Active ingredients in mouthwash usually include Benzalkonium chloride, Methylparaben, Hydrogen peroxide, Domiphen bromide, Hexetidine, and Chlorhexidine gluconate. (You can read more about each active ingredient here.) Other popular ingredients include foaming agents, ethyl alcohol, flavored oils, antimicrobial ingredients, colorants, preservatives and fluoride.
One of the most popular ingredients, ethyl alcohol, can weaken the lining of gums and oral cavity, which can increase the risk of damaging chemicals affecting your DNA. Research reported by Standford University suggests, though it is not conclusive, that the alcohol in antiseptic mouthwash might increase the risk of oral cancer. Read more about the study here.
Most mouthwashes also include synthetic colors, aromas, and flavorings—which are basically perfumes. These perfumes and alcohols contained in most mouthwashes may take away mouth odors temporarily, but they can also alter the basic flora and pH of your mouth and throat which can have serious side effects.
Not all mouthwashes are created equal, and some use more questionable ingredients than others. One way to freshen your mouth without the worry is to create your own mouthwash using essential oils that are antimicrobial and antiseptic in nature.
You can easily make your own mouthwash that is free of chemicals, perfumes, preservatives, artificial colors, and more with two simple ingredients—water and essential oils—which can be just as beneficial (if not more) than chemicals used in traditional mouthwashes.
Try this simple and cost effective mouthwash recipe for a clean, refreshed, and healthy mouth.
10 drops of essential oil(s)
2 cups water (distilled, filtered, or boiled water)
16 ounce dark glass bottle (you can purchase a bottle here)
1. Put 10 drops of the dōTERRA essential oil(s) of your choice into the glass bottle.
2. Pour in 2 cups of distilled, filtered, or boiled water into glass bottle. Note: If you boiled water, make sure you let the water come to room temperature before adding to bottle.
3. When using, shake first and take a small sip of your homemade mouthwash. Swish around your mouth and gargle for 30 seconds. Do not swallow.
4. You’re done! It’s that easy.
There are many essential oils you could use in your mouthwash. Below are a few suggested oils you could use, by themselves, or by combining two or more to make a blend. Be careful when using Cinnamon essential oil as it can be irritating if too much is used. Start with 1 drop and gradually increase if desired. Also, did you know you can use dōTERRA’s On Guard® Natural Whitening Toothpaste can be used as a mouthwash as well? After you’re done brushing just put a little bit of water in your mouth, gargle, and spit. Learn more about On Guard Natural Whitening Toothpaste here.
Essential Oil Suggestions:
Note on Wintergreen essential oil:
Wintergreen is not labeled for internal use as it contains some phytochemical constituents that can make you sick when taken in large doses. We use a child safety cap on Wintergreen because it smells like candy and don’t want kids drinking it, although it would be very hard to gag down enough to hurt someone. Some oils are not recommended for internal use because they are either not safe or there are no health reasons to use them internally. It does not mean they are not pure or safe; they are just not used in that way. Some individuals use Wintergreen in small amounts for a mouthwash and it is not an issue in this regard. However, we don’t recommend you use high levels (more than 20 drops at a time) of any essential oil internally because they are very concentrated. It is important to remember that more is not always better.