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Name: Linaya
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: AZ
Country: United States
Date: October 2006


Question:
Is mouthwash effective in killing bad bacteria



Replies:
Linaya,

Yes, most mouthwashs are effective in killing bacteria, as long as they are antiseptic. Antiseptic mouthwashes contain about 20% or more alcohol (ethanol, ethyl alcohol, etc). The definition of antiseptic is to "make free from living bacteria or other microorganisms." (www.dictionary.com) Other ingredients help reduce plaque, but it is the ethanol that actually kills the bacteria by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipids. 70% Ethanol (30% water) is considered the most effective, though manufacturers wouldn't sell mouthwash with 70% ethanol due to its potential abuse by minors and/or others.

Matt Voss



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