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Is using mouthwash daily a healthy habit?

by (20411)
Updated November 23, 2014 at 3:04 AM
Created October 19, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Years ago a dentist scared me into using mouthwash by saying that a certain bacteria in the mouth could attack my heart. No idea if this is true. Lately, I've not been using it, thinking that I may be killing good bacteria. Now my wife says my breath is bad. Could be coffee, ketosis or ? Should I not worry about the use of Scope - or worry about not using it? AAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!

Thanks for listening.

Ac22129609de45e99c1454e9148d6aca
0 · September 13, 2013 at 5:12 AM

Try regularly flushing your sinuses with salt water. Also try gargling with hydrogen peroxide 3%. Don't eat any dairy foods or drink tea or coffee or anything with sugar or alcohol in it. I can tell you Oraltech Labs advice worked for my bad breath and I think I tried most other products on the market. Its not easy as the program has you treating all causes of bad breath just in case your suffering from any one cause and don't know it. I was happy to follow the Oraltech Labs program just to get my life back. http://www.oraltechlabs.com

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · December 11, 2012 at 7:58 PM

I've also been doing this with coconut oil and think it's great. I don't believe the ridding your body of toxins part, but I will say it seems to help clear my sinuses up.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be
8868 · December 04, 2011 at 7:46 PM

I must say, I'm astonished by how bad this answer is. -1.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
3631 · April 17, 2011 at 4:34 AM

YES correlation does NOT EQUAL causation!! i have read that there is a CORRELATION between gum disease and heart disease, but this means almost nothing!! there is a correlation between drugs and rock-and-roll, but one cannot be proven to cause the other! ALSO -- oil pulling/swishing totally whitened my teeth! ok, the causal relationship is not proven, but lemme tell ya there was a HIGH CORRELATION between the swishing and the increased whiteness. i was really surprised!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
3631 · April 17, 2011 at 4:26 AM

i would like to take this opportunity to randomly say: 'oil pulling' works. it whitened my teeth, to my amazement. i'm so glad i never resorted to slathering on harmful chemicals, making my teeth more porous and thusly more likely to stain, such that i then repeat the $400 procedure. i reckon that's the sort of thing AC is referencing vis-a-vis dentristy = BS. simple prevention and healthy home remedies aren't very lucrative. the BS is increasingly built into the paradigm.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 3:08 AM

I see. Fair enough.

2b423e7f4d4d6e13e820dcee5a3be746
143 · April 17, 2011 at 2:50 AM

Well, what field of medicine treats dental decay, abscesses or infections .... oh, let me think. That's right: DENTISTRY! I'm a dental student and I know there can be less than honest people in the profession (as is true in every profession but we get a bad rap, not sure why) so I get the suspicion but so many problems can be prevented if people went to the dentist. When I read things that bash dentistry, it might scare people from getting the care they need early on before major procedures are called for. Hence, my rant. That's all.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:48 AM

But seriously. That's just ignorant paranoia. This is the real question: What education? What do you suggest? THANKS!!

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:47 AM

By the way, what would constitute an education? I'm very curious to hear how I could educate myself. A degree, perhaps? A nice piece of paper saying that I sat through hundreds of hours of drivel just to prove to prospective employers that I'm willing to do stuff that I hate in an extremely reliable fashion? That I'm willing to bore myself to death to fulfill what society expects of me?

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:46 AM

It's not ignorant paranoia; it's brute fact sprung forth from words appearing on your screen. Take it all in slowly.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:45 AM

Continued: They don't understand the causes; all they get is how to compensate for a shit diet. They're very good at compensating for the SAD while lining their pockets with a bunch of cash. There's no money in actually fixing these problems. Just compensate for them with high cost shit and look the other way as to the cure. Blanket proscribe toothpaste, floride, etc. without knowing anything about the person besides that he's an American. Dentistry is a sick profession indeed, but often no worse than the rest of the medical/nutrition/etc. fields.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:42 AM

And yeah, I didn't say that being on paleo is a magic bullet. How could I know "NOTHING" about what the person is "ACTUALLY" eating if I know they're "paleo"? Or is that just an empty label? I was using hyperbole. Exaggeration. That should have been obvious. A lot of what the dental profession says about toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. has nothing to do with anything if you don't eat the processed crap modern foods with all the sugar etc. That should be obvious, but the moron dentists can rarely escape their point of view: the SAD and its ills.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:39 AM

I never said that dental decay, abscesses, and infections that become systemic are jokes. Where did you get that idea? I also didn't say that about the emotional and social stress involved in losing your teeth. Those sound terrible indeed. No joke there!

