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Mouthwash, as the compound word implies, is a liquid that is used to wash the oral cavity. The practice is first recorded in Chinese and Ayurveda as a treatment for gingivitis, and even the Aztec, Greek, Roman, and the Jewish have this practice as well, although they have used different substances for the mouthwash.
It was not until 17th century that Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek, a microscopist, discovered the oral microbes and made experiments in trying to kill it with vinegar or brandy that there any significant scientific studies made on oral care. But it was Richard Seifert from Germany who first invented a mouthwash and it was Karl August Lingner who produced Odol.
Though research shows that there are only a limited amount of microorganisms that can cause damage, the development of mouthwash formulations has continued to grow through the years. Now, mouthwash is not used only to prevent tooth decay, or as an antiseptic. It is now used as anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and as an analgesic.
It should be noted still that even with the use of mouthwash, dental brushing and flossing should still be done, as well as dental check-ups. Also, there are side effects to using mouthwash, like taste disturbance, stained teeth, dry mouth, and in cases of mouthwash with alcohol, it can worsen halitosis, or bad breath, and dry mouth. Some people can even have an allergic reaction to any of its many ingredients.
One of the active ingredients in mouthwashes is alcohol. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is not placed in mouthwash as an antibacterial. Alcohol actually acts as a carrier for other ingredients like menthol, eucalyptol, and thymol. Also, it is used to intensify the flavor of the mouthwash. There is also wide held belief that alcohol is a carcinogenic ingredient and can cause mouth cancer. However, even the American Dental Association disputed that, saying that there are not enough studies to conclude that alcohol can contribute to cancer.
However, for people who prefer alcohol-free mouthwash, there are plenty to choose from. Check out the list below to know more:
TheraBreath Oral Rinse
Therabreath Oral Rinse has a buffered, non-acidic formulation with OXYD-8, an oxygenating compound that attacks bacteria that causes bad breath. It does not contain Alcohol, Saccharin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Benzalkonium Chloride. It is certified vegan, kosher, and gluten-free.
It comes in different sizes: 0.25 oz., 3 oz., 16 oz., and 1 liter; and is available in mild mint and icy mint flavors. It is recommended to use 2-3 times per day, using 1-2 capfuls to be gargled for at least 30 seconds, and then rinse with another capful for at least another 45 seconds. It is recommended to use TheraBreath toothpaste, since using toothpaste with SLS will hinder the effect of TheraBreath Oral Rinse.
Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse
Xerostomia or dry mouth is often caused by the low production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is needed in our mouths as a lubricant for food in the mouth, and for its passage down the throat. We also need it to moisten our mouths and lips and helps prevent infection by helping maintain the equilibrium of our oral flora.
Dry mouth is often caused as a side effect of certain medications and medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. Some diseases and infections also cause dry mouth, like HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes, Anemia, and many others. Dry mouth can also be a result of nerve damage, and of course from the removal of the salivary glands. Tobacco use and dehydration also cause dry mouth.
Symptoms of dry mouth include a dry feeling in the mouth; frequent thirst; mouth sores; cracked lips; dry, red, and raw tongue; speaking, tasting, chewing, swallowing problems; a sore throat; and bad breath. Having a dry mouth can cause gingivitis, tooth decay, and mouth infections.
Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse can provide fast relief for dry mouth that lasts for up to four hours. It is alcohol and sugar-free and provides a balanced pH for the mouth. For use, rinse mouth with 15ml or 1 tablespoon of Biotene Dry Oral Rinse for 30 seconds. No need to rinse with water.
CloSYS Original Unflavored Mouthwash
CloSYS Mouthwash contains Cloralstan, a patented ingredient that can kill 99% of bad breath causing bacteria that causes Volatile Sulfur Compounds and gum infection. It is alcohol, fluoride, sulfate, triclosan, and gluten free, and it is also pH balanced to reduce germ growth and to maintain a fresh and healthy mouth. This is helpful for sensitive teeth and gums.
