Making Mouthwash (and tooth powder): It’s about time

As we have been making the switch over to homemade, more healthy items in our home, I realize that that this doesn’t happen overnight. Little by little I am working on it and little by little things get replaced.

Mouthwash has been on my “list” and the store bought stuff is finally gone! I have come across several recipes over the past few years, but wouldn’t you know, when I go looking for them they are not all in one place (another thing I need to work on – and have been working on)

So, with two recipes in hand… Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, …

I started with the one that didn’t have vodka in it. Many of the recipes I have seen have use vodka. While I am not opposed to using vodka, I just needed to pick a receip and get on with it. After eeny, meeny, miny, moe I picked the other one.

Rosemary and Mint Mouthwash

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • 1 tsp rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp anise seeds

Bring water to a boil. Add herbs and seeds. Turn off heat and infuse for 20 minutes. Strain and allow liquid to cool. Bottle. Use it!

I definitely used more of each herb then the recipe called for. I used anise stars – didn’t remove the seeds. I plopped 4 of the whole stars into the mix. I also don’t have a lot of fresh mint right now, so I used fresh and dried. I know it was more then 1 tsp, but didn’t think that would hurt anything.

This mixture was very very fragrant when making it and I expected it to have tons of flavor. It did not. It certainly had a slight aftertaste of the herbs and spices used, but it was barely noticeable. That is a bit disappointing.

On the other hand, I know exactly what is in the newly made mouthwash (or mouth rinse). We will use it until it runs out and I will move onto the second recipe. I might have even found the other recipes that I have printed out somewhere by then too and have a few others to try out.

In terms of oval health there are a lot of things I could try:

  • Rosemary: in a tea, rosemary is a strong antiseptic. Can be used to disinfect mouth wounds and be used for fresh breath.
  • Mint: If you have ever just picked a fresh mint leaf and chewed on it, you know how cool and wonderful your mouth feels after that.
  • Sea Salt:Dissolve a little bit of sea salt in a cup of warm water and swish it in your mouth like a mouthwash in the morning and at night after brushing your teeth. Sea salt rinse can help reduce gum swelling and draw the infection out of gum abscesses. Don’t drink anything afterwards, just let the sea salt do its good work.
  • Aloe vera gel – Aloe vera gel is said to help quicken the healing of gum tissues and has a slight numbing effect, which is helpful for extra sensitive gums and teeth. Also, it is believed to increase moisture in the mouth and therefore lessen bad breath. To use aloe vera gel to treat gum disease, simply spread it on your toothbrush and gently massage the gums with it.
  • Tea Tree Oil: As well as an antiseptic and an analgesic, tea tree oil is noted as a cicatrizant. This means it also heals wounds. Tea Tree is great for oral care. A few drops on your tooth brush, then massage into gums. Or add a bit of baking soda and a few drops and brush teeth and gums. A little tea tree oil goes a LONG way. Be careful, this is potent stuff. Also, Make sure you are using pure tea tree oil and start with ONE drop.
  • Baking Soda: first of all, make sure you are buying aluminum free baking soda for anything that you are making that goes in or on your body. Save the cheaper stuff with aluminum for your cleaning.

You can also help your teeth and gums immensely by switching to an herbal toothpaste. The commercial pastes are filled with synthetic ingredients, artificial colorings and chemicals. Those things can be very irritating to you gums. Look for an herbal toothpaste with ingredients like rosemary (gum regeneration), tea tree (antiseptic), calendula (heal bleeding gums), myrrh (antiseptic) and echinacea (gum regeneration).

The tooth powder I mix up is a combination of baking soda, sea salt and tea tree oil. I had brushed my teeth a few times with baking soda when I was young. That’s what Gram used to use so we wanted to try it. UGH! Now, Gram didn’t have another option, we did, so it was easy for us to go back to our tube of toothpaste. From everything I have learned in the past few years, I really wish we would have stuck with it. I am now using, basically, what Gram did.

I used to keep my tooth powder in the little rose colored shaker you see in the above photo, but switched because of the possible presence of lead in the top of this old shaker.

Tooth Powder

  • 3 parts Baking Soda
  • 1 part Sea Salt or Real Salt
  • Tea Tree Oil

Mix together the baking soda and sea salt. If you are mixing up a small portion to try it out, then just use a few drops of tea tree oil. If you are mixing up a larger quantity, then use several drops. I triple the recipe (using tablespoons) when I make it up and add about 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. At night,  I add 1 drop of tea tree oil to my damp toothbrush and then use the baking soda mixture to brush my teeth.

Back to the mouth rinse. My rinse of choice is sea salt and water after I brush each night.

