Multipurpose Mouthwash

Not everyone can stomach the taste of mouthwash, but if you can, it may be a good follow up to your daily brush and floss. Mouthwash is a mix of antiseptic and antibacterial agents, traditionally alcohol based, but more recently also available without alcohol content. Of course you are not meant to ingest it, in any case, just rinse your mouth with it.

‘Listerine’, the most commonly used brand name for mouthwash has an interesting history. It was named after Joseph Lister, who was an English surgeon in the 19th century, and, following in Louis Pasteur’s footsteps, a great proponent of sterilizing surgical tools. A great success for his patients, who developed fewer infections and lived longer than many of their contemporaries. Source:

Introduced into dental practice in 1895 as oral antiseptic, 20 years later it became available on the open market. Soon it will celebrate its 100 year anniversary. Because of it’s “sterilizing” components, mouthwash has found uses besides its first and foremost intended, the bacteria killing last rinse in your dental hygiene.

You can also:

  • Clean your toothbrush with it. Once a week, fill a cup with an inch of mouthwash and let your toothbrush soak. It will kill bacteria that may have accumulated.
  • Works as an emergency antiseptic for small cuts and abrasions.
  • Use it as a general household cleaner with deodorizing and as well as sterilizing propensities: for sinks, toilet bowl, or bathroom cracks and crevices where mold would tend to develop.
  • Due to its antiseptic propensities, can be used to fight the bacteria that cause acne. Dip a q-tip in mouthwash and gently swab affected skin areas.
  • Add to your laundry cycle to freshen laundry.

… and the list goes on. Some say, mouthwash is also a great mosquito repellant, but that remains open to discussion. In any case, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle handy, both because of its dental use as well as its more general versatility.



Dr. Mead is an educator in the dental field, as well as an experienced family dentist with his practice located in Purcell, Oklahoma.
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