Episode 061 | Is Mouthwash Essential for Good Oral Health


Hello and welcome to episode 61 of Elmar´s Tooth Talk: The missing link to total health. I am Dr Elmar Jung.

Today we are returning to the origin of Elmar’s Tooth Talk and talk about mouthwashes

So, before we start let me tell you…

What’s in it for you in this episode:

  • WHAT is your oral microbiome
  • WHY good oral health is key to preventing disease
  • WHAT are the challenges with most mouthwashes
  • HAVE we found the holy grail?

Your oral microbiome

You probably know that your mouth inhabits many billions of microorganisms.

But did you know that there are more than 700 different types of bacteria in your mouth? And did you also know that when you are born you inherit certain bacteria from your mother?

As you grow older, your diet changes as well as your lifestyle and due to these changes, the composition of the bacteria in your mouth changes.

Each time you take a drink, have a bite to eat or kiss someone new microorganisms are added to the ones already in your mouth. For some of these bugs the conditions they find are favourable and they decide to stay and are accepted by their new neighbours. Others appear hostile and get destroyed by your immune system.

Your oral microbiome is a mixture of all sorts of microbes. Some are called good others bad. However, it is about the balance. And the balance is mainly provided or not by your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.

Which brings us to dental plaque.

Everyone has dental plaque. It is this sticky film that forms on teeth.

Plaque develops when your oral bacteria mix with foods and other fluids, particularly sugary and starchy ones. Plaque is said to be the root cause of many teeth and gum problems; but since you need to eat and drink every day, plaque formation is inevitable. 

Of the hundreds of different bacterial species that colonize your mouth, only a few can cause serious damage to your health. 

However, the last thing you want is to let these harmful microbes outnumber the good ones. Therefore, besides removing plaque, you should prioritize maintaining a healthy and balanced oral microbiome.

Good oral health is key to preventing disease

Diet and oral hygiene are two of the biggest factors that affect the composition of your oral microflora. An unhealthy diet and poor oral hygiene can shift the balance in favour of bad oral bacteria.

Aside from bad breath, cavities and gum disease, research has found that poor oral health, particularly gum disease, is linked to many serious health issues.

For example, bacteria that cause gum disease can cross into your bloodstream and enter your heart. There, they can cause damage to your heart valves, which are vulnerable to bacterial infections.  

We also know from research that gum disease can endanger your blood vessels and increase your risk of serious cardiovascular events. 

Gum infections also affect your blood sugar levels and or trigger a strong response from your immune system and mess with your body’s ability to control your blood sugar. 

Research showed that poor oral health can also cause problems for pregnant women and their babies such as a higher risk of premature birth and are more likely to give birth to babies with low birth weights.

Is mouthwash an essential part of good oral hygiene?

We know that oral health is a key indicator for good overall health which means that to stay healthy, practicing good oral hygiene is just as important as making healthy lifestyle changes and adopting a well-balanced diet.

We also know that good oral hygiene isn’t just about brushing your teeth and flossing regularly.
It also involves keeping a healthy oral microflora by helping good microbes control the growth of bad ones.

Some experts say the best way to go about this is to use an effective mouthwash.

Let us have a closer look into this.

Brushing cleans the surfaces of your teeth, but it’s not enough to give the small crevices and tight spaces between your teeth a thorough cleaning some so-called experts say.
They argue that that’s what flossing is for, but there are still plenty of hard-to-reach places in your mouth that even the thinnest dental floss can’t reach. This is where a liquid mouthwash supposedly comes in handy. 

One of the great things about liquids is that they can slip into even the smallest spaces. Gargling with mouthwash after brushing and flossing can help dislodge leftover food particles and get rid of any remaining plaque is what these experts say.

Now one can disagree and say that if you still have leftover food particles dislodged between your teeth you haven’t done a great job in cleaning them in the first place.

Therefore, before you embark on the journey exploring the best mouth wash, make sure you have put into place an easy to follow protocol which makes sure that you clean every surface of every single tooth – thoroughly.

By the way, this is not done in 30 seconds neither in two minutes, obviously depending on how many teeth you still have and how many you want to keep.

What makes a good mouthwash?

Before we dive into what makes a good mouthwash, we should be reminded that the best mouth wash is already in our mouth – always
Do you remember?

It is our saliva.

With an individualised diet and a healthy lifestyle your saliva is the very best mouth wash you can ever have.

It is also worth mentioning that most people forget to clean their tongue. This is the place where far more bacteria reside and hide than on your teeth.

Therefore, tongue scraping is a must and should be an essential part of your daily oral hygiene.

Now let’s look what you are in for when opting for a mouthwash

According to the commercials it is a no-brainer — just thirty seconds of swishing their advertised mouthwash and not only will your teeth be whiter, but your gums will be healthier, your risk of tooth decay diminished and above all your bad breath problems will disappear!

There is just one little problem … That’s not really what is happening.

Unfortunately, many commercial formulations rely on harmful chemicals to achieve all of this.

Chlorhexidine, for example, is a powerful disinfectant and antiseptic often used in conventional mouthwashes. Unfortunately, Chlorhexidine does not distinguish between so-called bad or good microbes which as research found can have disastrous consequences for your heart.

Researchers found that some of the oral bacteria killed by chlorhexidine are needed to maintain
optimal heart health.

There are many other toxic chemicals commonly used in commercial mouthwashes. This s why dentists who truly care about the health of their patients advise them to switch to products that use only natural ingredients.

The reason conventional mouthwashes don’t work is because they harm your oral microbiome, the most important immunity tool of your oral health.

Here are further problems your oral biome faces when you use a conventional mouthwash.

  • They dry out your mouth which is mainly due to the alcohol contained in them
  • They destroy the bacterial balance in your mouth
  • They cause pH imbalances
  • They may cause more cavities
  • They don’t really make bad breath disappear
  • They can lead to mouth ulcers
  • They may increase the risk of oral cancer
  • Most of them worsen bad breath

The main ingredients to avoid are

  • Alcohol
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Parabens

In fact, mouthwash is probably one of the top dental myths to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

To get back to where we started, the problem is the plaque. And the issue with plaque is the biofilm. If we could eliminate the biofilm, no plaque could be formed, and no calculus could build-up.

Have we found the holy grail?
We don’t know about a good mouthwash that does this but we have just heard that Zinzino, a Norwegian company, which offers high quality omega 3 oils and other synergistic supplements have launched a supplement called Zinogene+ that does exactly this and the results we are hearing are amazing.

This appears to be a major break-through in eliminating plaque, gum disease, tooth decay and all the associated issues that come with biofilm. And as an add-on, Zinogene+ has anti-aging power.

We will keep you updated on our own research with Zinogene+

And if you still want to use a mouthwash, your best option is to switch to an all-natural option and always check the label for the ingredients.

Good examples are essential oils such as Tea tree, Peppermint or Clove oil.

Here we are, at the end of another episode.

Thanks for tuning in and see you next time at Elmar’s Tooth Talk – The missing link to total health.

Bye for now.

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