Natural mouthwash: Does it work? - truthpaste
April 10, 2023

Natural mouthwash: Does it work?

By Marisa Battrick

Botanical and natural products have seen a rise in popularity in many aspects of healthcare, including oral health. However, there still remains a certain cynicism around natural ingredients and products. Can they really be as effective as the synthetic alternatives cooked up by commercial companies? 

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to this as we are constantly learning, discovering and rediscovering the benefits and disadvantages of both natural and synthetic ingredients. Where mouthwash is concerned, though, there is some interesting evidence emerging that natural is the way to go.

Does natural mouthwash work?

This depends very much on which one you are using and what you expect a mouthwash to do. A cosmetic mouthwash will do little more than rinse the mouth and freshen the breath. A therapeutic mouthwash can help to fight bacteria, reduce and prevent plaque, protect gums and keep a balanced pH and happy oral microbiome. 

It is certainly possible to find an array of natural ingredients that can do just this. In fact, often natural ingredients have the benefit of causing fewer adverse reactions. 

It has been proven through case studies that mouthwashes that contain alcohol (ethanol) can actually cause bad breath to worsen as it dries out the mouth. Similarly, chlorhexidine used for receding gums was found to cause staining and an increase in tartar amongst frequent users. 

Natural alternatives to synthetic compounds such as aloe vera or ginseng were found to be just as effective and with the benefits of fewer adverse effects on both the mouth and the environment. 

Does natural mouthwash fight bacteria?

This can depend on the ingredients. Some mouthwashes work mostly to refresh breath. Look for natural ingredients such as aloe vera, and botanical extracts that can fight plaque and bacteria. There are an ever-increasing number of studies to back up this claim. That is not to say that commercial mouthwashes don’t fight bacteria. They do, but some of the chemicals tend to be strong, and can potentially leave the whole mouth with damage to cheek and gum tissue. 

Natural ingredients vs synthetic ingredients

Given the obvious benefits of natural mouthwashes, it begs the question; why even use synthetic ingredients?

Largely, this comes down to money. It is much cheaper to mass-produce mouthwash made of synthetic ingredients than it is to harvest them from organic plants. This inevitably has an impact on the environment in terms of toxic wastes and carbon emissions. 

It could be argued that the existing cynicism surrounding natural products has been perpetuated by commercial manufacturers and used to generate mistrust in their overall effectiveness. 

On the other hand, research in this area is relatively new and ongoing. It’s encouraging to see natural ingredients holding up to scientific scrutiny. 

Should I use a natural mouthwash?

It is always worth looking at what ingredients are used in any of your oral care products. Whilst any adverse effects were minimal in comparison to commercial mouthwash, it’s important to take into account allergies and other health conditions. 

The research leans very much towards natural mouthwash as the best choice for your mouth and for the planet!






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Swathi Vangipuram, Abhishek Jha, and Mamtha Bhashyam (2016) Comparative efficacy of aloe vera mouthwash and chlorhexidine on periodontal health: A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry

Bushra Karim et al, (2014) Effect of Aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health: triple blind randomized control trial. Oral Health Dent Manag

Nadeem Jeddy, Shivani Ravi, T Radhika, and L J Sai, Lakshmi (2018) Comparison of the efficacy of herbal mouth rinse with commercially available mouth rinses: A clinical trial. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

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