Bad breath (officially known as halitosis, if it’s chronic) is a problem that can be caused by anything from an over-load of bacteria in your mouth, underlying dental problems, or just a stinky snack with foods like garlic or onions. But that mouthwash that you buy at the store…why is it electric green or bright purple anyways? If you take a moment to read the label, you’ll find you’re not getting much more than a mouthful of chemicals, artificial coloring, and flavoring that does little to help your breath for more than a half hour or so. It may actually do more damage long-term-one of the most popular ingredients in mouthwash is ethyl alcohol, which can weaken the lining of your gums. Although inconclusive, Stanford University has conducted research that may link certain mouthwash to oral cancer. So the next time you need to freshen your breath, try making this DIY mouth rinse. It’s inexpensive, refreshing, and effective-not to mention that you know what’s in it, and can take comfort in the fact that its not the color of toxic sludge.
Ingredients: Cinnamon powder, honey, lemon juice, baking soda (optional).
Why cinnamon: Unlike mint, which tends to just mask the smell of bad breath, cinnamon actually gets rid of the odor by killing off odor-causing bacteria. The International Association for Dental Research found that people who chewed cinnamon gum had a 50% decrease in oral bacteria versus people who chewed mint.
Why honey: Honey makes everything taste better, but it also has antibacterial properties. If possible, get Manuka honey.
Manuka honey is from New Zealand, and contains 127 times the amount of methylglyoxa, which is the antimicrobial agent that kills off bacteria, than acacia honey (the regular sweet stuff you usually see.) Always try to get organic raw honey.
Why lemon juice: Lemon has a strong refreshing citrus scent that can help with nasty cases of bad breath.
Why baking soda: Baking soda wipes out nasty things (like bad bacteria) and has been shown to help whiten teeth.
You will need…
Put ½ tablespoon of cinnamon into a bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid, and add the juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons along with 1 ½ teaspoons of honey. If you’d like you can also add in 1/2-1 teaspoon of baking soda and omit the honey, or use both. Pour 1 cup of very warm water (needed to melt the honey) into the jar, and stir well. When you need to freshen up your breath, give it a quick shake and swish/gargle 1-2 tablespoons for 1 minute.