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Wellness Spotlight: Herbal Mouth Rinses

Nov 13, 2014

By Dean George

More people than ever are embracing organic products as part of their lifestyle, from the foods they cook to the healthcare products they use. Just one example is the growing interest in herbal mouth rinses made from plant based, natural ingredients.


What is considered a natural ingredient? There is no standardized definition of “natural,” but generally ingredients are considered natural if they originate from a plant, mineral or animal source.

Synthetic ingredients are those that are chemically modified to become something different.  

As detailed in previous Dental Wire posts, many regular mouth rinses contain alcohol and most contain fluoride. Both can be absorbed into the bloodstream when gargling because the rinse comes in direct contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth – even if none is swallowed.

Most traditional mouth rinses also include sodium lauryl sulfate, the detergent that creates the suds when you brush.

Herbal mouth rinses contain none of these, but they do contain a cornucopia of natural ingredients trusted to have beneficial properties.  For example, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender and spearmint help freshen breath and reduce oral bacteria.

Xylitol, stevia and vegetable glycerin sweeten herbal mouth rinses and vegetable juices like red cabbage, beet, and tomato juice help give them color since they use no artificial dyes. Of those ingredients, Xylitol has been clinically proven to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

 More research is needed to confirm many of the beneficial properties believed contained in herbal mouth rinses, but below are just a few ingredients used in many today:

  • Tea Tree is an antimicrobial oil believed to fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease
  • Myrhh (as in gold and frankincense) is believed to heal mouth ulcers and bleeding gums due to its antimicrobial and astringent properties
  • Aloe vera is valued as an anti-inflammatory ingredient that soothes
  • Neem helps prevent plaque and is a leading antibacterial herb used in Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Echinacea is an anti-inflammatory and antiviral herb known to fight infection.

Two natural mouth rinses that have earned the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance are The Natural Dentist and Tom’s of Maine. Whatever natural ingredients a mouth rinse contains, it’s important to remember that nothing replaces the need to brush, floss and drink lots of water.

Before using any mouth rinse it is recommended that you consult your dentist to see about your specific oral health needs.  And if you don’t have a dental plan that will help you with the cost of regular preventive dental visits, we recommend you click here.

Sources: yourdentistryguide.com, WebMD.com        
Photo source: gaiamtv.com


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