This is one of those things that people rarely question these days. Mouthwash is good for your gums, teeth, and overall health….right? Luckily, you can easily look after your mouth. There are a number of natural options (which we will get to), but I really want to take you beyond the idea of whipping up some concoction that will replace what you usually buy from the store. We need to understand more about our oral health and how it is connected to our overall health. I’d love to be able to convince you to Never Buy Mouthwash Again.
Oral Health is Vital
A lot of people these days have heard of and understand that the lining of the mouth is very permeable. In other words, it soaks in nutrients (and toxins) faster than all but the vagina lining. God made us this way so that we would have another source of absorption into the blood stream from the nutrients we put into our mouth. The problem arises when we:
- put toxic things into our mouths,
- do not take care of our mouths and thus bacteria and infection take over.
Any anatomy photo showing veins and arteries around the jaw will demonstrate the flow of blood from jaw to brain to the chest and many organs. We are not a bunch of parts that form a body. We really are ONE! All parts must work together beautifully for us to have optimal health. Thinking we can put anything into our mouths and that it won’t effect the heart, liver, kidneys, etc. makes no sense what-so-ever. There are a number of studies now connecting certain mouth conditions to infections in other parts of the body!
It’s with this understanding that I have investigated and tried to learn more and more about our oral health. The recent Natural Oral Health Summit was amazingly eye opening.
To be blunt, a lot of the toothpastes and mouthwashes we use introduce toxins into our bloodstreams. We already know the amazing amount of toxins in toothpaste. I gave you a number of toothpaste recipes to help you change from the mainstream flow of not caring. But, what about mouthwash?
Well, a quick look at the most popular brand’s ingredients shows that there is cancer causing dyes and saccharin, so right off we’re not off to a good start (remember that permeable skin?).
Cancer and Mouthwash
Obviously, there are a lot of natural things too that can kill you if you ingest too much. But there have also been studies done on the connection between mouthwash, oral hygiene (or lack thereof) and cancers of the mouth and throat. Some interesting connections were made, causing there to be a need for further research on whether the connection between cancer and mouthwash is from bad overall hygiene, ethanol metabolism rates, or overuse of mouthwash. The reports say there is a connection. 2 I’d like to see more research on exactly what is causing that spike in cancer risk just from swishing mouthwash around in your mouth one more time a day. There have to be other lifestyle factors between those who gargle twice a day to those who gargle once a day!! Or is there?
Ah, but here’s a study on another byproduct of using mouthwash that may bring some light to the first discussion.
Acetaldehyde is a colorless volatile liquid aldehyde obtained by oxidizing ethanol. In other words, when you swish mouthwash around in your mouth acetaldehyde is produced; a “by-product” of using mouthwash. Without being technical, the ingredients in mouthwash are different from regular drinkable alcohol. The exact ingredients (usually the first 4 on the bottle) are combined to create an alcohol that reacts with your spit and results in acetaldehyde in your mouth.
Many studies have been done and have concluded that acetaldehyde is definitely cancer causing. One German study showed that, “A twice-daily use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes leads to a systemic acetaldehyde exposure of 0.26 ug/kg bodyweight/day on average, which corresponds to a lifetime cancer risk of 3E-6.” 3 This is considered high, but nothing is done about it because the average population who uses mouthwash twice a day is low, so it is not considered a “public health concern”. Although, the risk to genetic mutation and the impact on unborn babies should be a big enough issue to make a push for public awareness, we fail to see this in the headlines. Instead, we just get the push from the mouthwash companies to use mouthwash more.
What the Mouth Needs
What does your mouth need? Should we be using some type of mouthwash; maybe a homemade healthy concoction at the very least?
People usually use Mouthwash for 2 Reasons:
1. Bad Breath. Usually there are health issues that should be addressed that cause perpetual health. They should not just be covered over by a strong scented mouthwash.
- Cures for bad breath:
- Do you grow Rosemary, peppermint, or Lemon Balm? Grab a leaf and chew on it.
- Get some cloves and chew on a clove.
- Eat Healthy! Sometimes bad breath is caused by your body trying to get rid of the toxins you have inside.
2. Kill Bacteria. There are great, natural ways to do this while improving your oral health at the same time!!
- Oil Pull with coconut oil. Add a drop of peppermint essential oil so that you are not only killing germs but are freshening your breath at the same time.
- Place a few drops of tea tree essential oil in your homemade toothpaste.
The combination of oil pulling, eating healthy foods, and brushing with natural toothpastes will give your mouth what it needs and make sure you are not harboring bacteria. Add herbs and essential oils and you will ward off infections at the same time. All without using any mouthwashes or store bought toothpastes!
Also try 3 Homemade Mouth Wash Recipes
I am not a doctor, just a mom doing a lot of research on these topics. Please look into these discussions and do research on your own so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.