It is best to use CloSYS Mouthwash after flossing and brushing. Rinse mouth with it for 60 seconds, gargle to reach the back of the throat. Avoid eating and drinking 20 to 30 minutes after rinsing, to allow the rinse to balance the mouth’s pH level. CloSYS Mouthwash is also an effective sanitizer for toothbrushes. Simply soak the toothbrush for one minute, once a week to kill the bacteria that grow on a wet toothbrush.
Oral Essentials Mouthwash
Oral Essentials Mouthwash is alcohol, sugar, dye, preservative and BPA free and made with natural and organic ingredients like Aloe Vera, for a mild and calming taste; mineral rich Dead Sea Salt, for its disinfecting effect; French Essential Oils like Tulsi / Holy Basil Oil, Peppermint Oil, Spearmint Leaf Oil, Wintergreen Leaf Oil, and Clove Flower Oil, for long lasting fresh breath; and non-GMO Xylitol.
For use, shake the bottle, and take one cap and swish in the mouth for 60 seconds. This can be done two to three times a day.
Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Mouthwash
Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Mouthwash is gluten, fluoride, soy, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial sweeteners and preservatives free. It has CoQ10, folic acid, oregano, cinnamon, and clove that promote tissue and gum health. It also contains Phytoplenolin, which promotes cell vitality.
It is available in three flavors: Cinamint, Cool Mint, and Wintermint.
What to look for
Most, if not all mouthwash contain different ingredients and are formulated for specific purposes. Typically, mouthwash is an antiseptic with antibacterial properties. But it can also be used specifically for dry mouth, cold sores, and even for pre-operative procedures. Some, called cosmetic mouth rinses are only for temporary control of halitosis and leaves the mouth smelling fresh. If you have cavities, then the choice would be getting a mouthwash that has fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and keeps cavities from forming. Xerostomia causes an increase in bad bacteria, which in turn causes tooth decay. Fluoride can also help with this condition.
So, here are a few pointers for choosing the mouthwash for you:
- Need – First, it is best to see your dentist on what mouthwash would be appropriate for you. There might be a medical condition that needs to be treated. Also, you might be allergic to and ingredient, so it is best for your dentist to give you the proper treatment.
- Taste – There are a dizzying array of mouthwash flavors out there. But be reminded that the stronger the ‘bite’ there is to a mouthwash, the more the alcohol content. Alcohol is the carrier ingredient for that minty fresh tang. There are now plenty of organic and natural mouthwashes these days. Though it might take some time to get used to the taste, it pays to know that it is not the alcohol bite that gives the mouthwash its power.
- Budget – There is only a small difference between the prices of regular mouthwashes and alcohol-free ones. It is a no brainer that the benefits far outweigh drawbacks of gurgling alcohol every day.
Though beneficial, using mouthwash is only a small part of properly taking care of our mouths. It is never a replacement for brushing and flossing, and definitely for seeing a dentist regularly. Proper mouth care starts with being responsible with what we put in our mouths. Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, eating sugary food is not good if taken excessively.
Brushing the teeth is a regular everyday routine. It should be done twice a day, and don’t rush it—it is best to do a thorough job. Fluoride toothpaste is actually best for brushing the teeth, as it keeps the enamels of the teeth strong. There is a technique to proper brushing. The toothbrush should be held at an angle where the bristles are at the area where the teeth and gums meet. Brush in short back and forth motion, brushing the inside, outside, and on the teeth. Do not forget to brush the tongue.
For the tight spaces between the teeth and gum line, use floss. Use a rubbing motion when flossing between the teeth; be careful not to snap the floss to the gums. When at the gum line, gently curve the floss in against the side of the tooth. Make sure to go one tooth at a time.
It is recommended to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and for a thorough examination. This is important so that the dentist can regularly check for any signs of dental and oral problems, and symptoms can be caught and treated early. However, should there be any pain or swelling, tooth sensitivity, or injuries to the mouth, it is best to see a dentist immediately.