The first reference to mouth rinsing was in about, 2700 BC. Chinese and Ayurveda medicine prescribed mouth rinsing as a treatment for gingivitis.
More examples of early mouth rinsing include: -During Greek and Roman periods, 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 17th century, Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovered living organisms living in our mouths. He experimented with many different ingredients, testing his mouth rinses ability to kill these organisms. Mr. Leeuwenhoek concluded the rinses either didn’t reach or wasn’t present long enough to effectively kill the plaque organisms.
In 1960, Harald Loe found chlorhexidiine effective against plaque buildup for many hours because it strongly adheres to the surfaces in the mouth.
These are the chemicals found in many of today’s mouth wash (typical active ingredients)
•Chlorhexidine- According to a study published in the Journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, using mouth wash twice a day can increase blood pressure. This increase can lead to serious heart conditions. The chemical Chlorhexidine is believed to be the cause of this. It kills even the “good” bacteria which is responsible for relaxing blood vessels.
•Alcohol- This is a drying agent and can reduce saliva, adding to the unwanted bad breath. The Dental Journal of Australia found sufficient evidence that it increase the risk of developing oral, head and neck cancers.
•Hexetidine (oraldene)- When too much oraldene is ingested it will cause clotting in parts of the brain that control sensory and neural functions, leading to their failure. It can also cause unstable heartbeat, allergic reactions and is considered to be a carcinogen.
•Methyl Salicylate- A tsp of this substance is the equivalent to over 23, 300mg 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, skin and mucous membrane irritation and even death when ingested.
•Cetylphyridinium chloride- This is a chemical that actually causes extrinsic tooth staining. It has an unpleasant flavor and can make what you eat and drink taste unpleasant as well. Containing high amounts of alcohol, it causes sensitivity, pain and irritation to the tongue. In 1998, a study showed this chemical actually causes plaque to buildup rather than decreasing it.
•Methparaben- A study in the UK, reported high levels of parabens in breast tumors, suggesting parabens cause breast cancer.
In the United States there were 15 mouth washes in 1970. As of 2012, there were 113! Many of today’s mouth wash are created to control the bacteria that live in our mouths that cause bad breath. Would you be interested in making your own mouth wash? With natural ingredients that will remineralize, whiten your teeth, protect against cavities and freshen your breath.