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Yep, this was news to us too.

Any decent exercise plan worth its salt should leave no stone unturned, or no corner cut. If you are putting the necessary hours in the gym, watching your nutrition outside of it and just generally approaching life with a more mindful, health-conscious mindset then why should you do things that will set you back?

For some that comes in the shape of cheat meals, or a sneaky chocolate bar here and there (which we encourage, by the way) but there are some thing that you are doing which might be holding you back without your knowledge.

Using mouthwash is one of those things.

Bear with us. A recent study has outlined how antibacterial mouthwash can reduce the benefits of exercise. Physical exertion, or at least the type you do in the gym, is known to lower blood pressure but those effects are reduced when you use mouthwash instead of regular water after brushing your teeth.

Oral bacteria, the type that gets destroyed by mouthwash, plays an important role in heart health. The study, conducted by the University of Plymouth and the Centre of Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, asked participants to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes after which some of them were asked to use mouthwash, and others mint-flavoured water. The study found that those who rinsed with the mint water had a higher reduction in blood pressure than those who used mouthwash, with the blood-pressure lowering effect of the exercise diminished by as much as 60%.

“It’s like oral bacteria are the ‘key’ to opening up the blood vessels. If they are removed, nitrite can’t be produced and the vessels remain in their current state,” Craig Cutler, one of the authors of the study, said.

“The next step is to investigate in more detail the effect of exercise on the activity of oral bacteria and the composition of oral bacteria in individuals under high cardiovascular risk.”

So now you know.