I'm currently on a bit of a mission to rid my life of as many chemicals as possible. But rather than throw everything out once something runs out i have been replacing with a more natural alternative because I'm really quite against waste.
Today I went against this and poured away my mouthwash. Why? Amongst other things - Propylene Glycol.
You may be familiar with Propylene Glycol as 'Anti-Freeze' and found in brake fluid which has been known to kill dogs and cats. (there is a little more to that but that's another story).
In cosmetic products it is predominately used as a wetting agent, a humectant and can stop ingredients in a liquid solution 'settling'. In the UK it is not often found in food, yet is widely used in other countries.
However, it is also known as a strong skin irritant, said to have systemic consequences such as brain, liver and kidney issues. Propylene Glycol is also a potential carcinogen as when used on skin it can alter the natural moisture and can leave the skin more vulnerable to harmful bacteria. It is worth noting that in animal studies no links to cancer were found, however it has been found to provoke allergic reactions in much lower concentrations than currently used in cosmetics.
Manufacturers (and no doubt some members of the public) will state that Propylene Glycol is safe as it has been approved by the FDA. Despite this the FDA has been very open about the serious effects of Propolyene Glycol overdose (which occurs at relatively low levels of 1800mg) and has also banned the use of PG in cat food after research showed it can damage red blood cells.
The controversy around Propylene Glycol is not for lack of research, there's lots of it - with lots of contradicting findings.
Mouthwash is BIG business. In the UK alone, million of bottles are sold per year. But do we really need it?
According to the FDA - most ingredients are not effective and only helps lower the risk of oral disease very marginally.
Furthermore, according to Anthony Komaroff, M.D, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School "Mouthwash actually plays a fairly minor role in the prevention of plaque and gum disease. Brushing and flossing are much more important. Most of the bacteria that cause bad breath reside in a small area at the back of the tongue. Brushing them away with a toothbrush is much more effective than rinsing with a mouthwash"
Propylene Glycol is not going to disappear from use any time soon, and it probably has its place in certain uses. Therefore it comes down to individuals whether to use products with Propylene Glycol. Personally I will chose to find an alternative, and whilst I may not be able to avoid it completely in the modern world, I will certainly be finding ways to limit my exposure to Propylene Glycol and I can avoid it in my mouthwash with a homemade version.
You will need:
1 cup of distilled water (if you dont have distilled water, bring water to boil in a pan, then allow to cool)
1 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda
1 drops of lemon essential oil
2 drops of peppermint essential oil
How To Make It:
Mix together and decant into a glass container
Shake before use (the baking soda can sometimes settle at the bottom & the essential oil at the top)
This combination was a zingy minty taste and was enough to disguise the salty taste of the baking (bicarbonate of) soda.
*I made this combination with adults in mind & not children. As with all mouthwash, rinse & spit, do not swallow*
Have you tried homemade mouthwashes? Tell me your combinations in the comments!
Links To Purchase: