The Top 8 Natural Mouthwashes
Fight bad breath with an all-natural mouthwash that won’t dry out your mouth. Regular mouthwash contains harmful chemicals and additives that aren’t good for your oral health. Switch to a natural mouthwash for fresher breath and a beautiful smile!
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Your morning coffee and last night’s garlic bread are reason enough for a quick gargle with mouthwash. Every one of us has stressed about bad breath at some point, especially while talking to someone close up, going in for a kiss or getting a whiff or your own breath.
Bad breath can stem from a number of sources, including poor dental health and what you eat and drink. Getting to the root of the issue is important, but there are times when you need a quick breath refresh, and mouthwash is a convenient way to freshen up your breath.
Conventional mouthwash may contain ingredients that can actually make your breath worse in the long run. Here are some ingredients in traditional mouthwash to avoid:
- Alcohol: can dry out your mouth and disrupt natural saliva production. Saliva is extremely important for good oral hygiene (1). Saliva contains water, electrolytes and proteins, and it remineralizes enamel with calcium and phosphates.
- Chlorhexidine: an antibacterial agent that can increase your blood pressure, stain your teeth and disrupt the oral microbiome (2).
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: an irritant to the skin in your mouth. Can cause perioral dermatitis (which is a stubborn rash on the outside of the mouth. My daughter is prone to this stubborn rash).
- Methyl Salicylate: too much can cause low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, convulsions, and vomiting (one tablespoon is equivalent to 23 300 mg aspirin pills).
- Cetylpyridinium chloride: a quaternary ammonium compound (3)
- Polyethylene glycol: is used to make personal care products thicker and better able to transport moisture to the skin. The manufacturing process introduces impurities and by-products, such as ethylene oxides and 1,4-dioxane, which are known carcinogenic materials (4).
- Poloxamer 407 has been linked to elevated cholesterol levels (5).
- Triclosan classified as a pesticide by the FDA. The overuse of products containing Triclosan has been blamed for bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen (6).
- Artificial color + dyes often made from coal tar, and coal tar is recognized as a human carcinogen and may be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals (7).
WHAT IS THE ORAL MICROBIOME?
Our mouths are teeming with microorganisms that make up a community we call the oral microbiome. The oral cavity hosts the second largest microbiome in our body, second to the gut. Not only is a balanced oral microbiome important for your overall dental health, it also has an impact on the health of your gut (8).
CAN ESSENTIAL OILS IN NATURAL MOUTHWASH DISRUPT MY ORAL MICROBIOME?
Most brands of natural mouthwash contain essential oils to kill bacteria and freshen breath. Essential oils can be strong enough to replace antibiotics depending on the essential oils used and their concentration (8). While essential oils may work to kill off some of the oral bacteria that causes bad breath, strong essential oils may also kill off some of the beneficial bacteria in your mouth, disrupting your oral microbiome. At the time of this writing, there is a dearth of clinical studies on the interactions between essential oils and the oral microbiome.
If you’re having a super bad breath day, go ahead and use a mouthwash with strong essential oils to help combat your bad breath. For everyday use, I’d go for a mouthwash that doesn’t contain really strong concentrations of essential oils. Brands like Bite Mouthwash Bits or Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh Mouthwash have mild formulas that work well for everyday use. Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash is another mouthwash that is gentle on the mouth.
ORAL HYGIENE BEST PRACTICES
- Mouthwash should never replace brushing and flossing. If you’ve ever forgotten your toothbrush when travelling and used mouthwash instead, you already know that it just doesn’t work. You need to brush and floss your teeth, which removes plaque, for fresher breath.
- Scrape your tongue! It is a MUST for fresh breath and I feel gross if I don’t tongue scrape before leaving the house.
- A diet high in carbs and sugar and also stress can contribute to an unbalanced oral microbiome, which can lead to bad breath.
- Get regular dental checkups.
- There are other medical reasons that can cause bad breath, including tonsil stones, mouth breathing from allergies, infection or certain medications.
The brands of natural mouthwash I tested below refresh your breath with no harmful chemicals or additives. I’ve included the ingredient list for all of the mouthwash brands so you can decide what works best for your stinky breath situation. *Cost was calculated at the time this article was published, and is subject to change.
