Dangerously swallows Listerine

This keeps the oral flora healthy

Status: 04/04/2019 12:18 p.m. | archive

There's a lot going on in our mouths: more than 800 different bacteria live there. This so-called biofilm is important for our dental health and protects against diseases and infections.

If the composition of the biofilm is out of balance, i.e. if pathogenic germs get the upper hand, this can lead to tooth decay, inflammation of the gums or even periodontitis. Doctors cannot yet explain what exactly then happens in the mouth. The clearest sign is always bleeding from the gums, inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).

Bad breath can also be a sign of an unbalanced oral flora. Some bacteria not only cause inflammation, they also release sulfur compounds. This is how the unpleasant smell is created.

Mouthwashes only help for a short time

Those affected then often resort to mouthwashes. Rinses containing alcohol from the drugstore or the supermarket can only cover up bad breath for a short time, but not permanently. By the way: If you swallow something from such a mouthwash, it is uncomfortable, but not dangerous.

It is different with mouthwashes with chlorhexidine. These funds are only available in pharmacies. They kill all bacteria in the mouth: bad ones, but also good ones. Chlorhexidine leads to cell death in the long term by tearing holes in cell walls. The side effects are numerous:

  • The tongue and teeth can become discolored
  • increased tartar formation
  • Change in taste
  • Irritation (burning) of the lining of the mouth
  • Risk of fungus formation - especially on the tongue

Therefore, this mouthwash should only be used for a limited period of time as part of a dental treatment.

Professional cleaning by the dentist is important

If the oral flora is turned over, only professional teeth cleaning will help. It is particularly tricky when the pathogenic bacteria settle between the gums and the tooth - in the so-called pockets. Then the dentist has to go deep into the pocket and remove the plaque.

The best prevention: brush your teeth

The best prevention is actually the toothbrush - whether by hand or electrically. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and also cleaning the spaces between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss. If you still want to rinse, you should do so immediately afterwards. Many dentists also recommend that you have your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year.

Chamomile and Co: naturally strengthen the oral flora

You can support the oral flora with natural mouthwashes made from chamomile, sorrel, thyme, ribwort, sage or marigold. The extract of the plants is available in the pharmacy. Dissolve a few drops in water - the natural mouthwash is ready.

Proper nutrition can also help: many foods such as ginger, onions, garlic, broccoli, tomatoes, sesame or chilli strengthen our whole body against inflammation - and thus the mouth as well. Because: Our oral flora is always a mirror of our own health. If the mouth is fine, we are fine.

Experts on the subject

Dr. Friedrich Mauss, dentist and periodontist
Winterhuder Weg 76a
22085 Hamburg
(040) 227 95 05

Prof. Thomas Beikler
Clinic Director
Specialist dentist for periodontics
Center for Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine (ZMK)
Polyclinic for Periodontology, Preventive Dentistry and Tooth Preservation
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg
(040) 741 05 22 82

This topic in the program:

Visit | 04/09/2019 | 8:15 pm