Mouthwash can be a useful addition to your oral health routine & can help prevent bad breath. Although the kind of mouthwash we use today wasn’t invented until the 1800s, people have been cleaning their mouths by rinsing for thousands of years!
Before Modern Mouthwash
The earliest references to mouth rinsing can be found in ancient medical practices in southern Asia, Egypt, China, Greece & Rome. Upper-class ancient Greeks & Romans often rinsed their mouths using mixtures that included ingredients such as salt & vinegar. Some people also used urine, goat’s milk or white wine to rinse their mouths, although it’s not clear how effective these liquids were for cleaning.
For many years, cultures in North & South America used mouthwashes made from plants or saltwater for sore throats, teething or ulcers. Some of these practices were more successful than contemporary methods used in Europe, where people used a wide variety of solutions, including vinegar with mint or cold water, to rinse their mouths.
Modern mouthwash was invented in the 1800s, when people started using alcohol to stabilize the mixtures & help fight germs & bacteria. One of the most popular mouthwash brands today, Listerine, was actually originally created to be used as an antiseptic for surgery & to clean floors. Alcohol-based solutions became very popular, but many mouthwashes today use alternative ingredients to stabilize the mixture while still fighting germs that can cause plaque & gingivitis.
Even today, mouthwash solutions continue to evolve to be more effective for users. Many companies now produce mouthwashes that are specifically designed to get rid of & prevent stains on the teeth, & some also produce solutions that avoid irritating more sensitive mouths. Additionally, some mouthwashes contain fluoride to help strengthen enamel & prevent tooth decay.
If you have any questions about what kind of mouthwash you should use, talk to your dentist. They’ll be able to give you great advice on how to improve your oral hygiene routine to keep your mouth healthy!