Bite Mouthwash Bits
- Cost: $20 for 124 tablets (4 month supply) or $0.97 per tablet
- My Take: I’m a huge fan of this eco-friendly brand. Bite Mouthwash Bits come in a glass container. Take 1 bit and crunch it between your teeth to break it up, then sip some water (without swallowing) and swish. Make sure the bits are all crunched up before you gurgle. This left my mouth with a minty fresh feeling without the sting of some mouthwash brands. I also love the added benefit of hydroxyapatite, which remineralizes your tooth enamel. Read more about hydroxyapatite here. All in all, this is really great mouthwash.
- From the Bite website: Minty Fresh & Travel-Friendly — Bite, sip, swish and get fresh quick with our all-new Mouthwash Bits, the first-ever mouthwash tablets made with nHAp! Experience an icy cool, minty refresh at home or on-the-go. Bite Mouthwash Bits balance your mouth’s pH levels to fight bad breath and kill cavity-causing bacteria. Our mouthwash tablets also help restore enamel, whiten teeth, and decrease sensitivity.
- Bite Mouthwash Bits Ingredients: xylitol, isomalt, calcium carbonate, Erythritol, Natural flavor (mint), sodium bicarbonate, hydroxyapatite (nano), guar gum, zinc citrate, silicon dioxide.
- Cost: $16.00 for 3 oz ($5.33 per oz), or $32.00 for 375 oz. ($2.52 per oz)
- My Take: OLAS Mouthwash is slightly salty with an herbal flavor. It’s mild at first, but after you spit it out, it has a slight burning sensation. It leaves a menthol, clove aftertaste. My mouth and breath felt very fresh after using it.
- From the OLAS website: Infusions of naturally rich sea salts combined with organic essential oil to help restore fresh breath and promote healthy oral hygiene with this luxurious mouthwash. Formulated with 100% natural Marine Bio-Actives. Alcohol-free to promote oral health. Non-desiccating (won’t cause dryness). With organic essential oils to help prevent dry mouth, which can lead to cavities and malodorous breath.
- OLAS Mouthwash Ingredients: water (aqua), glycerin, sucralose, xylitol, sodium bicarbonate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, anthemis nobilis flower oil, commiphora myrrha oil, citrus paridisi (grapefruit) peel oil, thymus vulgaris extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) extract, echinacea angustifolia extract, boswellia serrata gum extract, cupressus sempervirens (cypress) leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) extract, cyanobacter (blue green algae) extract & marine seaweed collagen, saccharomyces/sodium ferment & saccharomyces/calcium ferment & saccaromyces magnesium/ferment & adenosine trifosphate, sodium bicarbonate, polyglyceryl-4 laurate/sebacate (and) polyglyceryl-4 caprylate/caprate (and) water, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, l-menthol 100%, ubiquinone.
Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh Mouthwash
- Cost: $3.74 for 16 fl oz. ($0.23 per oz)
- My Take: I love the minty fresh taste of this mouthwash. My breath felt super fresh after using it, and there was no burning sensation. It’s a great bargain for a natural mouthwash that really works.
- From the Tom’s of Maine website: Our Wicked Fresh™ mouthwash is clinically-proven to provide long-lasting fresh breath. It includes zinc, which neutralizes the odor caused by bad breath germs for long-lasting fresh breath without the burn. We produce this mouthwash without fluoride because we respect our customers’ diverse needs and interests. Fluoride-free, No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, No animal ingredients, Not tested on animals.
- Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh Mouthwash Ingredients: water, glycerin, sorbital, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, propanediol, xylitol, natural flavor, benzoic acid, zinc citrate, menthol, sodium hydroxide.
Dr. Brite Mouthwash
- Cost: $27.99 for 16 fl oz ($1.75 per ounce)
- My Take: Dr. Brite Mouthwash has a mild, sweet mint flavor. There is zero sting or burn, and it felt soothing to use. Dr. Brite also carries a Sensitivity Relief Mouthwash with hemp seed oil in Coconut Chai flavor and a Healthy Gums Mouthwash in Wildberry Flavor.
- From the Dr. Brite website: Our Fresh Breath Mouthwash (MINT), formulated just for you, helps fight stubborn bad breath with triple the naturally derived ingredients and absolutely no synthetic chemicals. Triple the freshness. Cruelty Free, Gluten Free, Paraben Free, Non-GMO, Phthalate Free, Sulfate Free.
