your baking soda container in your bathroom cupboard and just make yourself a quick mix every morning 🙂

  4. My mouth is often dry in the mornings and no matter how much water I drink in in the morning, its still dry, until I eat some food or something warm. It becomes dryer when I use toothpaste or mouthwash. Then later, it becomes too salivery and when I speak, saliva is spewing out. I’ve stopped using mouthwash and instead put toothpaste and baking soda on my toothbrush. But I have seen little improvement.

    • Hi this post was a year ago but I only just saw it, I hope you got relief for your dry mouth but if not and for anyone else I’d like to share my experience, taking tablets for my heart condition I have a very dry mouth and I find some relief by oil pulling, with olive oil and sometimes with coconut oil which tastes better, anyway oil pull for five minutes first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I hope that helps you as it helps me.

  5. Thanks for the great info! I brush my teeth twice a day and floss daily and never have been much of a mout wash user. Recently my dentist told me that I would benefit from using alcohol free mouth wash with fluoride so help prevent tooth decay because I have issues with acid reflux. Would you agree?

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