My husband is open to using the new mouth rinse, now if I could just get him to use the baking soda/salt tooth powder. It doesn’t look promising (since I have been using it for a few years now and he hasn’t), so I will make sure I get some herbal toothpaste in the house and see if I can get him switched over to that. Wish me luck!

Do you have any mouthwash or rinse recipes you want to share?

Sincerely, Emily

Note: I started this post on Feb 5th and I am finally getting around the post it. In that time, the mouthwash has sat on our bathroom counter and mold started to form in the the bottle. I could have done three things to prevent this. 1 – only kept a small amount on the counter and kept the rest in the refrigerator. Even then I am not sure it would have been safe to keep it much past 2 weeks. 2 – I could have added a few drops of tea tree oil to the bottle and that would have kept the mixture mold free.  3 – could have easily cut the recipe in half. Live and learn. Lucky for me, I did not spend but pennies to make up this recipe. The only thing I bought (already had in the cupboard) was the star anise. If I had made the recipe with vodka I wouldn’t have had this problem….ha. I guess I will make it now!

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11 Responses to Making Mouthwash (and tooth powder): It’s about time

  1. Jane says:

    Using a homemade toothpaste is just something I have been scared to do. I have very sensitive teeth and have enamel issues since I had braces on for too many years as a kid. So I worry that BS or salt might be too abrasive for my teeth. Did you have any sensitivity problems before switching? I just can not find anyone with sensitive teeth that switched to give me a review. Oh I hope it is you because I have wanted to know for years. (not that I hope your teeth hurt, but you know what I mean 🙂

    • Oh Jane – I am laughing SO hard for 2 reasons. I meant to talk about sensitivity in my teeth and mention it in the post….and here you are asking about it!! I had several crowns in my mouth (I keep telling my dentist that makes me royalty!) I had some issues with sensitivity around the base of a few of those crowns and had been using a commercial brand toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Sometime my front teeth would be very sensitive to cold drinks also. Since I have switched to using the baking soda/salt mixture I have not had those problems. I did not tell my hygienist about switching to the homemade tooth powder and at this last check up she told me to continue to do keep up the good work. No comments on my enamels, etc. I did have an issue with my gums in one area and had stopped using the “special” rinse they sold to me and just bumped up my use of salt water rinse every night. She told me to continue using their “rinse” and I told them I have not used it in over a year and told her I was using the salt water rinse and she was completely fine with that. Adding the drop of tea tree to my brush at night when I brush has really helped my gums too. My understanding of baking soda is that it is a non-abrasive cleaner. I add Real Salt to my mixture now instead of sea salt (more minerals in it). I do still have a few times of year when my teeth are achy and a bit sensitive – caused by allergies, but I am SO willing to put up with that a few times a year. What about doing a trial period (3-4) and see how your sensitivity is. It really made me think that I was more dependent on the sensitivity toothpaste after I switched and felt time.

  2. karenish says:

    Interestingly, I use tea tree toothpaste to help with my sensitive teeth, so I wonder if this would be a nice substitute. I’ll have to give it a try. 🙂

    • Karenish – so you make the toothpaste you are using or buy it? If you buy it what brand are you using and where doyou find it? That is so great to hear it helped with your sensitivity. I remember the first time I added tea tree oil to my toothbrush. I know that I intended to put 2 drops on my brush and a 3rd slipped out. It is such potent stuff. After about a minute of brushing it felt very invigorating, but my gums started to feel numb. One drop works great for me!

      • karenish says:

        I get tee tree tooth paste at the local specialty market. It’s flouride-free and takes some getting used to flavor-wise, but I noticed an improvement in my cold-sensitivity.

      • Thanks. I am passing by a store today that might have some and I will take a peak. I know of a few other health/food stores that would have them around here also. I hope Jane can find one in her area.

  3. Pingback: Making Crackers: It’s About Time !! | Sincerely, Emily

  4. What does tea tree oil taste like?

    • That’s a tough one. Medicinal – is that a taste? It is not minty, I guess it has a bit of a menthol-type smell and has bit of a pine smell. It is also called melaleuca and it can be used it SO many ways. I also have a spray bottle on the kitchen counter filled with white distilled vinegar and I add tea tree oil to it for cleaning everything in the kitchen. I have also bought my husband some tea tree toothpaste. He isn’t thrilled with it, but I keep telling him that it is SO much better than the other store bought. It definitely doesn’t have the same cool minty feeling in your mouth after using it, but my teeth feel wonderful and clean and I know how good it is for oral hygiene. When I add a drop of Tea Tree oil to my tooth brush and then some of my tooth power, it is powerful stuff. One drop is enough. If you end up getting some, just make sure it is an essential oil, not a fragrance oil.

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