The dangers of alcohol-containing antiseptic mouthwashes

Biogenetika Blog Post The dangers of alcohol-containing antiseptic mouthwashes

Everyone loves the nice and refreshing feeling that mouthwash leaves in our mouths, but are we willing to pay for the hidden cost for it?

While you may have heard that alcohol-containing antiseptic mouthwashes are beneficial, there are some studies that suggest otherwise. In fact, rinsing your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash daily has been linked with increased risk of developing high blood pressure, by reducing the production of nitric oxide (a natural vascular dilator) [1-4].

There are two ways to produce nitric oxide in our bodies. Antiseptic mouthwashes and tongue cleaners can disrupt one of these pathways by affecting the oral bacteria concentration responsible for converting nitrate to nitrite, and then nitric oxide [3].



Moreover, daily use of antiseptic mouthwashes can also inhibit the benefits of exercise. One study was using 23 healthy individuals that completed two treadmill trials at moderate intensity. It showed that the blood pressure-lowering effect of exercise was reduced by 61% over the first hour of recovery, and fully abolished 2 hours after exercise when participants were given the antibacterial mouthwash [5].

These studies raise a very important topic that make us reflect if the use antiseptic mouthwashes is worth paying the hidden cost or not. If you love mouthwashes perhaps changing to non-alcoholic mouthwash such as "The Natural Dentist" rinse could be a great alternative.



[1] Pignatelli P, Fabietti G, Ricci A, Piattelli A, Curia MC. How Periodontal Disease and Presence of Nitric Oxide Reducing Oral Bacteria Can Affect Blood Pressure. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020;21:7538.

[2] Kapil V, Haydar SMA, Pearl V, Lundberg JO, Weitzberg E, Ahluwalia A. Physiological role for nitrate-reducing oral bacteria in blood pressure control. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2013;55:93-100.

[3] Tribble GD, Angelov N, Weltman R, Wang B-Y, Eswaran SV, Gay IC, et al. Frequency of Tongue Cleaning Impacts the Human Tongue Microbiome Composition and Enterosalivary Circulation of Nitrate. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 2019;9.

[4] Joshipura K, Muñoz-Torres F, Fernández-Santiago J, Patel RP, Lopez-Candales A. Over-the-counter mouthwash use, nitric oxide and hypertension risk. Blood pressure. 2020;29:103-12.

[5] Cutler C, Kiernan M, Willis JR, Gallardo-Alfaro L, Casas-Agustench P, White D, et al. Post-exercise hypotension and skeletal muscle oxygenation is regulated by nitrate-reducing activity of oral bacteria. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2019;143:252-9.