In conjunction with a toothpaste I made to help treat gum inflammation, it seemed wise to concoct a soothing mouth-rinse that could be used to:
- Clear any residual baking soda from the mouth.
- Address bleeding gums (post brushing & flossing).
- Freshen breath.
For this, it seemed a gentle, cooling effect would be best, which is where hydrosols come into play. Which leads to a quick explanation of what a hydrosol (i.e., hydrolate, hydrolat, floral water) is from the highly regarded Suzanne Catty (in aromatherapy terms):
“Hydrosols are the condensate water coproduced during the steam-or hydro-distillation of plant material for aromatherapeutic purposes.”
Truth-be-told, I have used the Listerine brand for years–mostly out of learned behavior and co-habiting: my father used Listerine and my husband does. [To be clear: I am not knocking the brand nor asking anyone not to use it–the point of this post is to share how incredibly simple alternatives exist using plant medicine and aromatherapy for oral care.]
Following is the formula for the mouth-rinse (for an 8 ounce bottle):
- Peppermint hydrosol (Mentha x piperita) (1/2 cup):
- Anti-inflammatory and a mild antibacterial agent.
- Note: AVOID using with children less than 3 years of age.
- Rock Rose hydrosol (Cistus ladaniferus) (1/4 cup):
- Astringent (stops bleeding) and cicatrisant (healing/scar tissue).
- Witch Hazel hydrosol (Hamamelis virginiana) (1/4 cup):
- Astringent, anti-inflammatory, cicatrisant and antiseptic.
- Everlasting hydrosol (Helichrysum italicum) (1 tablespoon):
- Ani-inflammatory, cicatrisant and a mild analgesic.
- Xylitol (1 tablespoon):
- Xylitol counteracts the production of bacteria-loving, decaying acid through a neutralizing effect–it is essentially a plant-based neutralizer.
- Take a mouthful (e.g., 1 tablespoon) of the rinse and swish around the mouth for 60 seconds. Spit out. Although the mixture is non-toxic, it is wise to spit out and not swallow–the goal is to rid any lingering bacteria from the body.
- The end product is NOT shelf-stable. Hydrosols are still WATER and can spoil/”bloom”:
- Keep the mixture in the fridge if you do not intend to use the mixture within a few days. (Or always keep the mixture in the fridge to enhance the cooling sensation.)
- I chose a sterilized 8 ounce bottle because I have them on-hand–go ahead and use any glass bottle (avoid plastic if you can…). Just be sure you can put a cap on the delivery device to reduce oxidation, evaporation and contamination of the mixture.
- Keep xylitol away from pets, especially dogs. Keep away from children aged 3 and under.