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Mouthwash hiding serious health problems?

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Millions of Americans use mouthwash to treat bad breath, but one Austin dentist is warns that could only mask a more serious problem within your body.

Courtney Saxton is getting a routine dental checkup and there's one problem she wants to make sure she doesn't have.

"Bad breath is definitely a concern," said Saxton.

While Saxton says she has several remedies for dealing with bad breath, there's one product you won't find in her medicine cabinet.

"I wasn't really sure it was being effective any way and so I quit using mouthwash all together," she said.

While mouthwash might help to freshen your breath for a few minutes, Austin dentist Matthew Steinberg warns it could be covering up a bigger problem inside your body."

"Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers now that they've tied to oral bacteria," said Steinberg.

Steinberg warns the oral bacteria in your mouth gets into your blood stream and circulates throughout your body. Too much of a bad bacteria can lead to bad breath and health problems and he says over the counter mouthwashes won't kill the culprit.

"The mouthwash will flush over it. It will not get in the areas where the bacteria are that can cause the bad breath, he said, "So it's just a patch. It's like a band aid."

If bad breath is problem, Steinberg recommends good brushing and flossing, an  oral exam by a dentist and mouthwash that contains antioxidants which can be more expensive, but may save you from a few aches and pains later on.

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