Natural Health: Could you recommend a natural mouthwash?

Plus: dealing with itchy skin at night - is it the menopause?
Natural Health: Could you recommend a natural mouthwash?

Pic: iStock

I recently had a tooth extraction and a filling. I’m 69, and up until now, my teeth and gums have been healthy. Is there a natural mouthwash I could use?

Several natural home remedies can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The most simple mouthwash solution is salt dissolved in warm water. My dental hygienist swears by this and recommends it over commercial preparations.

Salt has long been used as a natural agent to treat infection and has been shown in studies to help treat gum disease or gingivitis. Swishing and gargling with salt water can help soothe inflammation in the mouth and throat, reduce bad breath issues, treat and prevent bacterial infection, relieve oral pain, and dislodge food particles between the teeth. Stir a half teaspoon of salt (I use Himalayan pink salt or natural sea salt) into a glass containing 200ml of warm water. Once the salt is dissolved, use it like a mouthwash to swish thoroughly, gargle if necessary, and spit out the excess. Repeat two to three times daily for the best benefits.

For those who want a deeper clean, it is helpful to perform a monthly hydrogen peroxide rinse using 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution in the same manner as the salt rinse. You can use this either directly or dilute by half with water. Hydrogen peroxide helps with bacterial balance and prevents plaque build-up. It is naturally produced in humans to counteract unwanted bacteria, yeasts, and viruses and is essential in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins.

Aloe vera juice helps reduce inflammation of the delicate mucous membranes and gums and reduces plaque formation. The suggested daily dose of pure aloe juice is around 15-20ml, swallowed rather than swished since it is also beneficial for gut health and general inflammation.

Raspberry leaf tea (Rubus idaeus) is a somewhat surprising natural remedy for oral health. Usually associated with the final trimester of pregnancy, this nutritious herbal tea can also help heal mouth ulcers as it is a highly bioavailable form of calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and E.

My skin gets itchy at night, mainly before I go to bed. Does this have something to do with my stage of life? I’m 52 and menopausal.

Itching skin is a symptom associated with menopause, particularly histamine intolerance, so you are likely on the right track in linking it with your stage of life.

Histamine is an essential chemical in the body for a healthy gut, brain, immune, and nervous system.

There is a long list of symptoms associated with excess histamine in the body including hives, internal and external itching, excessive dryness, rashes, flushing of the skin, repeat bladder infections/cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, insomnia, migraines or headaches, dizzy spells, anxiety and panic attacks, palpitations, breathlessness, aching joints and muscles, and congested sinuses.

The symptoms of histamine intolerance can be cumulative, the more histamine builds up in the body, the more aggravated and severe symptoms become. Symptoms may come and go — however, controlling histamine levels is key to eliminating your symptoms (and preventing new or worsening symptoms).

Histamine is produced naturally within mast cells and comes from dietary choices. One of the easiest ways to manage histamine levels is through the diet. Some foods and beverages contain histamine, while others trigger our bodies to release histamine. The most effective way to confirm whether or not histamine is at the root of your problems is to follow what is known as a low-histamine diet for at least a month, ideally two to three, and take notes of your symptoms. If histamine is the issue, you will notice a significant reduction, even disappearance of your symptoms.

  • See for more information
  • Before making significant changes to your diet, it is advisable to chat with your GP or a registered dietitian

If you have a question for Megan Sheppard, please email it to 

NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.

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