How Mouthwash Could Be Bad For You
Mouthwash clearly offers certain benefits — but it’s important to know that not all mouth rinses are the same. Some store-bought mouthwashes contain a variety of ingredients ranging from fluoride to alcohol and worse.
Mouthwash is by no means a cure-all. In fact, mouthwash:
Irritates canker sores – If the alcohol content of your mouth rinse is too high, it may actually end up irritating the canker sore more than helping it.
Only masks bad breath – “Mouthwash can lead to fresher breath, but it may be short-lived,” says Nicholas Toscano, DDS. “If a patient has poor oral hygiene and doesn’t brush effectively, there is no amount of mouthwash that can mask the effects of poor health. Just using mouthwash would be equivalent to not bathing and using cologne to mask the smell.” The odor-masking properties of these mouthwashes last for up to three hours. Patients with persistent bad breath are advised to contact their dentist or physician. Chronic halitosis may indicate a dental condition (e.g., oral infections, dry mouth) or medical condition (e.g., diabetes, respiratory tract infection) that needs treatment.
Has been linked to oral cancer – The debate over whether alcohol-containing mouthwashes are linked to oral cancer continues — it’s an issue that has been discussed since the 1970s with no definitive answers. One stumbling block has been the way the studies have been designed, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). As of now, the ADA has put its Seal of Acceptance on some mouth rinses containing alcohol after it extensively reviewed their effectiveness and safety.
Manufacturers of mouthwash often claim theirs is an effective way to promote oral health, but dental experts disagree about their effectiveness in reducing dental plaque. An antiseptic mouthwash may kill germs, but does so temporarily because bacteria can develop quickly in the mouth. In fact, some experts believe that rinsing the mouth with water may be as effective as using a cosmetic mouthwash.
Some recent studies have contended that an oral rinse can be as effective as flossing in reducing plaque. However, the ADA states that these claims have not been adequately substantiated. Flossing continues to be an important method of removing debris that becomes stuck between teeth and may be difficult to rinse away. Even if these mouthwashes do reduce plaque, they should be used in addition to, not in place of, proper brushing and flossing.
How It Hurts You
Bacterial infection of your gums can occur AFTER rinsing with a mouthwash. The “Rebound Effect” is about those nasty bugs growing back quickly and invading your gums.
Your mouth is full of bacteria – mostly good bugs which hold the bad bugs in check. Zapping you mouth with an alcohol-based mouthwash may be exactly the opportunity the bad bugs need to gain the upper hand.
With loss of saliva, you also lose the buffering capacity to limit damage caused by harsh chemicals. Damage to your teeth from sugar and dietary acids can accelerate the damage. The truth of the matter is, the dryness of your mouth means you’ll soon have more of a bad breath issue. Thirty minutes after the mouthwash your breath is worse than ever.
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That means you’ll be reaching for another swig of that mouthwash and your chances of recovering your mucous shield are further compromised. You’re caught in a vicious mouthwash cycle that harms your oral health and can potentially threaten your life.
That’s how your mouthwash can backfire on you.
Instead of commercial mouthwashes, a simple saltwater mouth rinse can be made at home. This involves mixing 1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces of water. It is less irritating than alcohol-based rinses and can be used to cleanse oral tissue.
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