one green planet
one green planet

I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer here, but I’m going to lay it out cleanly: in pursuit of a healthy, fresh-smelling mouth, many of us have been poisoning ourselves. Despite what we’ve been told, conventional mouthwashes can often do more harm than good: read on for the proof pudding, Green Monsters.

Take, for example, Listerine: the stuff I grew up swishing around in my own mouth. The original brand of Listerine includes ingredients like “benzoic acid, poloxamer 407, sodium benzoate, and caramel.” Cool mint flavor? That’s full of stuff like “sorbitol solution, flavoring, poloxamer 407, benzoic acid, sodium saccharin, sodium benzoate, FD&C green no. 3.” Many of these ingredients are linked to cancer – and many are “harmful if swallowed.” Um, hello – why are we putting this stuff in our mouths? I remember feeling the insides of my mouth burning and wondering: is there something wrong with this picture? Yes, young self – there was.

If you need more evidence, check out the chart at the bottom of this article. It should be easy to discern: conventional mouthwash is probably not the best thing to use inside that precious mouth of yours.

Now, if you keep a regular brushing schedule and are careful to also clean your tongue, mouthwash usually isn’t really necessary. But if you’re still weary, or need something easy on hand in the event that you down too many garlic cloves, never fear: there is, as is in most cases, a quick, easy alternative, made from ingredients you probably already have on hand at home. I recommend making this one serving at a time for the freshest blend, but you can mix up a small batch to have on hand if you really want to.

For one “serving,” you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon organic peppermint oil
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

In a small cup, mix these ingredients together. Then, pour into your mouth and swish for at least  one minute – up to 10 minutes if you can stand it! From the coconut oil, you’ll get the benefit of oil pulling – a detoxifying practice that literally pulls toxins from your saliva (more: here). The baking soda and peppermint oil will naturally kill of bacteria, while at the same time leaving you with a fresh, minty taste that doesn’t burn and doesn’t slowly poison your body. A win-win in my book!

Image Source: thedabblist/Flickr

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