With so many oral care products at your fingertips, it can be hard to determine which ones are actually nurturing your oral microbiome.
Mouthwash is one of those products that, if you don’t choose carefully, could do more harm than good. If you’ve used conventional mouthwash before, you’ve probably already asked yourself, why does it burn? Should something have to burn to be effective? Oh no, is mouthwash bad for you?
At the end of the day, you have to consider the delicate ecosystem that is your oral microbiome. It works around the clock to aid digestion, communicate with your gut microbiome, and protect your body's systems by maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria.
When you add harsh conventional mouthwash into the mix, you’ve got a recipe for total destruction (oops, we just mean disruption). But if you choose your mouthwash wisely, you can actually support your mouth in maintaining that healthy balance.
meet the good bacteria in your oral microbiome
Researcher at the University of Plymouth, Louise Belfield, admits, “We have significantly underestimated the complexity of the oral microbiome and the importance of oral bacteria in the past. Traditionally the view has been that bacteria are bad and cause diseases. But we now know that the majority of bacteria—whether in the mouth or the gut—are essential for sustaining human health.”
So what are these so-called “good” bacteria, and what do they do?
- streptococcus salivarius k12: treats bad breath and oral candida by fighting and destroying harmful bacteria to help your mouth maintain a healthy pH
- streptococcus a12: work to halt the growth of S. mutans, bacteria that are known to cause cavities
- lactobacillus: species of this type include L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, and L. salivarius and have been known to help tame gum disease.
- bifidobacterium: aid in the digestion of dietary fiber, working to produce vitamins and prevent infection
This is not a comprehensive list. There are actually over 700 species of bacteria in your mouth at any moment. But we hope this list adds some substance to our mottos, “not all bacteria is bad” and “a balance between good and bad bacteria is essential for your oral and overall health.”
Now that you know some of the good bacteria in your mouth, you have even more reason to make sure you choose a natural mouthwash that doesn’t completely wipe them out.
why you should opt for a natural mouthwash
It’s no secret that conventional mouthwash aims to “kill 99.9% of germs.” However, it is somewhat of a secret that this is actually counterintuitive for oral health. To correct this, researchers at the University of Plymouth have conducted two notable studies that make us even more skeptical about conventional mouthwash.
- One of these studies explores the effects of antiseptic chlorhexidine mouthwash. This type of mouthwash is usually prescribed or suggested to treat the inflammation and bleeding that comes with gingivitis. This is concerning, as the study concluded that 7-day use of chlorhexidine mouthwash can shift the oral microbiome to an acidic environment, which can lead to increased dental decay and a reduction in the number of nitrate-reducing bacteria that promote cardiovascular health.
- The other study explores the effects of chlorhexidine mouthwash on blood pressure after exercise. Exercise is known to increase blood circulation, lowering blood pressure. This study concluded that a disruption in oral bacteria (caused by the use of chlorhexidine mouthwash) diminished the blood-pressure-lowering effects of exercise by 60%. Furthermore, scientists conclude that oral bacteria play a critical role in opening your blood vessels and improving circulation.
These studies prove, once again, that the mouth is a critical component of your holistic health, affecting many different systems that are so delicately intertwined.
In addition to these concerns, many people experience negative side effects as a result of daily conventional mouthwash use. Symptoms can include burning, dry mouth, bleeding gums, canker sores, and more. This is no coincidence, as most mouthwash contains many harsh chemical ingredients that simply aren’t meant to nurture oral microbiomes. Some of these ingredients include:
- alcohol: the high percentage of alcohol that’s found in many conventional mouthwashes can directly cause stinging, burning, and dry mouth symptoms
- chlorine dioxide: this is an antibacterial bleaching agent that’s added to mouthwash to help whiten teeth, but the CDC has classified it as a “hazardous gas”
- poloxamer 407: this is a detergent that is known to decrease blood flow in animals, but there’s limited research as to how it affects humans
- dyes: wondering where mouthwash gets its blue, green, and sometimes purple color? Chemical dyes that may (ironically) stain your teeth over time
- artificial flavors: chemical flavorings, such as benzoic acid, can be potentially hazardous substances that are not safe to ingest or use in high concentrations
All the more reason to choose a natural mouthwash formulated with intentional ingredients that support your oral microbiome, not strip it.
clean up your oral care routine
Below, we’ve included some of our favorite methods to decrease the number of bad bacteria in your mouth while still allowing the good bacteria to flourish.
pick a natural mouthwash
You’ve probably realized this entire article encourages you to think twice about conventional mouthwash. At this point, you may be wondering, “okay, so what’s the best natural mouthwash then?” The answer is: our very own natural mouthwash, which is launching soon.
What makes Davids mouthwash the best?
Besides the fact that it’s alcohol-free, our mouthwash will be fortified with xylitol. Xylitol helps reduce the risk of tooth decay by enhancing saliva flow, stabilizing the pH of your mouth, and reducing the amount of bad bacteria in your oral microbiome. By fighting these harmful bacteria, this mouthwash also helps protect your mouth against conditions like gingivitis, xerostomia, and periodontitis. Sodium bicarbonate will be working alongside xylitol to help neutralize acids in the mouth and reduce bad bacteria to achieve a healthy balance, and added vegetable glycerin will be there too...promoting saliva flow and reducing dry mouth even further.
On top of this, our mouthwash will contain our hero ingredient, hydroxyapatite. This will help to remineralize and strengthen your enamel from the inside out, creating an even stronger defense against harmful bacteria.
But until we launch our natural mouthwash, we suggest you...
use a tongue scraper
Bacteria love the cushy surface of your tongue. It’s the perfect safe haven for them, so they can fester and cause bad breath and all kinds of other issues. To rid your tongue of bad bacteria (and the film that they create), we recommend tongue scraping daily with a stainless steel tongue scraper. Not sure where to find the best one? Stay tuned for a special announcement from us. (We know, it’s getting a little repetitive, but we have a lot of new products in the works.)
brush daily with Davids
Every flavor of our natural toothpaste is carefully formulated to break down plaque, fight bad bacteria, neutralize damaging acids, polish your teeth, and nourish your oral microbiome. We accomplish this by using intentional ingredients derived from nature, such as calcium carbonate, baking soda, premium mint oils, stevia, xylitol, and more...while avoiding any potentially harmful ingredients like the ones listed in the previous section. It’s no wonder that even the most sensitive mouths are raving about our natural toothpaste and the way it leaves them feeling fresh and healthy.
Now that you know just how delicate your oral microbiome is, don’t you think it deserves the best natural toothpaste out there?