Rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing can help kill any oral bacteria left behind, thus further lowering your risk of developing cavities. Unfortunately, a lot of antiseptic mouthwashes sold in stores have strong flavors because they use alcohol as a disinfectant. If you absolutely can't stand their taste, try making your own homemade mouthwash instead. It may not kill 99% of germs like the store-bought kind, but you'll be better off using it than nothing at all.
Here are three different homemade mouth rinses that will help kill oral bacteria:
Sea Salt Water Rinse
This rinse could not be simpler. All you need is two ingredients: sea salt and warm water. Use natural sea salt if possible. It contains minerals in addition to the sodium chloride in table salt, and these minerals may increase its antiseptic abilities. Mix 1/2 teaspoon into a quarter cup of warm water, and swish a few big mouthfuls around after each time you brush.
Natural Peppermint Rinse
This homemade rinse is the tastiest of them all. Not only does it cleanse your mouth, but it also makes your breath smell fresh. If you plan on making it regularly, you may want to grow your own peppermint plants. Purchase a small peppermint plant at a local nursery or garden center, and keep it in a sunny window. Once it's established, you can pick a few leaves each day without harming it.
To make your peppermint rinse, roughly chop a few peppermint leaves and place them in the bottom of a mug. Pour 2 ounces of hot water over them. Let the mixture cool, and then drain out the leaves. Rinse your mouth for 30 seconds. Feel free to swallow the mixture if you want -- it's essentially a peppermint tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Apple cider vinegar is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It's strong on its own, but diluting it with water makes its taste much more palatable. Mix a tablespoon into a cup of water, and swish 2 or 3 mouthfuls around for about 30 second each. Alternate this rinse with another rinse, such as the salt water rinse or the peppermint rinse, since the acid may be harsh on your mouth when used over a long period of time.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes are not your only choice. Give one or more of the above rinses a try. You just might develop a new and healthy oral hygiene habit.