Does Mouthwash Discolour Teeth?

Updated at: Jul 29, 2011
Does Mouthwash Discolour Teeth?

Tooth Discoloration Causes and Risks - Mouthwashes that contain artificial sweetners and added colours actually discolour teeth. However, one can prevent tooth discolouration due to mouthwashes by diluting them with water before use.

Arshad Said Khan
Other DiseasesWritten by: Arshad Said KhanPublished at: Jul 29, 2011

Mouth washWe use mouthwash to maintain oral hygiene and we might be surprised how our best intentions can work against us. There are plenty of mouthwash bottles available in the market and it is our best interest to know which ones can cause our teeth to turn yellow to brown.


Firstly, we should know the nature of discolouration before we blame our mouthwash. We are born with white teeth as the enamel is thick. The inside of our tooth which is called dentine is darker in colour. As we age the enamel wears off and dentine starts to show through. Also, if there is collection of food debris and other chemicals the discolouration is mostly exterior. This can be removed by a dentist. However, if the chemicals have penetrated and discoloured the interior part then even bleaching is unlikely to re-whiten our teeth.


Mouthwashes with strong chemical content can cause such permanent damage. Alcohol is the most common ingredient and culprit. Medicated mouthwash may be necessary when you have acquired an oral infection such as tonsillitis. However those containing the likes of chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride are extremely abrasive and best avoided. The latter is used in even non-prescription mouthwash and is as ubiquitous as alcohol.


Furthermore, artificial sweeteners, added preservatives and strong colours like green and blue can add to the problem. Many fluoride based toothpastes can be extremely strong and when used ensemble with mouthwash may lead to yellowing of the teeth. For instance peroxide and sodium laureth sulphate in your toothpaste is problematic enough.


It’s not entirely impossible to compromise on your oral hygiene. There is no need to be alarmed and throw away your familiar bottle of green gargles. You can always dilute the solution with water to make it less severe. You are advised to read the label for possible harmful additives and consult a dentist about the best possible product available in the market. Do not depend on advertisements. Those are made in the best interest of the manufacturer and not the consumer. Instead seek professional help. With a little research you might even find a mouthwash that use non-abrasive ingredients like baking soda. In certain shops you might even find mouthwashes with real peppermint and aloe vera. These, however are bound to be expensive. If they do not come with preservatives they are extremely beneficial but will not have a long shelf life.


If all else fails there is always the dependable home-made solution of warm saline water. Make sure it’s not too hot and all the salt has been thoroughly dissolved lest you scald or scratch your mouth. Most dentists actually advise not to use mouthwash every day. A regular routine of brush and floss is enough to maintain a properly healthy mouth.


Read more articles on Tooth Discoloration Causes and Risks




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