Let’s talk about Mouth washing- Part 3

You’d think that with toothbrushes and toothpastes we would be done, right? Hah!

Dental Floss:

The American Dental Association started promoting flossing in 1908. A US dentist, Levi Spear Parmly invented flossing in the early 1800s. The first floss was patented in 1874 by which time dentists were recommending the practice.

plastic floss

Regular floss (item 1 in the photo) found in most supermarkets is basically made of waxed nylon, rolled up in a plastic box. Both these items are derived from crude oil and both are thrown in general rubbish and end up in nature or landfills. Alternatives like inter-dental brushes (item 2) or floss picks ( items 3) are made of pretty much the same sources. So, what can we do to mitigate this plastic hell?

Firstly, decide if you really need to floss your teeth. “WTF“, say you? Am I advising you to stop flossing?


This dentist advises against it and goes on to say, “How can you kill an infection with a piece of string, especially if it can’t reach the bottom of the pocket where the infection lives?” He strongly recommends an oral irrigator ( pressĀ here for some info on this) which is a machine which uses a stream of pressurized pulsating water to clean between teeth and below the gum line. Alas, all the water irrigators I saw are made from plastic etc, like most household small machines. But if you buy a good quality one, what stops it being a once in a lifetime buy which is worth it?

Apart from this dentist and others, I also read a scientific review of twelve trials with a total of 582 participants which concluded, “There is some evidence from twelve studies that flossing in addition to tooth brushing reduces gingivitis compared to tooth brushing alone. There is weak, very unreliable evidence from 10 studies that flossing plus tooth brushing may be associated with a small reduction in plaque at 1 and 3 months. No studies reported the effectiveness of flossing plus tooth brushing for preventing dental caries.”

Bear in mind that currently in the US, studies which evaluate the benefits of flossing can be funded and directed by flossing manufacturers.

There are loads more articles against flossing as it provides little benefit but hey, up to you. If you should indeed go for flossing, here is what I would use:

Silk floss in a refillable glass container. You can buy it with a refill so no plastic is used in the making of. There are quite a few brands in the market so check out the one you like best. It is also called dental lace.

no plastic floss

Mouthwash/ mouth rinse/ oral rinse:


Some ingredients used:
Benzydamine/Difflam (analgesics)
Cetylpyridinium chloride (antiseptic, antimalodor)
Chlorhexidine digluconate and Hexetidine (antiseptic)
Edible oils
Essential oils and phenols
Fluoride (anticavity)
Flavoring agents which include sweeteners such as sorbitol, sucralose, sodium saccharin, and Xylitol
Hydrogen peroxide
Lactoperoxidase (saliva substitute)
Methyl salicylate
Potassium oxalate
Sanguinarine which is a toxic alkaloid herbal extract, obtained from plants such as Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot), Argemone mexicana (Mexican Prickly Poppy) and others
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Sodium chloride (salt)
Sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming agent) – see one of my previous posts on this
Tetracycline (antibiotic)
Tranexamic acid

You know my viewpoint on the chemical burden our bodies carry so frankly, unless your dentist recommends it, I would either dispense with this or make my own as per below

Recipe 1: Basic mouthwash


  • 1 cup distilled, boiled or filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil


Mix all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well. Swish in mouth, then spit out. Label and store on bathroom counter. Shake well prior to each use.

Recipe 2: Spicy mouthwash


  • 1 cup distilled, boiled or filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil


Bring the water to a boil, switch off the heat and add the cloves and cinnamon. Let the spices infuse.

Strain the mixture with a fine mesh strainer.

Once cool, add the peppermint essential oil

Pour into a glass jar, label and keep refrigerated. Shake well prior to each use.

Recipe 3: Essential oil mouthwash


  • 1 cup distilled, boiled or filtered water
  • 10 drops of cinnamon or clove or tea tree essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well prior to each use in order to distribute the essential oils. Will keep on the bathroom counter indefinitely.

(NB: Store homemade items with Essential oils in a dark jar or in a dark cupboard or medicine cabinet as sunlight causes essential oils to lose their potency)

Breath freshners:

If you have bad breath/halitosis – I’d go see my dentist. Or avoid foods like raw onion, garlic etc.

Other than that, how about you keep some whole cardamons or cloves or even some fennel to suck or chew. As far as chewing gum goes- UGHHHHH as commercial gum has no gum in it and is basically plastic, other chemicals and artificial sweeteners and colourants all overly and plastic wrapped.

Alternatively, press here on how to make a post-meal mouth freshener cum digestive aid, similar to ones you get in some Indian restaurants. If that looks way too complicated then I’d simply add some candy sugar to some fennel and have a teaspoon of that after meals.