It is important to brush and floss your teeth every day. But, if your daily oral care regime ends with swishing store bought mouthwash, you might be surprised to find out it’s not as beneficial as you may think it is.
Is Mouthwash Safe?
In fact, mouthwash containing alcohol has been linked to raised cancer risk. When you use alcohol-based mouthwash, such as Listerine Total Care, you are potentially introducing high amounts of carcinogens into your mouth. A particular ingredient found in many types of mouthwash, called formaldehyde, could be the reason for this increased risk of cancer. Basically, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products (6). The Cancer Institute (6) says formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen if over exposed.
A lot of mouthwashes also contain fluoride such as Crest Pro-Health. According to an article written by ACS (7), fluoride is supposed to help prevent tooth decay, but there is extensive evidence that fluoride isn’t as beneficial as it may seem (2). The following are some facts about fluoride you probably didn’t know about (5):
- Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries.
- Fluoride can affect your brain- the use of fluoride can cause brain damage including lower IQ in children.
- Fluoride use could lead to kidney disease.
- The use of fluoride could cause bone fractures or even cause bone cancer.
How To Make Homemade Mouthwash
Instead of using store-bought mouthwash, try making your own alcohol-free and fluoride-free mouthwash at home with baking soda. Baking soda is a common household product and it is great for many things including teeth whitening and getting rid of odor (3).
Follow this extremely fast and easy recipe for an alternative to store-bought mouthwash:
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide)
- 1 cup cold water
- ½ cup warm water
1. Combine the salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Then, wet your toothbrush with warm water and apply this mixture onto your toothbrush and brush your teeth for two minutes.
2. After brushing your teeth, mix the hydrogen peroxide with warm water and use this solution to rinse your mouth for a minute, then spit it out.
3. Afer all that, use a toothpick to remove any tartar in between your teeth and then rinse with cold water.
Causes of Bad Breath
If you’re finding that this recipe is not helping with your bad breath, consult your doctor or dentist. Chronic bad breath is usually a sign of a deeper issue. According to Mayo Clinic, the following are some causes of bad breath:
- Infections in your mouth- gum disease, mouth sores
- Dry mouth
- Mouth, nose, throat conditions- infections or chronic inflammation in the nose or throat
If you are suffering from chronic bad breath you should consult your doctor or dentist to find the best course of action.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified health provider with any questions about your oral health, medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.
- Badie, S., Dr. (n.d.). Is Alcohol-Based Mouthwash Bad for Your Teeth? Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.badiedental.com/is-alcohol-based-mouthwash-bad-for-your-teeth/
- Connett, P., PhD. (2012, September). 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoride. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://fluoridealert.org/articles/50-reasons/
- Price, S. (2013, January 01). Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth? Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/article/does-baking-soda-whiten-teeth-0113
- Mayo Clinic. (2016, March 02). Bad breath. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/symptoms-causes/dxc-20192379
- Mercola, Dr. (n.d.). 10 Fluoride Facts You Should Know. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/30/water-fluoridation-facts.aspx
- National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet#q4
- American Chemical Society . (2013, May 29). New evidence on how fluoride fights tooth decay. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2013/acs-presspac-may-29-2013/new-evidence-on-how-fluoride-fights-tooth-decay.html
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