Using mouthwash ‘could be undoing your efforts in the gym’

Lifestyle

Anti-bacterial mouthwash could be having an impact on more than just your oral health, according to a new study.

The research has some surprising results, specifically relating to mouthwash reducing one of the positive effects of exercise – lowered blood pressure.

Scientists from the UK and Spain led the experiment which asked 23 healthy adults to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes, on two separate occasions. Afterwards, they were then monitored for two hours.

Participants were asked to rinse their mouths with either mouthwash or a placebo at intervals – at one, 30, 60 and 90 minutes after exercise. Blood pressure was measured and saliva and blood samples were taken both before the workout and 120 minutes after.

Results found that those who had swilled the placebo, had an average reduction of blood pressure of minus 5.2 mmHg at one hour after exercise. Whereas those who rinsed with antibacterial mouthwash, blood pressure reduction was less, at minus 2 mmHg.

Despite doing the same exercise, the blood pressure of those who had used the anti-bacterial mouthwash declined less than those who didn’t.

Previous research has found that circulation in the body stays high (and blood pressure stays low) after exercise because of how bacteria interacts with a compound called nitrate.This nitrate can be absorbed in the salivary glands and once it’s swallowed it goes into the body’s circulation – helping to widen vessels and keep blood pressure low.

The job of mouthwash is to remove this bacteria, which plays a part in keeping blood pressure low.

Craig Cutler, co-author of the study, said: ‘It’s like oral bacteria are the ‘key’ to opening up the blood vessels. If they are removed, nitrite can’t be produced and the vessels remain in their current state.’

For those not biologically-clued up, it’s a lot to get your head around, but does make total sense.

So perhaps don’t give the mouthwash rinse a miss altogether, but do avoid it post-workout.