Does Using Mouthwash Harm Your Oral Health?

Does Using Mouthwash Harm Your Oral Health?

At our dental office in Eugene, Oregon, our team at North Eugene Family Dental routinely advises patients on the best practices for maintaining their oral health at home. From brushing at least twice a day to flossing every night, your oral hygiene plays a significant role in determining whether you enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

One aspect of oral hygiene that’s been called into question recently is whether people should use an antibacterial mouthwash as part of their daily oral hygiene routines. While brands of mouthwash that contain alcohol can potentially cause chronic dry mouth – a known risk factor for tooth decay and gum disease – a new study now questions whether the use of antibacterial mouthwash can actually present a threat our overall heath.

According to researchers, consistent use of over-the-counter mouthwash has been linked to a higher risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes in a study that involved over 1,000 obese/overweight adults.

The results of this latest study were published in the journal Nitric Oxide.

To Rinse or Not to Rinse, A Very Important Question

For many individuals, using an over-the-counter mouthwash is a common part of their daily oral hygiene routine. One of the reasons so many people continue to use mouthwash is that the long-term effects have never been studied. Researchers explained that using antibacterial mouthwash can eliminate oral microbes needed for nitric oxide formation and place the user at risk for certain types of metabolic disorders.

To determine this connection, researchers conducted the San Juan Overweight Adults Longitudinal Study (SOALS) of over 1,200 obese or overweight adults between the ages of 40 to 65. Participants in the study were then followed for three years. Participants enrolled in the study had no history of diabetes or major cardiovascular disease prior to entering the program; 945 of the participants completed the three-year study and a follow-up data analysis. Hazard ratios were adjusted for known risk factors for diabetes and prediabetes, such as physical activity, waist-size, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, age, and sex.

Data collected in the study found that 43 percent of patients used mouthwash at least once a day and 22 percent used the product at least twice a day. Participants who used mouthwash at least twice a day at baseline showed a significantly increased risk of diabetes/prediabetes when compared to those participants who used the product less frequently or never used it at all.

The results of the study were consistent after factoring in risk factors such as oral hygiene, current oral health, education, sleep apnea, diet, medication, glucose levels, income, and education.

“Both associations were significant among never-smokers and obese,” added researchers.

Study participants who used mouthwash fewer than twice a day did not demonstrate an increased risk, suggesting that the effect starts at a point where an individual uses the product repeatedly throughout the day.

Protect Your Oral Health by Visiting our Dental Office in Eugene, Oregon

While this study calls into question the daily use of a mouthwash as part of an oral hygiene routine, you can still protect the health of your teeth and gums by continuing to brush, floss and schedule regular appointments at our dental office in Eugene, Oregon.

This study also helps to serve as a reminder of just how closely our oral health is linked with our overall health. From an increased risk of diabetes to stroke, heart disease, and cancer, more and more research is beginning to reveal that the health of our teeth and gums plays a significant role in determining our overall health.

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