Why you should not use mouthwash after exercising

Lifestyle

Know what it means

Brushing and flossing are two important daily practices, essential to maintain oral hygiene. In the recent past, you might have witnessed a surge in the demand of the mouthwash, owing to its oral health benefits. Even dentists recommend that flossing with an antibacterial mouthwash can keep numerous dental issues like bad breath, cavity and bleeding at bay. But have you ever considered how the chemicals you are using to clean your mouth is affecting other micro-organisms present in your body.

What happens

As per a study, antibacterial mouthwash is not only limited to your mouth, but it can interfere with other functioning of your body.

The experiment carried out by the researchers from the UK and Spain, revealed that using mouthwash right after exercising can hinder the process of lowering your blood pressure, which is one of the health benefits of exercising regularly.

How are the two related?

While exercising, our body produces nitric oxide, which leads to the opening of blood vessels and an increase in its diameter. It helps to increase the flow of blood in different parts of the body, including the muscles activated during your workout session. It has been found that circulation of blood remains high (means blood pressure remains low) for sometime even after exercising. This happens because bacteria interact with a compound called nitrate.

Some bacteria present in our mouth uses this nitrate and converts it into nitrite, a molecule that can enhance the production of nitric oxide. When this nitric oxide is swallowed with saliva, it is absorbed by our blood vessels and turned back to nitric oxide, which helps lower the blood pressure.

However, when you use mouthwash immediately after exercising, all the good bacteria is flushed out of the mouth and people are not able to reap all the benefits of exercising regularly.

The study

The experiment was carried out on 23 healthy adults, who were made to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes. Post-workout, the participants were asked to rinse their mouth with either an antibacterial mouthwash or a mint-flavoured placebo. Apart from that, the researchers also recorded the blood pressure of the participants during the experiment, after the exercise, and during their rest period.

​The end result

In the end, it was found out that the blood pressure of people in the placebo group was –5.2 mmHg, while the blood pressure of the group that used mouthwash was –2.0 mmHg. So, next time do not use mouthwash immediately after your workout session.