I am a bit of a stickler for oral hygiene. Hand to God – I floss religiously! My dentist loves me! But there is one thing he would like me to do that I just can’t get down with – swishing with some iteration of Listerine every day. That stuff is excruciating!!! I dunno, pain is our bodies’ way of saying “yeah, not so much” so I’m just not keen on lighting my mouth on fire twice a day in the name of oral heath.
Due to a steady childhood diet of antibiotics to treat chronic ear infections, my husband’s adult teeth have especially vulnerable enamel. He is the king of good oral hygiene and still faces a lot of challenges with his teeth. Lately we have been thinking that all of this brushing, flossing, water piking, prescription pastes and rinses, etc. might be helping to stave off decay (though not very well!), but they aren’t really doing anything to promote health. There is a big difference between eradicating or warding off disease and actually promoting health, right?
So I decided to look into more holistic approaches to having healthy teeth and gums. One of the first things I noticed was tons of people going on about homemade remineralizing mouth rinses. Pretty much all of them contain calcium carbonate, trace minerals and purified water. The variations come in how you sweeten it (if at all) and the essential oils you use for flavor and for their antibacterial/antifungal properties.
What the heck is a remineralizing mouthwash, and why should you use one? Simple. We eat and drink a lot of acidic, sugary things that are no bueno for our teeth. They create a plaque promoting environment in our mouths, and we end up with fur coated teeth by the end of the day. A remineralizing rinse is a safe, all-natural liquid that bathes your teeth in a gentle, good-for-them, mineral-rich, neutralizing and quite tasty solution.
Can I say how much I LOVE this stuff??? It’s good for your teeth and gums, tastes amazing, leaves your mouth fresh and clean and doesn’t in the least bit hurt (unless you overdo it with the cinnamon oil – yikes!). My husband and I both like how fresh it leaves our mouths feeling and tasting, and we’ve both noticed that our teeth are less “fuzzy” at the end of the day. Plus, everything in it is natural, inexpensive, easy to find and can be used for other things around the house and kitchen. You could actually swallow the stuff and it won’t make you sick – try that with Listerine. Uh, don’t swallow it tho, because gross – you’re using it to flush the yuckies from your mouth!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Calcium carbonate powder – this is just the powder form of calcium many of us take in our daily supplements. Apparently you can also use it to make your own chalk paint! You can find this online or in a vitamin store, and it’s very inexpensive.
- ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops – this actually is a daily mineral supplement, made from water in the Great Salt Lake. You can add it to juice or your smoothie, and some people add it to RO water to improve the taste. I got mine on Amazon.
- Xylitol – this is a natural sugar alcohol. It is used in toothpaste, sugar free gum, etc. and it’s actually good for your teeth because it starves the bacteria in your mouth. You can also use it to sweeten food or drinks, but I have read that you need to limit you daily intake to under 9 tsp. or it can have a laxative effect. It tastes like “less sweet” sugar with no chemical or other off taste. I like it in my iced tea!
- Food-Grade Essential Oils – this is important – you need to use oils that are meant to flavor FOOD not make candles or perfume! Lorann Peppermint and Cinnamon oils are fabulous (and extremely potent), and I’m a huge fan Boyajian citrus oils. They can all be found at King Arthur, Sur la Table or Amazon. At a minimum you need to have some peppermint or cinnamon oil in there for their antibacterial/antifungal properties. Citrus oils are a flavor bonus.
- Purified water – I use water from my Zero Water pitcher, but you can use RO or bottled as well.
Here’s how to make a batch:
In a clean, small jar with a tight fitting lid, combine
- 1 cup purified water
- 1 tsp. calcium carbonate powder
- 1 tsp xylitol (more or less to taste), optional but beneficial
- 8 drops ConcenTrace trace mineral drops
- Essential oils – my fave combos are: Cinnamint – 5 drops peppermint + 3 drops cinnamon; Cinnamon-Orange – 3 drops cinnamon + 5 drops orange; and Lemon-Mint – 5 drops peppermint + 5 drops lemon. *Tip: cinnamon oil is POWERFUL, so go easy on that one unless you’re a big fan of fireballs!
Shake well every time you use it to distribute the oils and the calcium which will settle to the bottom, and swish a Tbsp in your mouth after you brush your teeth. I also like to swish a bit after drinking coffee or tea. Enjoy!