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Bad Breath (halitosis) Research

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Making your own mouthwash

Some people like baking their own bread, preparing their own noodles, building their own roofs, and so on. Such people are likely to want to know how to make their own mouthwash. I have included here a few recipes.

MouthwashThe basic commercial mouthwash may contain up to about 2% of flavor (usually essential oils, mint is what most people have in mind when they think of breath freshening - mind you, clove oil is a more potent choice), up to 2% of a surfactant, to solubilize the flavor and to provide foaming (which is not particularly helpful, but gives people the feeling that the mouthwash is working), up to 2% humectant and/or thickener (add "body" to rinse), alcohol (up to about 25%, it adds bite and freshness, enhances flavor, and may have some antibacterial effect), and active ingredients. Ingredients which are reported to have an effect in controlling odor include zinc chloride (usually around 0.2%), quaternary ammonium compounds (for example, cetylpyridinium chloride up to 0.05%) and certain combinations of essential oils. The most effective antibacterial agent present in mouthwashes is probably chlorhexidine, which requires a prescription in others (US, only up to 0.12%), but can be sold to anyone in Israel (up to 0.2%). Chlorhexidine is problematic, causing pain and ulcerations in some users, heavy toothstaining and temporary loss of taste. Chlorhexidine containing mouthwashes are good for initial diagnosis and therapy (up to two weeks), as well as for post surgery treatment, but are not advised for every day use. Although some investigators have reported that sodium bicarbonate reduces bad breath, my suspicion is that it is relatively ineffective.