Archive | June, 2014

17. Mouthwash Blues

7 Jun

In a recent visit to my dentist, we discussed a dark stain on my teeth. I was asked the usual questions: do you drink coffee or tea, smoke, etc. to which all answers were “no.” There was no further discussion and the solution given was more frequent cleanings. I decided to further investigate the underlying cause, myself.

I first went to the internet to determine a complete list of possible stains.
Then I examined everything that went into my mouth to see what might
fit. I looked at all relevant lists of ingredients for my usual foods, etc.

Then I listed requirements for the substance:
1. Frequent regular use.
2. Use (and the stain) started about two years ago
3. Must have an intense color
4. Must be in the mouth for a period of time !!

Only one thing matched all criteria: a blue-colored mouthwash. Mouthwash should always be suspect, because it is one of the few things that we purposely keep in our mouths for a long period of time.

This mouthwash lists a blue dye as an ingredient and is a deep blue in color. I ran some of this through a paper towel and it left a clear blue stain. And here is the ultimate betrayal. In very small print on the bottle, it says that it “can cause tooth stain”, but don’t worry about it because “the dentist can easily remove it.”

This liquid is supposed to be healthy, but its use can cause a lot of upset
to patient and practitioners. I think patients should be warned about dyes in mouthwash and should check labels for ingredients, particularly blue dye. As a final check, one can pour the mouthwash (or anything else) through a paper towel to see if it becomes stained.

I am amazed that none of the internet sites listed under “tooth stains” suggested mouthwash as a possible cause. However, if you search “mouthwash and tooth stains” you find numerous listings.