If you have ever been to a proper Indian restaurant, then you have encountered the wonder of Mukhwas. Remember that brightly colored, little bits and pieces and seeds of something served after you have finished your meal? That is the stuff we are talking about. It is a breath freshener, and one that is less abrasive, less painful and just as effective as using listerine or any other mouthwash.
Mukhwas is a combination of seeds, sometimes with added sugar, but the original was without any such thing. It has anise seeds, coconut flakes, fennel, and often involves clove oil. The exact mix varies, but these ingredients can almost always be found in it.
Coconut flakes mostly just negate bad smelling breath. They are high in naturally occurring oils, and thus simply just neutralize other smells that may be bothersome. Fennel seeds provide a nice flavor, and also set the pH of your mouth top a neutral, tooth friendly degree. Anise is antibacterial, dispersing the biofilm that forms after you eat refined foods or carbohydrates. Biofilm is also the precursor of plaque, and has high bacterial content. Cloves and other seeds like anise and the like have antibacterial and antiinflammatory properties.
But the real reason Mukhwas is so great (besides the yummy flavor), is that it does not smell so hard, and is not abrasive. Mouthwash changes the pH of your mouth, sometimes drastically, which, although killing bacteria and dispersing biofilm, will also dry out your mucus membranes, which means bacteria will be quicker to invade your mouth next time. This is why mouthwash is addictive and you need to keep using it if you use it daily. This is not the case with Mukhwas.
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