Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mouthwash: Any natural alternatives to Listerine and Colgate?

A few years ago, I decided to buy Listerine mouthwash to complement my oral hygiene habits, besides brushing my teeth twice a day and flossing every few days. Recently, I came to learn from the internet about the side effects of Listerine. For example, the alcohol content in Listerine is said to cause dryness in the mouth, which actually promotes bacteria overgrowth (and overuse of mouthwash can even cause oral cancer), according to this website.
"The overuse of mouthwash is linked in several studies to oral bacterial infections, tooth decay and cancers of the mouth. The alcohol in the mouthwash is known to cause 'dry mouth' which allows bacterial overgrowth. The solvent properties of alcohol can dissolve fillings. This increases exposure to mercury vapor from amalgam fillings and xenoestrogenic phthalates from composite fillings. Additionally, the alcohol stains teeth and damages the tooth enamel setting up an environment for accelerated tooth decay."
According to this website, the acidity of mouthwashes can cause erosion of dental enamel, which in turn results in teeth sensitivity.
"In another study, at the Division of Restorative Dentistry in Bristol, U.K., researchers found that use of low pH mouthwashes cause erosion of dental enamel that is directly correlated to sensitivity in teeth. People with less enamel complained of much greater tooth sensitivity to hot and cold."
So about a couple of years ago, I decided to switch to using Colgate Plax mouthwash, which doesn't contain alcohol. I use it about once a week on average. Lately, however, I decided to google about some of the ingredients, such as sodium fluoride, and I learnt that this chemical can be toxic to the body if ingested over a long time.

So I am going to look for natural alternatives to the above two mouthwashes. Meanwhile, I learnt from this website that suggests some natural eco-friendly mouthwashes. I will see if I can find them in a pharmacy or natural health store.

Update (as of 7 Oct 2012)

When I was shopping at the supermarket, I managed to find a non-fluoride toothpaste called Elgydium. While it contains sodium lauryl sulfate, at least it doesn't contain sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate, which is found in almost all other brands of toothpastes. Besides, Elgydium is made in France, the country that bans GMO foods, so I suppose this toothpaste would be considered safer than the other brands, since the country would have observed more stringent health measures both in their food and medical industries.

I also bought Betadine gargle and mouth wash from the supermarket pharmacy, which I suppose doesn't contain fluoride, as there is no mention of this ingredient on the package, so I suppose it would be safer to use than other brands of mouth wash. It is also meant as an antiseptic that soothes sore throats, which I was sometimes prone to, so it would help prevent sore throats too if I were to use it occasionally, perhaps on a weekly basis or so.

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