Is The Acid In Your Mouthwash Eroding Your Tooth Enamel?
Posted: March 31, 2009
Recent research has uncovered a startling new discovery about the mouthwash you are probably using. Did you know that over 90% of the mouthwash that is commercially available contains an acid level comparable to that of household vinegar?
Can you imagine rinsing and gargling with vinegar? I don't even have to tell you what that would taste like, but think for a second what it can do to your teeth!
The enamel on your teeth is one of the hardest substances that your body can produce. However, acid is one of the most corrosive substances in nature. The study shown below discovered that rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash that contains a high concentration of acid causes a drastic increase in enamel loss.
Also, enamel loss has a direct correlation to sensitivity in teeth - people with less enamel complained of much greater sensitivity in their teeth to hot and cold.
As you can see from the chart below - almost all commercially available mouthwashes have a highly 'acidic' environment.
Moral of the Story: Use a non-acidic mouthwash.
"Acid in your mouthwash dissolves your tooth enamel, potentially creating serious problems for the person using it..."
The Journal of Clinical Periodontology, The erosive effects of some mouthrinses on enamel. A study in situ.
by Pontefract H, Hughes J, Kemp K, Yates R, Newcombe RG, Addy M.
Division of Restorative Dentistry, Dental School, Bristol, UK.
BACKGROUND: There are both anecdotal clinical and laboratory experimental data suggesting that low pH mouthrinses cause dental erosion. This evidence is particularly relevant to acidified sodium chlorite (ASC) formulations since they have plaque inhibitory properties comparable to chlorhexidine but without the well known local side effects.
AIM: Studies in situ and in vitro were planned to measure enamel erosion by low pH mouthrinses. The study in situ measured enamel erosion by ASC, essential oil and hexetidine mouthrinses over 15-day study periods. The study was a 5 treatment, single blind cross over design involving 15 healthy subjects using orange juice, as a drink, and water, as a rinse, as positive and negative controls respectively. Two enamel specimens from unerupted human third molar teeth were placed in the palatal area of upper removable acrylic appliances which were worn from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday for three weeks. Rinses were used 2x daily and 250 ml volumes of orange juice were imbibed 4x daily. Enamel loss was determined by profilometry on days 5, 10 and 15. The study in vitro involved immersing specimens in the 4 test solutions together with a reduced acid ASC formulation for a period of 4 h under constant stirring; Enamel loss was measured by profilometry every hour.
RESULTS: Enamel loss was in situ progressive over time with the 3 rinses and orange juice but negligible with water. ASC produced similar erosion to orange juice and significantly more than the two proprietary rinses and water. The essential oil and hexetidine rinses produced similar erosion and significantly more than water. Enamel loss in vitro was progressive over time, and the order from low to high erosion was reduced acid ASC, essential oil, and hexetidine mouthrinses and orange juice.
CONCLUSION: Based on the study in situ, it is recommended that low pH mouthrinses should not be considered for long term or continuous use and never as pre-brushing rinses. In view of the plaque inhibitory efficacy of ASC, short- to medium-term applications similar to those of chlorhexidine would be envisaged.