2b423e7f4d4d6e13e820dcee5a3be746
143 · April 17, 2011 at 2:25 AM

This is a great answer. Stuff like listerine will help you have minty breath for 10 minutes and kill some bacteria that just repopulates. The stuff I really like are the mouthwashes with high fluoride to assist in preventing dental decay or remineralizing existing small enamel lesions. For those with perio problems, there's prescription antibiotic mouthrinses i.e. Peridex whose active ingredient is chlorehexidine.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · October 19, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Well, back then my gums would bleed a lot - probably that's how bacteria can get into the bloodstream. These days, my gums don't hardly never bleed at all.

Af842c68e3d07fa0e35b4274f3acaeec
1397 · October 19, 2010 at 6:02 PM

I think that having the WRONG bacteria could increase inflammation, and therefore lead to an increased risk of heart disease, but if your gut is intact (no leaky gut stuff), there should be no way for bacteria to get to your heart. I think he's just trying to scare you into using mouthwash because people think all bacteria are bad. I've heard of people rinsing their mouth with coconut oil, which has antimicrobial properties(and it's totally paleo lol), but I haven't tried it yet.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · October 19, 2010 at 5:49 PM

This might be what my dentist was talking about - http://www.perio.org/consumer/heart-disease.htm

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10 Answers

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3bc67f572ead57591a295f4913fa5991
9
315 · October 19, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Your dentist may also have been talking about how bacteria can enter your bloodstream from your mouth. After you brush your teeth or floss, or any dental procedures like scraping your teeth, chances are you've broken some of the small blood vessels in your gums that allow bacteria to transiently enter your bloodstream. This is entirely normal--everyone has this happen if they brush a little too vigorously--and your body also deals with it pretty quickly if you have a competent immune system. The problem arises if you have pre-existing heart defects such as valve problems, because in these individuals the bacteria from your mouth may settle on the disturbances in the valve and start growing, leading to inflammation and endocarditis. This is why before major dental procedures involving oral surgery or tooth pulling, etc, dentists often prescribe antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

In terms of using mouthwash, there is currently a controversy about the efficacy of alcohol-containing mouthwashes versus non-alcohol containing mouthwashes. There is a "small but difficult to quantify" (their words) increased risk of oral cancer associated with frequent alcohol-containing mouthwash use, because alcohol metabolites in the oral cavity may result damage to the cells lining your mouth. There are non-alcohol containing mouthwashes that may be used as alternatives, and part of the reason that the studies are conflicting about this is that pro-alcohol mouthwash data is funded by(big surprise) corporations that make alcohol-containing mouthwash.

I wouldn't be too worried about killing the good bacteria in your mouth, because what's left after you mouthwash will repopulate your mouth essentially within a couple of hours. No matter what you do, your mouth won't be free of bacteria. As far as using mouthwash, there are a number of alternatives to alcohol-containing varieties that the previous poster mentioned that you could try. Hope that helps!

2b423e7f4d4d6e13e820dcee5a3be746
143 · April 17, 2011 at 2:25 AM

This is a great answer. Stuff like listerine will help you have minty breath for 10 minutes and kill some bacteria that just repopulates. The stuff I really like are the mouthwashes with high fluoride to assist in preventing dental decay or remineralizing existing small enamel lesions. For those with perio problems, there's prescription antibiotic mouthrinses i.e. Peridex whose active ingredient is chlorehexidine.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
6
20787 · October 20, 2010 at 3:38 AM

I've seen research correlating poor oral health with increased chance of cardiovascular disease. I have NOT seen any research proving this is causal. COuld be that people with unhealthy immune systems are likely to be unhealthy in multiple ways.

Anyway, I once tried mouth wash and immediately decided that stuff is vile. I am not yet convinced it is in my best interest to swish bad tasting chemicals in my mouth on a regular basis. Also, those who eat less sugar and starch tend to have less oral health trouble in the first place.

All that being said, I have recentlly begun trying out oil pulling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_pulling . Basically, you just swish some natural oil in your mouth for a bit instead of swishing regular mouth wash. This really does seem to help keep my mouth cleaner. I use natural coconut oil. There are a lot of wild claims about oil pulling curing all kinds of ailments. I suspect most of that is likely bunk. However, there has been some research suggesting that oil pulling can reduce levels mouth bacteria by quite a but. And this is not surprising because many oils, including coconut, have been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. So in my opinion, oil pulling is like nature's own mouthwash! It also leaves an interesting clean and nice feel to my mouth afterwards. It did, however, take a few days to get used to putting oil in my mouth, but I found if I added a tad of cinnamon or other flavor, that made it MUCH easier. (other people have also suggested mint or citrus as good additives)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
3631 · April 17, 2011 at 4:34 AM

YES correlation does NOT EQUAL causation!! i have read that there is a CORRELATION between gum disease and heart disease, but this means almost nothing!! there is a correlation between drugs and rock-and-roll, but one cannot be proven to cause the other! ALSO -- oil pulling/swishing totally whitened my teeth! ok, the causal relationship is not proven, but lemme tell ya there was a HIGH CORRELATION between the swishing and the increased whiteness. i was really surprised!

