Can Mouthwash Raise Blood Pressure?

by Susan Schachter January 29, 2020 2 min read

Can Mouthwash Raise Blood Pressure?

It's important to many of us to present ourselves well and put our "best foot forward". For many people, mouthwash is part of that package. While mouthwash has helped many of us achieve minty fresh breath without needing to brush your teeth, it isn't without a few side effects. 

Can Mouthwash Affect Your Blood Pressure?

Mouthwash has been found to have many benefits, but there are some side effects too. The most common one is dry mouth. Mouthwash can also affect blood pressure in certain people. 

It’s not a well-known fact, but most brands of commercial mouthwash kill the good bacteria along with the bad bacteria. When this happens, our body’s ability to relax our blood vessels is diminished. When our body’s ability to relax our blood vessels is diminished, it’s more difficult for our blood pressure to normalize.

Mouthwash is a mixture of water and alcohol that is used to clean the mouth. It also contains chemicals like chlorhexidine, which are used as antiseptics.

Mouthwash might not be well tolerated by those who have high blood pressure or other heart conditions like congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease because it can make these conditions worse.

So, while mouthwash might help give you fresher breath, your blood pressure could be affected because of it.

How Can Mouthwash Affect Blood Pressure?

There are good bacteria in our oral cavity that take the nitrate we eat from healthy foods (like beets etc.) as well as the nitrate that’s been sent to our salivary glands from our circulatory system, and they convert this nitrate into nitrite. This is the first step in a process that produces the vasodilator, Nitric Oxide (NO). Killing this good bacteria throws a wrench into this process. This has been shown in numerous studies, including one in 2012, in which both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in the morning and systolic higher at night.

So we need that good bacteria in our mouth for a crucial step in the process of creating a natural vasodilator to relax our blood vessels and help normalize our blood pressure.

That being said, still keep up with all of your efforts to put your best foot forward in every other regard. Make sure your clothes are pressed. Check your hair on your way out the door. Maybe pop a mint or two when you have bad breath.

But in putting your best foot forward, make sure to keep your good bacteria!

Here’s to your health!


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