Natural Mouthwash: What to Buy & What to Avoid

October 10, 2017

 

Many of us, if not all of us, have used Listerine before. I used it on and off for years. I liked that it left my mouth feeling clean and free of bad bacteria though it was never something that I used month after month because I just couldn't stand the burning sensation. I would tell myself the burning was the Listerine doing it's job of killing the bad bacteria. My eyes would water as I counted down the seconds until I could spit it out. "There must be a better way" I thought.

 

If you look at the ingredients list on a classic Listerine bottle you'll see some suspicious things: Thymol (may cause organ toxicity), Methyl Salicylate (may cause developmental/reproductive harm), flavor, FD&C Blue 1, etc. Listerine Naturals still includes Thymol, flavor, and many of the other ingredients, though coloring was removed. 

 

I wasn't thrilled with the information I was learning so I decided to give a few other mouthwash brands a try. I first tried Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh Cool Mountain Mint Mouthwash as it was the only natural option I could find in stores in my area.

 

 

I really enjoy using this mouthwash. It's not painful to use and yet still feels like it's working. One really cool thing about this brand is that on the Tom's of Maine website they list each ingredient, its purpose, and its source. Flavor is listed as one of the ingredients though their website describes this as "natural oils derived from the leaves of mint and other aromatic plants". Zinc chloride is also included on the list and though it is generally considered safe, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database lists it as moderately harmful. Most of the safety concerns you see online relate to the gastrointestinal tract. Since this isn't a product you'd ingest I'm not too concerned but it's something to take note of since it does come in contact with the inside of your mouth.

 

Size: 16 fl oz

 

Price: $3.99 at Target

 

Pros:

↠ Free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (a known carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, skin irritant, etc. On their website Tom's doesn't touch on the toxicity of SLS and only mention that they offer products with and without this ingredient to allow the consumer to decide.)

↠ Free of Fluoride (I mentioned this in my Nature's Gate Toothpaste review. There is conflicting information as to its toxicity. On their website Tom's doesn't touch on the toxicity of Fluoride and only mention that they offer products with and without this ingredient to allow the consumer to decide.)

↠ Great taste

↠ No burning sensation, only mild tingling

↠ Leaves mouth feeling clean and breath smelling fresh

↠ Inexpensive

 

Cons:

↠ Flavoring and Zinc chloride are questionable ingredients

 

Would I repurchase? Yes!

 

You may recognize the next brand from my Marshall's Haul. It's the Jason Power Smile Peppermint Mouthwash.

 

 

I love this mouthwash. It has a mild flavor and just like the Tom's mouthwash, there's no burning sensation, just a nice tingling. One of the main ingredients is Calcium Ascorbate (a form of Vitamin C) which is used to whiten the teeth. Peppermint Oil and Menthol freshen the breath while Grapefruit Seed and Perilla Seed Extracts reduce tartar buildup. Aloe Vera is also included to soothe any gum irritation. It is formulated without Parabens, SLS, Petrolatum, Artificial Colors, Phthalates, Alcohol, Saccharin, or Gluten. The only ingredient that stands out as questionable to me is Polysorbate 20. The 20 in the name means it was treated with 20 parts of ethylene oxide. Products that are treated with ethylene oxide may become contaminated with 1,-4 Dioxane which is a known toxin and carcinogen. The EWG database lists 1,-4 Dioxane as a possible impurity in Polysorbate-20, -60, -80 and other common personal care product ingredients. Since this is the third ingredient on the list it does cause some concern. Though there are lot of "ifs" to this ingredient, it's something to be aware of.

 

Size: 16 fl oz

 

Price: $7.49 on Vitacost

 

Pros:

↠ Free of Parabens, SLS, Petrolatum, Artificial Colors, Phthalates, Alcohol, Saccharin, and Gluten

↠ Great taste

↠ No burning sensation, only mild tingling

↠ Leaves mouth feeling clean and breath smelling fresh

 

Cons:

↠ Polysorbate 20 is a questionable ingredient

↠ Expensive

 

Would I repurchase? Yes!

 

The third and final brand is one I ordered off of Vitacost: Desert Essence Natural Neem Cinnamint Mouthwash.

 

 

Though this product has mixed reviews online I wanted to give it a go. Unfortunately, this was the one in the bunch that I wasn't a fan of. It burned as much as Listerine and left my eyes red and watery. This may sound like an exaggeration but my heart rate also increased every time I used this. I had a hard time gargling for even 10 seconds. The label mentions diluting the product with water if it's too strong which I tried doing but didn't notice a difference. Though this product doesn't contain any sugar, gluten, or alcohol, it burns like crazy, likely because of the Neem, Peppermint, and Cinnamon. This product also contains Polysorbate 80 which is very similar to Polysorbate 20. The only difference is the concentration of ethylene oxide it was treated with, 80 meaning 80 parts of ehtylene oxide - 4 times as much as Polysorbate 20. This means there is an even greater chance that this product will include 1,-4 Dioxane. Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend this product.

 

Size: 16 fl oz

 

Price: $5.49 on Vitacost

 

Pros:

↠ Free of Sugar, Gluten, and Alcohol

 

Cons:

↠ Polysorbate 80 is a questionable ingredient

↠ Very strong burning sensation

↠ Uncomfortable to use

 

Would I repurchase? No

 

I hope you found this post helpful! Have you guys tried any natural mouthwash? What's your favorite one?

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