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · December 11, 2012 at 7:58 PM

I've also been doing this with coconut oil and think it's great. I don't believe the ridding your body of toxins part, but I will say it seems to help clear my sinuses up.

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350
1
1303 · October 19, 2010 at 6:02 PM

I've heard that certain mouth bacteria can attack the heart, but I think it's related to an infection, or plaque, or something like that. I've stopped using mouthwash because I realized that when it was killing bacteria, that it was killing the good bacteria too, plus I didn't know what half the stuff in it even did. Conventional mouthwash also dries your mouth out which tends to allow bad bacteria to proliferate (much like taking anti-biotics kills them off first, but then the bad guys move back in and take over).

My breath isn't that super-healthy "sweet" breath, but after I switched to a natural, coconut oil based tooth cleaner (Tropical Traditions) and stopped using mouthwash (except when it's REALLY bad- though then I usually just chew a piece of gum), my breath has definitely improved. I personally think that getting away from the conventional mouth care stuff is pretty important. I've read many articles with experts quoted as saying that it's the act of brushing that cleans your teeth, not the stuff you put on the brush, but I feel like I need an extra boost, so I'm currently using the Tropical Traditions, and the next one that I'm trying is Kiss My Face, fluoride, Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate, and baking soda free. There are plenty of natural mouthwashes on the market, and there are probably a lot of recipes that you could make at home, though. I wouldn't worry about not using mouthwash for health reasons, but a happy home life is much more important!

9fea74f20474786fdf27781990556570
0
68 · September 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM

I have to say that since going paleo and reducing my carb intake, my teeth have felt far cleaner than ever before. I don't get that sticky film that I usually had by the end of the day. I have even forgotten to brush my teeth in the morning and not had any issues. I stopped using alcohol-based mouth wash awhile ago, but stopped using mouth wash all together in the last few months. I have started using Tooth/Gum probiotics which I think have also been helpful. I believe they help crowd out the bad bacteria, and these bacteria produce hydro peroxide to could help keep your teeth white. They are a bit expensive when compared to mouth wash, though. This is the product I use, but I am not affiliated with them in any way; there are other such product if you do an internet search. http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Extraordinary-Beauty/Probiotic-Smile.aspx

Ac22129609de45e99c1454e9148d6aca
0
0 · September 13, 2013 at 4:51 AM

Try regularly flushing your sinuses with salt water. Also try gargling with hydrogen peroxide 3%. Don't eat any dairy foods or drink tea or coffee or anything with sugar or alcohol in it. I can tell you Oraltech Labs advice worked for my bad breath and I think I tried most other products on the market. Its not easy as the program has you treating all causes of bad breath just in case your suffering from any one cause and don't know it. I was happy to follow the Oraltech Labs program just to get my life back. http://www.oraltechlabs.com

6e55066b886922326702151333811d35
0
0 · December 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

to anynomus coward i full heartedlyl agree with you.

8e96614667530b5fc0ea33a6a2e64d45
0
0 · November 07, 2012 at 8:20 PM

It's not the germs, it's the plaque. The plaque that build up on your teeth turns out to be the same plaque that builds up in your arteries and causes restricted blood flow thus heart problems. It's related to what is commonly called "hardening of the arteries". Try doing research somewhere other than the internet if you want to read legitimate studies and something more than guesses and opinions.

2b423e7f4d4d6e13e820dcee5a3be746
0
143 · April 17, 2011 at 2:34 AM

This is in response to Anonymous Coward (yes, you truly are). I had to submit an answer as my comment is too long.

Wow. I wish I had enough points for a downvote. First off, your answer makes no sense. Then that thing about "dentistry is a joke" - are you serious? Dental decay, abscesses, infections that become systemic - these aren't jokes. That's not even mentioning the emotional and social stress involved with losing your teeth!

Additionally, being on a paleo diet is not a magic bullet. Individual variation in genetics, environment (including nutrition), even down to the populations of bacteria in the oral environment contribute to dental decay and perio problems. Paleo is so broad that to say, "none of their shit applies to people who ACTUALLY do the paleo thing" is irresponsible when you know NOTHING about what the person is ACTUALLY eating or their medical history or ANYTHING about that individual person.

