While whitening toothpastes have been all the rage for some time now, they're not the only product out there that cleans and brightens teeth. Specialty whitening mouthwashes can also do the trick, even as they loosen plaque and eliminate bad breath.
Effective mouthrinses have two things in common: They don't contain alcohol or synthetic chemicals, but they do oxygenate the palate. Here's why these things are important.
If you think about a common, non-specialty mouthwash, you'll probably envision one that has a bright color, uses alcohol and contains ingredients with huge chemical names. You may even have a rinse like this in your medicine cabinet. If so, it may be time to trade up. That's because alcohol and dyes don't whiten teeth or neutralize odor.
Alcohol dries out the mouth, which, if anything, allows bacteria to grow back faster than they would otherwise. And synthetic ingredients do little more than irritate your mouth. For instance, triclosan, an antibacterial, is also a pesticide. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical found in cheap products, is a detergent. FD&C Blue No. 2, which gives non-specialty rinses their brilliant hue, doubles as a staining agent for dyeing jeans.
By contrast, specialty whitening mouthwashes use all-natural, organic ingredients to oxygenate the mouth, loosen plaque buildup and reduce the yellow tinge in tooth enamel.
Proof can be found in a presentation given at the General Session and Exhibition of the International and American Association for Dental Research. In it, a team of UK researchers recounted getting volunteers to use a specialty whitening mouthwash. Those who did had noticeably whiter teeth. The scientists noted that such products create a side-by-side effect, by both minimizing yellowness and increasing whiteness, even as they kill bacteria and odor.
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