I’ll be honest. Before these DIY breath mints, I had a slight addiction to tic tacs.
Tic tacs, chewing gum, breath mints, anything. I needed something to keep my mouth busy and smelling nice at the same time. I didn’t keep a toothbrush with me at all times, so I felt I needed a little pick-me-up throughout the day to keep my mouth fresh and happy.
But breath mints are mostly just sugar. Sugar and other gross ingredients.
I wanted a better alternative.
But I figured, if I was going to make a breath mint, it has to be more than just a minty candy.
It has to stop bad breath even after the mint is dissolved. It has to have lasting effects that don’t harm.
It has to:
- attack the causes of bad breath at the source
- address tummy issues that can cause bad breath
- and only contain ingredients that are beneficial. NO gratuitous gunk.
Now, what are some things that cause bad breath?
- Tobacco. Not only will you smell like tobacco, but tobacco products also make it more likely for you to develop gum disease and tooth decay, which can also give off bad breath. Not much we can do about that except not smoke or chew tobacco. Obviously.
- Heartburn, Acid Reflux, Indegestion, Various Other Tummy Issues. Stomach acid and bile coming back up doesn’t smell nice.
- Other Health Issues like diabetes, infection, or respiratory problems.
- Diet. Sometimes, particles of gross-smelling and/or pungent foods (i.e. onion, garlic, etc.) can get caught in your teeth and remain, giving off bad breath and encouraging bacteria to grow inbetween your teeth.
- Dry Mouth. This can be from not eating enough, as chewing helps with saliva production, and going too long without producing enough saliva can allow some bad bacteria to grow and give you bad breath. You can also have dry mouth as a result of any side effect of certain medications.
- Loose-fitting Dentures, Retainers, or Braces. Be sure to keep your dental products clean. Loose-fitting dentures can cause sores or infections in the mouth.
- And of course, Poor Dental Hygiene. It’s generally a good idea to brush your teeth twice a day. Even if you use a harsh toothpaste that you don’t want to put on your teeth more than once a day (which is a bad idea anyway, as you can wear at tooth enamel. Try a gentle and effective homemade toothpaste), the scrubbing toothbrush part is important. Just scrub your teeth with hot water. Also, scrape the back of your tongue when brushing teeth. A good amount of bad breath comes from plaque building up in the tongue’s folds in the back.
Well, what can we do to fix that?
When I was thinking of ingredients for these breath mints, I didn’t want anything unnecessary. I wanted as many helpful
ingredients and as little extraneous ingredients as possible.
- For Tummy Issues: Chamomile, Ginger Root, and Baking Soda (short-term to alkalize the immediate excess acid) or ACV (long-term. Oftentimes acid reflux is caused by not enough natural stomach acid. The acid in your stomach tells your esophageal sphincter to close off, so if you don’t have enough, your esophagus stays open and thus a reflux of acid rises.).
- For Food Particles: An abrasive like Real Sea Salt or Baking Soda, Sucking or Chewing to encourage salivation. Bentonite clay does a fantastic job of absorbing impurities and particles as well.
- For Dry Mouth: Sour foods like lemon that can help you salivate, Sucking or Chewing to encourage salivation.
- For General Hygiene: Natural antimicrobials and antibacterials like cinnamon, whose component cinnamic aldehyde kills bad bacteria living on the back of the tongue. Also, honey, especially Manuka Honey which has 127 times the methylglyoxa that kills bacteria, is claimed to be a great antimicrobial.
And so I started on the (long and bumpy) road to easier fresh breath.
I made some all-natural DIY breath mints without nasty gum paste or excess cavity-producing sugar, chock-full of real ingredients that attack bad breath at the source.
I took a recipe for Homemade All-Natural Cough Drops and adapted it to be a breath mint.
In it are nothing but beneficial and delicious ingredients to keep your mouth and anyone who smells it happy.
We have honey as a base to make it a hard-candy consistency, ginger, cinnamon, clove, bentonite clay, and essential oils. You could also potentially exchange the cinnamon, cloves, and Thieves essential oil with Lemon and Peppermint essential oils for a Lemon and Peppermint flavor.
DIY Breath Mints
You Will Need:
Candy Thermometer (like this)
Saucepan and a Silicon Whisk
Candy Mold or Oiled Parchment Paper
Cup of Cold Water
8 Tbsp. (1/2 Cup) Raw Honey (Manuka Honey, ideally)
1 tsp. Grated Ginger Root
1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Bentonite Clay
5 drops Thieves essential oil (where to buy)
3 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil (optional, where to buy)
A Sprinkle of Baking Soda or Real Sea Salt
Optional: Instead of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and Thieves essential oil, for a Lemon Peppermint Flavor, you can add 5 drops of Lemon and Peppermint essential oils each.
1. Add all ingredients except baking soda/real sea salt into a pot. Have your candy mold or oiled parchment paper and ready to the side before you turn on the heat. Make sure your whisk, candy thermometer, and cup of water are at hand.
2. Turn on the stove to high heat. Start whisking your ingredients together as the honey melts to a more liquidy state.
3. Continue to whisk as the honey boils. After some time, it will start to foam and bubble yellow or brown. Once it does, take it off the heat and continue to whisk until the foam reduces. Then put it back on the heat and continue the cycle until it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful, as honey heats easily and burns quickly.
4. Once the mixture has reached 300 degrees, take a small drop of it in a spoon or with the whisk and drop it in the cold water. If, after a moment, it turns into a hard ball, You’re ready. If it’s a gummy or soft ball, put it back on the heat and try again in a minute.
5. When it’s at the right temperature and it makes a hard candy ball in cold water, take the pot off the heat and pour the mixture into either your candy mold or onto the oiled parchment paper.
6. Let it cool on a flat surface until it hardens. Don’t be tempted to put it in the fridge or freezer; it’s better to let it cool at room temperature.
7. Once it’s hardened, pop them out of their candy molds or break the mints apart.
8. If you like, sprinkle the mints with the Real Sea Salt (abrasive) or Baking Soda (abrasive and alkalizes stomach acid) to keep them from sticking together.
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Do you still chew gum or munch on storebought breath mints? Do you make your own dental care products? How do you keep your mouth clean and happy throughout the day?