Mouth rinsing was first used in about 2700 B.C. Chinese and Ayurveda medicine used to prescribe mouth rinsing as a treatment for gingivitis.
Several more examples of early mouth rinsing include:
- The Greeks and Romans e.g. the upper class commonly used a mouth rinse after mechanically cleansing their teeth.
- Hippocrates recommended combining vinegar, salt and alum (double sulfur salt) to be used as a mouth rinse.
- Native Americans used mouth rinses made from plants such as Coptis trifolia (Threeleaf goldthread).
In the XVII century Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovered living organisms living in our mouths. He used many different ingredients to perform the experiment, testing his mouth rinses ability to kill these organisms. He concluded that these rinses didn’t reach or weren’t present enough to effectively kill the plaque organisms.
In 1960, Harald Loe found chlorexidiine to be effective against plaque buildup for many hours because it strongly adheres to the surfaces in the mouth.
These are some of the chemicals found in many of nowadays mouth wash (typical active ingredients)
- Chlorhexidine – A study published in the Journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine showed that using mouth wash twice a day can increase your blood pressure. That can lead to serious heart conditions. It even kills the “good” bacteria which is responsible for relaxing blood vessels.
- Alcohol – It’s a drying agent and can reduce saliva, added to the unwanted bad breath. It was discovered that it increases the risk of developing oral, head and neck cancers.
- Hexetidine (oraldene) – When people ingest too much of this matter, it can cause clotting in some parts of the brain that controls sensory and neural functions, leading to their failure. It can also cause unstable heartbeat, allergic reactions and is considered as carcinogenic, too.
- Methyl salicylate – A tablespoon of this substance is equal to over 23,300 mg of Aspirin. A 17 year old from New York absorbed a fatal dose by applying a muscle pain reliever to her skin containing methyl salicylate.
- Benzalkonium chloride (alkyldinethylbenzylammonium chloride and ADBAC) – This is an allergen and is toxic to humans causing mucous membrane irritation and even death when it’s ingested.
- Cethylphyridinium chloride – This is a chemical which causes extrinsic tooth staining. It has got an unpleasant flavor and can make what you eat and drink taste unpleasant, too. It contains very high amounts of alcohol and causes sensitivity, pain and irritation to the tongue. In 1998, a study showed that this chemical causes plaque to buildup rather than decreasing it.
- Methparaben – A study in the UK reported high levels of parabens in breast tumors, suggesting that they cause breast cancer.
- In the USA, there were 15 mouth washes in 1970. As of 2012, there were 113! Many of them are created to control the bacteria that live in our mouths that cause bad breath.
- If you want to make your own mouth wash, there are many natural ingredients which can help you remineralize, whiten your teeth, protect against cavities and freshen your breath.
Natural remineralizing mouth wash recipe
- -2 teaspoons of calcium carbonate powder
- -1 teaspoon of xylitol crystals
- -10 drops of trace mineral liquid
- -10 drops of peppermint essential oil
- -5 drops of lemon essential oil
- -2 drops of wild orange essential oil
- -2 cups of filtered water
Stir together the calcium powder and the xylitol crystals in a large mason jar. Add the liquid minerals and the drops of essential oils. Add some filtered water and stir. Close the mason lid tightly and shake the ingredients for a minute or until the xylitol dissolves. Shake the mixture well before each use. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.