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Have you ever wondered when mouthwash was invented? What did people use before the discovery of fluoride and other cleansing solutions? The use of oral rinses is a very old practice, dating back as far as the first century, the time of ancient Rome and Egypt.

In the earliest days of mouth rinses, people knew very little about bacteria and the causes of bad breath, so they used very potent ingredients to rinse out their mouths. These ingredients included urine, tortoise blood, goat milk and charcoal. Over time, civilizations switched to more palatable ingredients, such as olive juice and leaves, pomegranates and cold water.

The 1800s witnessed the birth of modern oral care, when inventors created the toothbrush, toothpaste and, of course, a more effective mouthwash. During this time, developers incorporated alcohol into their formulas and created a mouthwash very similar to what we use today.

Mouthwash recipes eventually adopted more effective bacteria-fighting ingredients, such as cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), fluoride, sodium hexametephosphate and hydrogen peroxide. Nowadays, mouthwash is available in a variety of flavors, brands and purposes. Companies have also begun developing gentle mouthwashes to avoid irritating sensitive mouths.

Over the years, companies have even split mouthwash into two categories: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath and leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth. It doesn’t address the causes of bad breath, such as plaque, gingivitis or cavities. Therapeutic mouthwash fights the bacteria that otherwise stays on the surface of the teeth and causes plaque, tooth decay and bad breath.

If you’re indecisive about selecting a mouthwash in West Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Peter T. Mathison can help you find a brand and style that best fits your needs and preferences. Call (701) 478-4500 to get in touch with us and receive your professional recommendation.