Rinsing with mouthwash is part of a daily routine for many. Oral care is important, but if you’re not careful, your mouthwash could be doing more harm than good. Oral cancer has multiple risk factors, and Listerine and other popular brands of mouthwashes containing alcohol have been linked to an increased risk of developing oral cancer. Close to 48,000 Americans and more than 640,000 people across the world are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. It can occur in the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the gums and the cheeks, and new research says that mouthwash may be partly to blame.
Most mouthwash contains alcohol, along with other toxins and chemicals that could be putting your health at risk, each time you gargle, hoping for fresh breath. Here is a list of chemicals which can be found in the composition of your minty rinse:
- Chlorhexidine: This chemical is believed to be the cause of increased blood pressure associated with mouthwash use. According to a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, using mouthwash just twice a day can increase blood pressure and lead to serious heart conditions. Chlorhexidine kills the good bacteria in the body that is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels.
- Alcohol: Alcohol dries out the mucous membranes in the mouth and reduces saliva, causing bad breath. It changes the pH of the mouth and throat, and the Dental Journal of Australia found sufficient evidence that alcohol increases the risk of developing oral, head and neck cancers.
- Hexetidine (oraldene): Ingesting too much of this chemical can cause clotting in parts of the brain that control sensory and neural functions, and it may cause failure in these parts of the brain over time. Oraldene can also cause unstable heartbeat and allergic reactions, and it’s considered to be carcinogenic.
- Methyl Salicylate: Just one tablespoon of this substance is equivalent to over 23 300mg aspirin pills. An overdose can lead to kidney failure, loss of vision, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, convulsions, vomiting and much more.
- Methylparaben: Methylparaben has been found within breast cancer tissues. It’s widely used in mouthwash and women’s cosmetics such as skin creams and deodorants. Studies suggest that it may increase the risk of breast cancer or accelerate the growth of tumors.
One study included patients suffering from existing periodontal disease, who changed their dietary habits, and based their diet on fruits, vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, spices, lentils, beans, and water.
Participants were asked to maintain their regular oral hygiene habits, and in the end, they proved that healthy foods supported oral health and helped them prevent and treat further complications.
Nowadays, scientists also show that despite sugar, numerous other foods negatively affect our oral health.
Yet, there is a natural and extremely effective option you can use in order to use a safer alternative to mouthwash- green tea!
Studies have shown that rinsing with this natural tea prevented plaque bacteria growth in minutes! To be more specific, only after 7 minutes of the use of green tea, the number of dangerous bacteria in the plaque was reduced by half!
Furthermore, researchers tested chlorhexidine against green tea, and discovered that the tea is much more effective in reducing plaque, and it does not include all those harmful chemicals we have listed above.
Therefore, start using green tea instead of your common mouthwash in order to promote oral health, and avoid various severe side-effects!