Vegetables Rich In Mouthwash or hogwash? + Nitrates Protect Stomach

By | November 20, 2008

Vegetables Rich In Mouthwash or hogwash? + Nitrates Protect StomachMouthwash may be harmful and may cause bad breath. The alcohol in mouthwash may dry out your mouth, causing tissue damage and increasing your risk of cancer. To protect your stomach, eat nitrate-rich vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, radishes and beetroot.

Dr Philip Stemmer, a dentist who runs the Fresh Breath Centre in London, says that “no mouthwash is a cure for bad breath” – and that “anything that dries the mouth, including alcohol, has the potential to contribute to odours”. – timesonline

Why could alcohol be bad for breath? “It’s well known that alcohol is a drying agent,” says Matt Doyle, a senior scientist for Procter & Gamble, manufacturer of alcohol-free Crest Pro-Health and alcohol-containing Scope. “If you dry out the tissues, the smelly compounds that the bacteria produce are no longer naturally washed away, and you get a pungent experience.” Dr. Harold Katz, a dentist who makes alcohol-free TheraBreath mouthwash, agrees: “The drier your mouth, the less saliva you have, which is nature’s way of keeping your breath fresh.” – newsweek

So  how do you get healthy fresh breath?

Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom are all good for fighting bad breath,” says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, who has lectured on oral health. You can chew on fresh herbs or make tonics by steeping them in hot water (as a tea). … a serving of yogurt each day reduces the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Apparently it also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth—plaque and gum disease were reduced in the study’s yogurt eaters as well. … Apples, carrots, celery—basically any fiber-rich fruit or vegetable is your friend when it comes to fighting halitosis … Eating berries, citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C-rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. A diet rich in vitamin C is also is important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis—both major causes of halitosis. – msn

Waking up with the unpleasant hum of dog breath is far from uncommon. Whether it is the after-effects of a curry, or a more lingering problem of sewer-scented oral odour, around 95 per cent of Britons suffer bad breath at some time in their lives. Such is the social embarrassment that £350 million a year is spent on products that promise to sweeten breath. But is it money well spent? An increasing number of medical experts think not, with some going as far as to caution that swilling with a mouthwash can cause more problems than it purports to cure.

Central to the debate about the efficacy of mouthwashes is that many contain exceptionally high levels of alcohol. Some varieties – such as the UK’s bestselling brand Listerine – contain 26.9 per cent alcohol, double the amount in wine and more than five times that in beer. It is not just that the alcohol in these products is risky to young children who might get hold of them. According to some critics, it may also render a mouthwash useless. Alcohol can dry out the mouth by drawing moisture from the tissues and slowing the flow of saliva. With limited saliva to flush away or dilute bacteria, it is suggested that rinses that contain alcohol cause germs to become more, not less, concentrated in the mouth – making smelly breath possibly worse.

Dr Philip Stemmer, a dentist who runs the Fresh Breath Centre in London, says that “no mouthwash is a cure for bad breath” – and that “anything that dries the mouth, including alcohol, has the potential to contribute to odours”. …

Unsurprisingly, the manufacturers of Listerine, Johnson & Johnson, dismiss as poppycock suggestions that its product dries out the mouth. The company claims that more than 30 studies have proven Listerine’s effectiveness and points in particular, to one conducted at the State University of New York which showed that even when people with already dry mouths used Listerine three times a day, it didn’t make their mouths any drier.

“It is a matter of opinion as to whether alcohol in mouthwashes is a drying agent,” says James Walmsley, medical director of Johnson & Johnson UK. “We don’t believe that it is and have evidence to prove that and any mouthwash increases, rather than decreases, salivary rate.”

Alcohol is added not to kill germs, say Johnson & Johnson’s representatives, but to act as a carrier for the essential oils menthol, eucalyptol, methyl salicylate and thymol that are the active ingredients in the mouthwash.

“It is there to dissolve these four essential oils,” explains Dr Roberto Labella, associate director of professional and clinical affairs for Johnson & Johnson UK. “Without alcohol, Listerine would lose the efficacy that has been proven in multiple scientific studies and trials and the active ingredients would not penetrate plaque as efficiently.”

Stemmer disagrees, arguing that “there is absolutely no need to put alcohol in a mouthwash and there are effective products out there that contain none”.  … – timesonline

According to an Uppsala University press release, a Swedish researcher from the university’s Department of Medical Cell Biology, Joel Petersson, believes that vegetables that are rich in nitrates can protect the stomach from damage. He feels that nitrate-rich vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, radishes and beetroot have a beneficial effect on the stomach by setting its mucous membranes’ own protective enzymes into motion, thereby reducing the risk of gastric ulcers. Nitrates are first transformed into nitrites in the oral cavity and then are converted into biologically active nitric oxide in the stomach.

“Nitrates in food have long been erroneously linked to an increased risk of cancer,” states Petersson. Note that the press release does not advise people to eat processed meats that have been cured with nitrates like bacon and ham. He believes that his research demonstrates the importance of fruits and vegetables, which contain naturally-occurring nitrates, in the diet. “If we followed the National Swedish Food Administration’s recommendation and ate 500 g of fruit and vegetables per person per day,” says Petersson, “it would definitely be better for our stomachs.”

Petersson also believes that eating nitrate-rich vegetables will reduce one’s risk of gastric ulcers. According to statistics published at, about one in three adults is infected with H. pylori, and one in ten adults will develop a peptic ulcer. Eighty to ninety percent of ulcers are caused by an H. pylori infection. also reports that H. pylori is contagious and is a class one carcinogen. (Even if an H. pylori-infected patient is treated with antibiotics, the patient could become re-infected if exposed to the bacterium through H. pylori-infected saliva.) …

Another conclusion from Petersson’s study is that antibacterial mouthwashes can kill the important bacteria that normally convert nitrates into nitrites. He performed a study with rats, where one group was given nitrate-rich feed, and the other group was given nitrate-rich feed with an oral antibacterial spray. Anti-inflammatory drugs were administered to both groups of the rats, but only the group which received the oral spray experienced damage to their mucous membranes.

There are several important messages from this research. First of all, eating nitrate-rich vegetables may help to protect the stomach and prevent gastric ulcers, as well as mitigate the damage from the ingestion of anti-inflammatory drugs. Secondly, the use of antibacterial mouthwashes is harmful to the stomach. Since the health of one’s digestive system is very important to overall health and digestive diseases account for more hospitalizations of Americans than any other type of illness according to an article posted at Northwestern Health Sciences University, it may be wise to heed Petersson’s advice. – sugars4life, natnews

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