Jan 262014

Researchers in London have shown that a mouthwash with a powerful antiseptic can raise blood pressure within a day after use. The researchers warn that the rise in blood pressure seen in their study can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to the article “Mouthwashes Can Raise Risk of Heart Attack and Strokes.”

One theory is that the antiseptics are killing ‘good bacteria’ responsible for relaxing blood vessels. We tend to forget that there are ‘good bacteria’ in our digestive tract. These good bacteria are needed in helping us digest food, and create vitamins our body needs for good health.

We also don’t realize trying to kill the bad bacteria may do more harm than good by killing the good bacteria along with the bad ones.

A popular germ killing ingredient in the U.S. toothpaste and mouthwash market is triclosan. The FDA, in their report “Triclosan: What Consumers Should Know,” currently states that “Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.”

Consumer Reports states that “A recent preliminary study by the University of Michigan found that in people under 18, higher urinary triclosan levels were associated with having more reported allergies and hay fever.” In addition, frequent use of antiseptics and antibiotics like triclosan may be contributing to the creation of drug resistant bacteria.

Consumer Reports also states: “Triclosan seems to be in toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis, a form of gum inflammation. But the Mayo Clinic and other oral health experts say that gingivitis can be prevented simply by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. For most healthy people who don’t have gingivitis, and certainly for young children, using toothpaste with triclosan seems unnecessary and possibly risky.”

With this new report showing the use of powerful antiseptics or antibiotics can contribute to higher blood pressures, using triclosan free toothpaste may be a wise precaution. As the Mayo Clinic stated, we can maintain good oral health simply by brushing and flossing regularly. Just use an antibiotic and antiseptic free toothpaste. You can also keep bad breath at bay by keeping your tongue clean.