Is using mouthwash daily a healthy habit?

by 20222 · September 13, 2013 at 12:43 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.

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315 · October 19, 2010 at 06:16 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!

20469 · October 20, 2010 at 03:38 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)

1303 · October 19, 2010 at 06:02 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!

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

0 · September 13, 2013 at 04:51 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

0 · December 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

to anynomus coward i full heartedlyl agree with you.

0 · November 07, 2012 at 08:20 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.

143 · April 17, 2011 at 02:34 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.


1758 · April 17, 2011 at 01:52 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.

3621 · 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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