- Dr. Brite Mouthwash Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (inner fillet) leaf juice, vegetable glycerin (soy free), xylitol, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf oil, mentha arvensis (menthol) crystals, calcium ascorbate (vitamin c), carum petroselinum (parsely) seed oil, cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon) leaf extract, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, stevia rebaudiana leaf/stem extract, azadirac (neem).
Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash
- Cost: $12 for 16 fl oz ($0.75 per oz)
- My Take: Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash has a sweet cinnamon clove flavor. There was no burning sensation and it left a soothing feeling in my mouth. It also left my breath feeling fresh.
- From the Lumineaux website: Whitening without the sensitivity. You read that right. None of the zings, zaps or lightening bolts. Just bright, fresh, clean looking teeth. How you ask? We took nature’s most amazing whitening ingredients and made them into potent oils so they can break through stains like WAPOW! without stripping away or scratching up your precious enamel.
- Lumineux Whitening Mouthwash Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Xylitol*, Purified Water (Aqua), Dead Sea Salt (Maris Sal), Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Organic Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil *Non GMO Xylitol.
Dr. Ginger’s Coconut Oil Mouthwash
- Cost: $14.95 for 12 fl oz ($1.25 per oz)
- My Take: This mouthwash is very soothing on the mouth and gums. It has a pleasant coconut mint taste that’s on the sweeter side. It almost tastes like dessert. I really liked this mouthwash, but if coconut flavor isn’t your thing, skip this one.
- From the Dr. Ginger’s website: Oil pulling just got simpler, faster and tastier! Modern day oil pulling is based on an ancient Ayurvedic practice designed to boost oral health, while providing other overall health benefits. While oil pulling is effective, it can be inconvenient, messy, difficult or unsavory to swish oil for 10–20 minutes. Ginger’s Coconut Oil Mouthwash offers a fresh, easy, great-tasting alternative by using coconut oil’s natural properties to fight bacteria, toxins and bad breath without harsh chemicals. It leaves a protective barrier behind to fight cavities and bad breath all day.
- Dr. Ginger’s Coconut Oil Mouthwash Ingredients: water, organic coconut oil, glycerin, xylitol, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, peppermint oil, citric acid, sodium lauryl sarconsinate, zinc chloride
Schmidt’s Wondermint Mouthwash
- Cost: $9.99 for 16 fl oz ($0.62 per oz)
- My Take: This mouthwash has a nice minty flavor and doesn’t leave a burning sensation. My breath was nice and fresh after using it!
- From the Schmidt’s website: Enticingly cool, fresh mint, minus the bitter aftertaste. A fresh and wondrous take on classic minty flavors. Gentle, plant-powered, fluoride-free formula. With coconut oil, goji berry, and botanical extracts. Leaves your mouth feeling cool and refreshed. SLS Free, Fluoride Free, Alcohol Free, Triclosan Free, Vegan, Cruelty Free
- Schmidt’s Wondermint Mouthwash Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Xylitol, Magnolia Acuminata (Blue Magnolia) Bark Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Lauryl Glucoside, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Powder, Tocopherol (Vitamin E, Sunflower Derived), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Menthol, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lonicera Periclymenum (Honeysuckle) Extract, Zinc Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
Jason Sea Fresh Spearmint Strengthening Mouthwash
- Cost: $7.63 for 16 fl oz ($0.48 per oz)
- My Take: This mouthwash has a very salty taste. There was no burning sensation, but it had a soapy, slightly bitter aftertaste. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the taste, the mouthwash left my breath super fresh and my mouth feeling really clean.
- From the Jason website: PowerSmile® all natural mouth wash extends the whitening power of Powersmile toothpaste with Calcium Ascorbate, a form of Vitamin C. Freshen your breath with powerful Peppermint Oil and Menthol while natural Grapefruit Seed and Perilla Seed Extracts help reduce tartar buildup and Aloe Vera Gel soothes gum irritation. For a brilliantly white smile and fresh breath, use JĀSÖN® PowerSmile® toothpaste and mouthwash twice a day. Benefits: Brightens teeth with Calcium Ascorbate for Super fresh breath and a naturally brighter smile. It’s time for you to smile and shine. No: parabens, harsh sulfates, gluten, petrolatum, phthalates
- Jason Mouthwash Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Echinacea Angustifolia Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Hydrastis Canadensis (Golden Seal) Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Ascorbate, Menthol, Sea Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xylitol (1)Certified organic ingredient
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