Many people still include a daily swirl of mouthwash or even chew gum as part of their dental routine to freshen breath and fight plaque -- but could we actually be damaging our teeth in the process?
In order to stop bad breath, you must stop the production of the Volatile Sulfur Compounds. The only safe and clinically-proven way to do so is to "oxidize" away the sulfur compounds and the bacteria that create this problem.
Some of the ingredients in mouthwash may have a detrimental effect on teeth and gums if the product isn’t used properly, says Robin Seymour, professor of restorative dentistry at Newcastle University.
Many mouthwashes contain alcohol —some are up to 26 per cent proof, research has shown. It’s used as a carrier agent, to allow ingredients such as menthol, eucalyptol and thymol to function — these help to penetrate and break down plaque.
For several decades the large pharmaceutical companies have made commercial products that do not oxidize away the Odorous and Lousy-Tasting Sulfur compounds created by anaerobic bacteria. Many attempt to "help" the public, but merely rely on "masking agents" which essentially cover-up the malodor and sour, bitter tastes produced by the sulfur compounds with other stronger tastes (some medicinal and minty) and fragrances.
Worse yet, their chemists, in order to keep these "masking" chemicals in a pretty liquid solution found out that they needed to add alcohol, otherwise their product became turbid, or "cloudy" - which would not look nice to the consumers.
The end result was a "masking chemical" + high levels of alcohol. Alcohol makes your breath worse. Alcohol, in chemical terms, is classified as a DESICCANT, or DRYING AGENT. As you know from information in this website and possibly your own personal problem, the dryer your mouth gets - the worse your breath gets.
Alcohol-based mouthwash has also been linked to an increased risk in oral cancer. Scientists in a study published in the Dental Journal of Australia in 2009 reported that the ethanol (alcohol) in mouthwash allowed cancer-causing substances such as nicotine to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily. A toxic breakdown product of alcohol called acetaldehyde can also accumulate in the mouth.
Some mouthwashes can even cause staining. This is due to a chemical called chlorhexidine gluconate — an antiseptic designed to reduce bacteria and remove plaque, both of which can lead to bad breath.
However, when regularly exposed to the teeth it can cause brown patches on the enamel because of a chemical reaction.
Unfortunately, the public is unaware of the ingredients in products they use on a daily basis. For instance, nearly every toothpaste contains an ingredient that has been proven to dry out your mouth, and is now scientifically linked to canker sores. It's called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), and is placed into toothpaste (and some mouthwashes) in order to create foaming! (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is also the main ingredient in your shampoo - go check it out.) The harshness of this chemical has been proven to create microscopic damage to the oral tissue which lines the inside of your mouth, which then leads to Canker Sore production. The microscopic damage and "shedding" of vital oral tissues" provides a protein food source to the bacteria that create the Volatile Sulfur Compounds of Halitosis and taste disorders.
SLS ( sodium lauryl sulfate ) acts just like a detergent. It is used in the laboratory as a membrane destabilizer and solubilizer of proteins and lipids. SLS is used in toothpaste to emulsify (mix) oil and water based ingredients together. In your toothpaste it creates the foam you get when brushing. Since it is classified as a soap, you will easily understand, why this ingredient can cause drying inside the mouth for many individuals. The dryness is one of several factors that will lead to bad breath.
‘Chlorohexidine can produce tooth staining within about ten days of usage because it reacts with food additives which may be left on the teeth, particularly tannins, found in Coca-Cola, tea, coffee and red wine,’ explains Professor Seymour.
So should we just avoid these products altogether? According to Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, it’s always worth asking the advice of a dentist.
London-based dentist Dr Ogo Eze agrees: ‘If, for example, someone has gingivitis — inflammation of the gums — then it is important to keep plaque levels down, as this can make the inflammation worse.
‘It doesn’t matter how minute the risk of oral cancer might be. It is such a significant disease that I don’t think there is any reason to take the risk of using a mouthwash that contains alcohol.’
Would you give Saccharin to your children? Well, you are - when you provide them with Children's toothpaste from some of the major companies - take a look at their ingredients.
This is a chemical that is NOT an oxygenating compound. It sounds like a chemical used in oxygenating products, but in order for it to even start to produce oxygenation, the pH of the solution would need to have a pH of -1 (that's right -1!). Historically, scientific papers refer to many cases of accidental Sodium Chlorate Poisoning. Consequently, oral products containing chlorates were taken off the market in the UK over 60 years ago!
Benzalkonium Chloride had been used for many years as a preservative in eye drops and also in nasal sprays and drops. Recently, researchers in Europe discovered that this preservative was causing a great deal of allergic reaction among users. It is now estimated that fully 10% of the population is allergic to Benzalkonium Chloride.
Other studies have shown a direct relationship between BKC and contact dermatitis, another allergic reaction.