Organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, lung irritation, allergies and environmental damage: these warnings aren’t stated on your bottle of mouthwash, but they’re the risks you take for a minty fresh mouth and supposed oral health.

Not worth it.  Mouthwashers, meet Triphala: Ayurveda’s all natural wonder formulation that chances none of the above. In fact, if you were to accidentally ingest Triphala, no damage done- only beneficial manifestations on your digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and urogential systems. If you accidentally ingest Scope and Listerine, the label advises you to contact a Poison Control Center.

As a mouth rinse, research shows that Triphala is equally effective to prescription (a.k.a strong) mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine in reducing and preventing plaque, gingivitis, streptococcus mutans (a bacteria known to cause tooth decay) and lactobacillus (another bacteria known to cause tooth decay and cavities).

Several studies have been done in India showing Triphala’s efficacy- one such testing 1501 school children over a period of nine months. The subjects were divided into three groups. The first group rinsed with Triphala mouthwash, the second with chlorhexidine mouthwash, and the third rinsed with water to ensure that mouthwashes’ effects could not be attributed to the rinsing action alone.

The study found that both Triphala and chlorhexidine equally reduced plaque, gingivitis, and streptococcus mutans; but Triphala decreased lactobacillus levels to an even greater extent.

All levels decreased overall as the nine months went on, showing the importance of long term usage.

Equal in power, but definitely not equal. Chlorhexidine is not safe in large doses. It’s even  caused complications in small doses. It’s listed as a poisonous ingredient on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus. And it’s known to stain your teeth.

Even commercial mouthwashes that don’t contain chlorhexidine do contain ingredients known to cause all those scary things already mentioned above. Remember- accidentally ingest and you should contact the Poison Control Center.

Triphala wins. If you ‘overdose’ on the detoxifying Triphala, the worst that could happen is an extreme downward cleansing experience. All natural, it’s made up of three berries: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. It’s an Ayurvedic herbal formulation that’s long been used for its many health promoting effects. It’s Triphala’s antibacterial properties that are thought to make it such an effective mouthwash.

So, the Triphala mouthwash how to:

Mix a half teaspoon of Triphala powder with ½ cup of warm water. Swish it around in your mouth as you would any mouthwash. Spit.

This amount is good for general oral health. If you are using Triphala as an alternate to a chlorhexidine mouthwash to target a specific problem, use one teaspoon of Triphala.

The only downside to Triphala mouthwash is its somewhat sour and bitter taste- there’s nothing minty fresh about it. But it nonetheless gives a clean feeling, and if you’ve already lost your taste for artificial sweeteners after switching to natural toothpaste, you probably won’t mind.

Triphala mouthwash gives us yet another way to keep our daily routine natural. Good for your body, good for the environment.

 

You can purchase organic Triphala powder in various bulk sizes from Banyan Botanicals or Athreya. Read more about Triphala on Banyan Botanicals.

Reference:

Shobha Tandon, Kunal Gupta, Sugandhi Rao, K. J. Malagi. “Effect of Triphala Mouthwash on the Caries Status.” International Journal of Ayurveda Research Apr-Jun (2010): 93–99. NCBI. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.

Photo credit:  Beatlesgirl7 via Compfight cc

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