The evolution of mouthwash

Mouthwash is a fundamental part of our oral hygiene routine today, and it has been for centuries. However, the ingredients that make up our well-known mouthwashes today are quite different to traditional ingredients used as mouthwash around the world.

Mouthwashes are designed to have different purposes. Most are primarily to kill bacteria but some brands focus on fresh breath, teeth whitening etc. Let’s have a look at what weird and wonderful things our ansectors used and the evolution of mouthwash over time.


Romans were in fact the first to invent toothpaste and mouthwash and they used urine as their mouthwash! But before you think it’s too weird, the thought process behind this use was that urine contains ammonia which was known to aid disinfection. The emperor of Rome believed that urine was such an asset to the country that he placed a tax on the buying and selling of it.

The evolution of mouthwash


The Greek used a mixture of myrrh gum, milk, juice from olive leaves, pomegranates, wine and vinegar to lessen bad breath and disinfect the mouth.

The evolution of mouthwash


The Chinese used to crunch egg shells to maintain fresh breath and whiten their teeth.

The evolution of mouthwash


The German philosopher Saint Hildegard von Bingen suggested the use of pure cold water as a mouthwash to kill bacteria and prevent plaque build-up.

The evolution of mouthwash

Medieval Era

A solution made of mint and vinegar was believed to cure bad breath and germs.

1800’s – The introduction of Alcohol-based mouthwash

Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovered the presence of live organisms in the mouth and developed different solutions with ingredients such as brandy, vinegar etc. He found that alcohol was effective in killing the bacteria present. This finding led to the development of the first ever mouthwash, Odol.

The evolution of mouthwash

As you can see, we have definitely come a long way with the development of mouthwash, and its likely that we will continue to find more effective solutions to bad breath and oral hygiene over the years.

Make sure to use toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash as part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

Keep an eye out for the launch of Dentogen floss and Dentogen Gargle and Mouthwash! Coming soon and will be available to purchase at