DIY mouthwashes for healthy teeth and fresh breath

Brushing and rinsing do more than give you a healthy smile and good breath; they may also improve your long-term health. Many illnesses, some of them serious, can get their start in your mouth — reason enough to keep it clean.

DIY mouthwashes for healthy teeth and fresh breath

People have believed for centuries that bad teeth signify bad health. It was only recently, though, that we identified the scientific connection: gum inflammation. The theory is that bacteria from dental plaque seep into the bloodstream via inflamed gums and produce enzymes that make blood platelets stickier and more likely to clot, contributing to the hardening of arteries.

The good news is that this risk factor can be easily controlled. Healthy teeth and strong gums are the product of conscientious care and good nutrition. To the chagrin of children, sugar is the number-one enemy of our teeth. Sugar damages teeth in two ways: by interfering with the absorption of calcium and causing tooth decay. Milk products, on the other hand, contain a healthy load of calcium, which hardens your teeth. To keep your gums healthy and strong, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; the vitamin C they contain is a fountain of youth for your teeth.

DIY mouthwashes

Using mouthwash after brushing can leave your mouth fresh and clean.

  • To make a pleasant-smelling, refreshing mouthwash, mix 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) each of water and vodka and three drops each of eucalyptus, anise and clove oil in a small bottle. Add five millilitres (one teaspoon) of the mouthwash to a glass of water and gargle.
  • For another refreshing rinse, mix 500 millilitres (two cups) of vodka, 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of rhatany (krameria) tincture, 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of peppermint oil, about 2 millilitres (1/2 teaspoon) of cinnamon oil and one millilitre (1/4 teaspoon) of anise oil. Add just a dash of the mixture to a glass of water and rinse.
  • To make a mouthwash that will strengthen your gums, mix 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) each of arnica, propolis, rhatany and sage tinctures. Add 10 drops of the mixture to a glass of water and rinse.
  • Inflammation can be soothed with a mouthwash made from 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of arnica tincture diluted with 25 millilitres (two tablespoons) of water.

Recipe: rose blossom mouthwash

You will need:

  • 75 ml (5 tbsp) rose blossoms
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) sage
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) strawberry leaves
  • 150 ml (2/3 c) cider vinegar
  • 100 ml (3 1/2 oz) rose water

What to do:

Mix herbs in a sealable container and pour the heated cider vinegar over top. Steep for 10 days, strain and squeeze out herbs thoroughly. Mix the remaining liquid with rose water and pour through a filter. Add a dash to a glass of water and rinse out mouth.

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