Mouthwash works in several different ways to fight bad breath. One way is to reduce the number of anaerobic bacteria in a person's mouth. These bacteria produce the volatile sulfur compounds that are the actual cause of halitosis. In other words, the mouthwash kills the bad germs that cause bad breath.
Mouthwash can also be formulated to neutralize volatile sulfur compounds already formed. Finally, it can work by masking the bad breath with a stronger and pleasanter scent, like peppermint or cinnamon.
Chlorine dioxide is an active ingredient common to many OTC mouthwash products. It both reduces anaerobic bacteria and neutralizes volatile sulfur compounds. Chlorine dioxide come in regular and stable forms. Most manufacturers use stabilized chlorine dioxide for its superior staying power within a solution. When adding chlorine dioxide to a mouthwash solution, formulators need to be careful not to mix the ingredient with a flavoring agent like peppermint or spearmint. This is because chlorine dioxide reacts with organic compounds, including flavoring agents, which means that the additive will react with flavoring agents, if present, instead of fighting halitosis.
Another ingredient found in some popular mouthwash is zinc. This mineral works to neutralize volatile sulfur compounds. It is thought that zinc ions bind to the precursor compounds used by anaerobic bacteria to create volatile sulfur compounds, inhibiting their creation. «
Antiseptic mouthwashes, extremely popular with consumers today, do double duty, cleaning the breath and protecting the mouth. They work by killing off oral anaerobic bacteria. Their purpose is to help prevent cavities and gingivitis.
The active ingredients that can provide this action in OTC mouthwashes include alcohol, cetylpyridinium chloride, menthol, eucalyptol, thymol, and methyl salicylate.
Today mouthwashes endeavor to do a number of good things for your mouth as well as your breath. They are touted as preventing and fighting tartar, preventing and reducing plaque, and preventing and reducing gingivitis, as well as fighting bad breath.
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