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What’s in Your Mouthwash? Does it Matter?

Thursday, December 7th 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Mouthwash is commonly found in numerous bathrooms, yet recent findings suggest that these fragrant germ-killers might do more damage than benefits. This potential harm isn’t just limited to one’s teeth, as shown in a recent detailed investigation.

While the ingredients and their quantities differ across mouthwash brands, researchers have found that some components in these dental care items can lead to side effects. These range from mild skin rashes and headaches to serious conditions like cardiac issues and cancer.

A study in Turkey scrutinized 45 mouthwash solutions from 17 popular brands available in Istanbul’s top five chain stores. Out of these, 31 formulas (or over 68%) had glycerin, which has links to kidney and liver issues; 29 (or more than 64%) contained sodium saccharin, a recognized carcinogen; and 28 (or roughly 62%) included propylene glycol—a substance related to organ failure in high concentrations.

Despite its association with tooth decay, the disinfectant chlorhexidine gluconate was present in 7 out of the 45 solutions. Other components, like the plaque-fighting agent cetylpyridinium chloride and the dye acid orange 7, may lead to teeth discoloration and stains.

“The limited variety of mouthwashes available in stores is alarming for both dental and general health,” noted the researchers in the International Dental Journal. “Moreover, the complex makeup of these items, with many ingredients that might cause negative reactions, deserves urgent scrutiny.”

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