We all want to take care of our gums and teeth, right? And there are a lot of tools out there for doing so. Toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwash… there are so many options!
While brushing your teeth is always advised, and flossing is never a bad idea, it turns out that mouthwash might actually be doing more harm than good.
Some prescription mouthwashes can increase your blood pressure, and a new study published by Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology indicates that it’s possible that using any kind of mouthwash can upend the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria that exists in our mouths.
Good bacteria are important because that’s what helps our bodies convert dietary nitrate into nitric oxide (NO).
Reader’s Digest recently explained it this way:
Mouthwash contains an antiseptic compound called chlorhexidine.
It can destroy the bacteria in the mouth that produces nitric oxide.
The study of 26 people showed that using mouthwash with chlorhexidine twice a day for a week was associated with a “significant” increase in systolic blood pressure.
Lead study author Nathan Bryan says,
We know one cannot be well without an adequate amount of NO circulating throughout the body.
Yet, the very first thing over 200 million Americans do each day is use an antiseptic mouthwash, which destroys the ‘good bacteria’ that helps to create the NO.
These once thought ‘good’ habits may be doing more harm than good.
Luckily, when the participants stopped using the mouthwash, their good bacteria came back.
What do you think of this study? Do you use mouthwash?
Let us know if this changes anything for you in the comments!