Mouthwash helps prevent oral diseases and makes your teeth healthy. It helps to keep our mouth and breath fresh. Most use mouthwash to lessen the nasty odours produced by foods and bacteria. However, it also plays a vital role in reducing gum diseases such as gingivitis and tooth decay. It provides strength to the tooth enamel and helps in preventing common tooth ailments. It is a common part of any good dental oral hygiene routine that has been used by ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Chinese cultures and many others for thousands of years.
It all Started in the Late 1800’s
Mouthwash first appeared in the late 1800s when oral care products started to be developed and used by the public. In ancient times, Romans were the first to invent mouthwash and toothpaste. At that time, mouthwash contained alcohol that has germ killing properties. The ingredients used in mouthwash during the first few years of its existence included fruits, charcoal and dried flowers. People also preferred the concoction of natural herbs such as mint leaves, goats milk, powdered charcoal and honey.
In ancient times, Indians and the Chinese used different ointments, lotions and tablets for curing oral diseases. They used minerals and herbs as ingredients in the mouthwash. It was believed that these ingredients had the strength to kill germs that produce gingivitis and plaque.
‘Odol’ was the first commercially sold mouthwash. The product was made in the late 1900s. The trend of mouthwash came after World War I. ‘Listerine’, one of the most popular brands of mouthwash, was also developed in the 1800s
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The Romans believed that human urine was one of the best natural oral cleansing commodities. They were of the view that human urine is very effective for bacterial elimination purposes and keeps the breath fresh. They preferred human urine for oral cleansing purposes because it contains ammonia. They realised that ammonia has some powerful cleaning attributes and started using it as a mouthwash. In the first century A.D, human urine became very popular for use in oral hygiene, not only among Romans, but by Greeks as well. Due its huge demand the emperors started taking tax on it. It was used as an effective mouthwash ingredient until the 18th century.
Ancient people also used tortoise blood as a mouthwash. They used the tortoise blood three times every year. It was considered very efficient at preventing toothache. A handful also used white wine and goat’s milk as a mouthwash. The Egyptians used different commodities to clean their teeth. They used to chew sodium carbonate to whiten their teeth. They also cleaned their mouth with water and honey by adding some cumin, frankincense, goose fat and ocher.
Ancient Historic Events
The first mouthwash was developed in 1800s at the time of Romans and Greeks. It was a solution of grain alcohol. Listerine, a famous brand of mouthwash was developed during the 1800s and it is still prevalent in today’s market.
In (40-90 AD) a famous Greek physician and surgeon, Dioscorides proposed a mouthwash containing the mixture of olive leaves, pickled olive juice, milk, pomegranate peelings, vinegar and nutgalls as an effective treatment to reduce bad breath.
Teeth cleaning was considered the most important part in the religious ceremonies of the ancient Romans. They used to import the Portuguese human urine because they had a notion that it contained a great strength to keep the breath fresh and the teeth healthier.
Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, a famous microscopist in the 1670s had discovered some dental plaque on the teeth. These dental plaques had some living organisms. He discovered that these living organisms can be killed by using a mixture of brandy and vinegar. The formula became successful in eliminating dental plaque.
Later on in the 1960s, chlorhexidine compound was used by Professor Harald Loe. He found that this compound was very effective in removing the build-up of plaque.
Causes of Bad Breath
- Internal causes – A number of factors are responsible for poor dental hygiene. Some of them are not rinsing, flossing and brushing the teeth. Most types of food can influence the smell of the breath, so it’s best to avoid the once which omit pungent smells. Our mouth contains almost 400 types of living bacteria, so it’s a complex system, but the main cause of bad breath is due to the presence of sulphur in your mouth.
- External causes – Bad breath is also caused by food such as meat, fish, cheese, garlic and onion. Smoking and chewing tobacco are also responsible for generating a bad smell.
Mouthwashes for Special Needs
Mouthwash also assists you to fulfill some special needs. They are great for people who wear braces and have sensitive mouths because they clear away all the debris from the braces and help to sooth those with sensitive areas in their mouths. Some mouthwashes are made by using natural products for those people who like to rinse and gargle with the mouthwash that contain natural herbal extracts.
Usage of Mouthwash
Besides flossing and brushing, mouthwash is very good if used twice in a day. It helps to rinse the damaging plaque away and has the ability to combat the bacteria that generates bad breath. To keep your teeth healthy, it is recommended to gargle with your mouthwash for 30 seconds twice a day, usually at the same time as brushing your teeth.
At the moment, numerous mouthwashes have been developed by various companies. The demand for these mouthwashes has increased in recent years and is likely to continue to grow due to the ever increasing number of people who are concerned about oral hygiene.
The Typical Mouthwash
Every mouthwash is comprised of different ingredients and flavors. The variety and quality of mouthwashes has also improved massively over the years. With time, people have become more conscious about their oral health. They strive to find best quality mouthwash that helps them to get rid of bad breath, the build up of plaque and even whiten their teeth all in the same mouthwash.
Today, people are more aware about good quality mouthwashes that give them fresh breath rather than those that contain urine and ammonia as used by the people in ancient times. Some of the common ingredients include CPC (cetylpyridinium chloride), hydrogen peroxide and hexametephosphate in abundant quantities. All these have the potential to prevent stains on the surface of the teeth.
Today the most preferable mouthwashes are Biotene, Tom’s of Maine Natural Cleansing, SmartMouth Alcohol-Free Mouthwash, TheraBreath and Listerine.