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Is Mouthwash Good for You?

Some recent news on exercise is pretty hard to swallow. Research from the University of Plymouth in England showed that gargling with mouthwash inhibits the activity of bacteria commonly present in your mouth. While that alone might not seem like a big deal, it turns out that the bacteria are vital to the health benefits you get from exercise. As most people know, exercise can lower your blood pressure, but what no one really understands is why those benefits last long after you're done exercising. The researchers theorized that the microbiome of the mouth could be key. Essentially, the nitric oxide produced during exercise has a byproduct known as nitrate, which is turned into nitrite by mouth bacteria and re-absorbed by the body when we swallow saliva. Some of this nitrite is converted back into nitric oxide, and the researchers think that this helps to keep blood vessels dilated and blood pressure lowered.

By having participants use mouthwash, they effectively eliminated the ability of oral bacteria to synthesize nitrite. And as they had suspected, the loss of bacteria translated to the loss of the blood pressure-lowering benefits. In other words, using mouthwash after exercise is not a good idea. Lead researcher Raul Bescos said that while no one is saying you should stop using mouthwash, it is important to consider how different aspects of your lifestyle can affect one another. "The main message of this study is that we have to pay more attention to the oral conditions in order to get the maximum outcomes from exercise,” Bescos said.

More about mouthwash:

  • Bad breath can be caused by issues in the lungs or stomach, so mouthwash only masks the issue; it doesn't cure it.

  • There is no evidence showing a link between the alcohol in mouthwash and cancer of the pharynx or mouth.

  • While mouthwash might sting, it's important to gargle for at least 30 seconds to get the benefits.

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More Info: Gizmodo

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