Please get educated and stop spreading your ignorant paranoia.

/rant

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:46 AM

It's not ignorant paranoia; it's brute fact sprung forth from words appearing on your screen. Take it all in slowly.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 3:08 AM

I see. Fair enough.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:47 AM

By the way, what would constitute an education? I'm very curious to hear how I could educate myself. A degree, perhaps? A nice piece of paper saying that I sat through hundreds of hours of drivel just to prove to prospective employers that I'm willing to do stuff that I hate in an extremely reliable fashion? That I'm willing to bore myself to death to fulfill what society expects of me?

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:45 AM

Continued: They don't understand the causes; all they get is how to compensate for a shit diet. They're very good at compensating for the SAD while lining their pockets with a bunch of cash. There's no money in actually fixing these problems. Just compensate for them with high cost shit and look the other way as to the cure. Blanket proscribe toothpaste, floride, etc. without knowing anything about the person besides that he's an American. Dentistry is a sick profession indeed, but often no worse than the rest of the medical/nutrition/etc. fields.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:42 AM

And yeah, I didn't say that being on paleo is a magic bullet. How could I know "NOTHING" about what the person is "ACTUALLY" eating if I know they're "paleo"? Or is that just an empty label? I was using hyperbole. Exaggeration. That should have been obvious. A lot of what the dental profession says about toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. has nothing to do with anything if you don't eat the processed crap modern foods with all the sugar etc. That should be obvious, but the moron dentists can rarely escape their point of view: the SAD and its ills.

2b423e7f4d4d6e13e820dcee5a3be746
143 · April 17, 2011 at 2:50 AM

Well, what field of medicine treats dental decay, abscesses or infections .... oh, let me think. That's right: DENTISTRY! I'm a dental student and I know there can be less than honest people in the profession (as is true in every profession but we get a bad rap, not sure why) so I get the suspicion but so many problems can be prevented if people went to the dentist. When I read things that bash dentistry, it might scare people from getting the care they need early on before major procedures are called for. Hence, my rant. That's all.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:39 AM

I never said that dental decay, abscesses, and infections that become systemic are jokes. Where did you get that idea? I also didn't say that about the emotional and social stress involved in losing your teeth. Those sound terrible indeed. No joke there!

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 2:48 AM

But seriously. That's just ignorant paranoia. This is the real question: What education? What do you suggest? THANKS!!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
3631 · April 17, 2011 at 4:26 AM

i would like to take this opportunity to randomly say: 'oil pulling' works. it whitened my teeth, to my amazement. i'm so glad i never resorted to slathering on harmful chemicals, making my teeth more porous and thusly more likely to stain, such that i then repeat the $400 procedure. i reckon that's the sort of thing AC is referencing vis-a-vis dentristy = BS. simple prevention and healthy home remedies aren't very lucrative. the BS is increasingly built into the paradigm.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178
0
1773 · April 17, 2011 at 1:52 AM

Do you even know that the mouthwash is? I would be scared to put random chemicals in my mouth to swish around.

Dentistry is a joke. The heart thing sounds scary, but these people are usually idiots. They're out there to compensate for shitty lifestyles. None of their shit applies to people who ACTUALLY do the paleo thing.

Shit like that heart thing persist because they really are legitimately scary. Just think, there's no profit/loss test for you to figure out whether the mouthwash works UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE. That shit is scary.

I couldn't just tell you to stop the mouthwash and see what happens, because then you would risk screwing up your heart. That's a profit/loss test that you don't want to lose at. So you stay the course, and keep using the crazy mouthwash.

That's a Class A mind virus. Great technique. It tells you, "There's nothing in your immediate experience that could distinguish between this working or not working until it's TOO LATE. Don't test it. There's too much at stake." Clever, eh?

That way you feel dependent on it and never test its usefulness. It's not like whether your throwing technique is good or bad (whether you hit the target or not or whatever); it's INVISIBILE whether it's working or not. If it's working, you see nothing. If it's not, you still see nothing... until it's too late.

Feeling dependent and never testing its usefulness is great for the survival of a product that's totally useless!

But don't take my word for it. Quitting it might destroy your heart.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be
8868 · December 04, 2011 at 7:46 PM

I must say, I'm astonished by how bad this answer is. -1.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
0
3631 · April 16, 2011 at 11:44 PM

i don't think so. i've never in my life been in the habit of using it. if you brush and floss, and eat right, you are golden. don't forget to brush your tongue!

p.s. even though i don't use mouthwash and i am kind of an 'irregular flosser' (aherm), i have only been to the dentist twice in the past 15 years and have no problems and no tartar! cleeean livin..

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