Antimicrobial Mouth Wash

Oct 24, 2019

Our microbiome supports us in strange and mysterious ways. Did you know that bacteria found in the mouth are vitally important in reducing high blood pressure via exercise? A recent study revealed that the health benefits of exercise in reducing high blood pressure were completely negated if a person used anti-bacterial mouth wash before working out (you can read the study here). This is because the oral bacteria produce a substance that when swallowed supports open blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

So how does this work? During exercise, blood vessels open up due to the production of nitric oxide which causes the blood vessels to dilate providing more blood flow to muscles. Nitric oxide is broken down into nitrate which is inactive but is absorbed by the salivary glands. When they secrete nitrate, the oral bacteria convert it into nitrite, which when swallowed again becomes nitric oxide and this continues to keep the blood vessels open. Anti-bacterial mouth wash effectively stops this recycling process by destroying the bacteria involved.

The bacteria that live in us support us in so many subtle and not so subtle ways. The multibillion dollar hygiene industry would have us believe that bacteria are all bad and must be destroyed with anti-microbial soaps (i.e. Purell), mouth rinses (i.e. Listerine) and deodorants (i.e. Sure). I’m highlighting this study on my blog in the hopes that this knowledge will make us pause and think about our choices when it comes to trying to eradicate something that may actually be supporting our overall health and wellbeing. I personally do not use nor recommend antibacterial products.