Your chance of getting heart attacks and having strokes goes up if you use antiseptic mouthwash as it increases blood pressure, claims a new study, carried out by Queen Mary University in London.
The study, led by Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, found that within one day, or even hours, blood pressure increased by between 2 and 3.5 units. A group of volunteers used brand Corsodyl twice a day.
Corsodyl contains 0.2 per cent of antiseptic chlorhexidine, which kills "good" bacteria that help in formation of nitrite. Nitrite helps keep blood vessels dilated or enlarged.
Scientists called antiseptic mouthwash a 'health disaster' and Professor Ahluwalia said it should be used only if suffering from tooth or gum infection and not otherwise.
Nitrite production in mouth and blood nitrite levels fell by over 90 per cent and 25 per cent respectively after use of such mouthwash as it killed the good bacteria. But many mouthwashes, including Listerine, do not contain chlorhexidine.
But Professor Ahluwalia said, "Other mouthwashes could still disrupt the healthy bacteria." Even a two point raise in blood pressure poses danger as it increases the chances of dying from stroke by 10 per cent and heart disease by 7 per cent.
Professor Ahluwalia said, "Small rises in blood pressure have significant impact on morbidity and mortality from heart disease and stroke."
However, the dental profession and GlaxoSmithKline, who make Corsodyl, say the conclusion was drawn from a very small study. In Britain, over half of adult population use mouthwash daily.
The study was published in journal Free Radical Biology And Medicine.