A mouthwash is a solution with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, used for home oral hygiene. It not only provides fresh breath and cleans the teeth from bacterial plaque, but it has therapeutical effect in gum problems or after tooth extraction.
Scientific evidences have shown that the first reference to mouth rinsing was in Chinese medicine, about 2700 BC, for treatment of gingivitis. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans have been practiced a regular oral hygiene with urine or solutions containing charcoal, fruits or dried flowers to clean their teeth and freshen their breath. In the Middle Ages a mint or a vinegar solution had been used.
Only at the end of the 19th century the first mouthwash with commercial designation appeared. Initially, its formula contained alcohol for stabilization, but in the 1960s of the 20th century the Danish professor Harald Loe discovered that the chemical antiseptic chlorhexidine effectively removed the plaque buildup on the teeth and thus destroyed the harmful microorganisms that caused most of the dental problems.
Nowadays, the market offers a wide variety of mouthwashes, even for sensitive teeth and gums, or for people preferring natural products. Its use is recommended not only for a better dental health, but also for a whiter smile. And for those who wear braces the mouthwash is more than needed.