Mouthwash Friend or Foe?

Gum Reshaping

You may have heard some negative talk about mouthwash in recent years, but from a dental perspective it has many benefits that help your oral and whole body health. Part of the problem with mouthwash is that patients don’t know how or when to use rinses. When used after brushing, mouthwashes can often do more harm than good especially if they contain sugary sweeteners to make the rinse less intense. Used before brushing, rinses can help make your brushing and flossing more effective by loosening foreign matter and bacteria. Over the counter mouthwashes for kids often include ingredients that turn bacteria a bluish color so kids know where they need to pay extra brushing attention. Just because they’re made for kids, doesn’t mean adults can’t use them. These rinses typically contain more health conscious ingredients, and can help you transform your oral health.

Some of the benefits associated with Mouthwash are:

  • Reduce bacteria
  • Freshen breath
  • Remove foreign particles from hard to reach places

Some risks associated with mouthwash:

  • High alcohol content can irritate soft tissue
  • Cosmetic rinses only mask odor
  • Sugar content in some washes can be harmful

The risks associated with mouthwash boil down to ingredients. Store bought mouth rinses may make promises about teeth whitening, breath freshening benefits, but it’s not surprising that there has been extensive research pointing to mouthwashes being harmful. Most over the counter rinses are “cosmetic.” That means they’re intended merely to freshen breath, and may have little or no added health benefits. Therapeutic rinses prove that it’s what’s inside that counts. They include essential oils, fluoride, peroxides, vitamins, and other ingredients that can improve your dental health by killing bacteria, healing sores and cuts, and eliminating bad breath not just masking it.

When it comes to ensuring quality of ingredients in products that can affect your whole body health, do it yourself is often the way to go. Check out this great DIY mouth rinse that has a great taste, antibiotic qualities, and can be made by the gallon for as little as $3.

Homemade Mouth Wash

Total Time: 1 minute

Serves: 30



  1. Pour all ingredients into a bottle. Shake to mix.
  2. Take a small sip, swish mixture around in your mouth.
  3. Gargle for 30 seconds and spit out. Do not swallow.

If you want to give your at home mouth rinse a little extra kick, include a teaspoon of coconut oil. Coconut oil contains large amounts of vitamin E that has been used for treating cuts, chapped lips, and sores for years. Adding coconut oil to your mouth wash can provide added whitening, treatment for soft tissue injuries, and is known to pull toxins from the body.

If you’re interested in finding out more about mouthwashes, the mouth/body connection, or our full range of holistic dentistry services, our knowledgeable team is always here to help. Call us in Williamsport or Collegeville, PA to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients interested in holistic care from surrounding areas Sunbury, Pottstown, Lock Haven, and Bloomberg.

Meet Dr. D

Dr. David DiGiallorenzo received his training at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics and Periodontal Prosthesis in the early 1990s. His training included prosthodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, and advanced oral reconstructive techniques, including oral implantology.

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