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September 21, 2014

The Hazards of Mouthwash

Oral rinses have been around for centuries. They have been as simple as salt in water or as convoluted as mixed herbs in a vinegar base. But it was during the 19th century that alcohol was added to mouthrinse to fight germs and bacteria. Listerine was probably the forerunner in that category, but bear in mind that before it became a mouthrinse, it was originally used as an antiseptic for surgical procedures and to clean floors. 

Photo credit Creative Commons: Heather Flowers

Fast forward to the present, and we find that mouthwashes haven’t changed much in the past 100 plus years. Listerine is still popular with its 27% alcohol content.  That is pretty significant when you realize that alcoholic drinks range from  a low of 3% (beer, wine)
 to about 40% (whiskey, rum).  It is not unusual to hear stories of people who actually have gotten drunk by drinking alcoholic mouthwash. (It is definitely a poor man’s way to have an alcoholic drink for less money.) 

As a holistic person, the major problem with using alcoholic mouthrinses is the concern with increased oral cancer rates, due to the contact with the soft tissues of the mouth. There have been studies showing that people who use alcoholic mouthwash daily, have the same oral cancer rates as those who imbibe alcohol daily.  

The question then is why you would put this carcinogenic substance in a mouthwash. Sure it may kill a few extra germs, but does the benefit outweigh the risk?  I think not. There are better choices.  

The basic thing to keep in mind when using these rinses is: is it poison?
Just like we have already expressed in My Secrets to Regaining Health, if something goes in your mouth, chances are pretty good that you will end up swallowing it. This applies to mouthwash as well as toothpaste.
So what are our choices?  Well there are many options for natural mouthrinses. Health stores have a big selection to choose from. But even that may be confusing. The bottom line is to use anything that is nature based, mostly with herbs and plants. 

For now, I’m sticking to oil pulling with coconut oil. Just add a few drops of mint oil or oil of oregano, and you should be good to go. It not only acts as an effective mouthwash, but also can detox your body through the mouth meridians, and supply you with essential fatty acids sublingually.  No mouthwash from any store will do that. 

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