Dirty Mouth: Effect of Mouthwash on Bacteria

Microbiology High School Science Fair Project
Photo © 2009 Flickr, Inha Leex Hale

Mouthwash is commonly used to rid the mouth of bad odor and germs. Ever wonder how successful it is at killing harmful bacteria in a person's mouth? Several types of bacteria are commonly found in the mouth, but high school student, Israt Hossain, decided to test the effectiveness of several products - fluoride rinses and antiseptic mouthwashes - on inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis

To complete this project, he chose to test six different mouthwashes, along with water as a control. The only other items he needed, besides the various products, were Petri dishes, agar, sterile paper disks, and a place to incubate the samples. Not only is this a good way to determine if products are actually doing what they say they're going to do, the results of this project could help both consumers and dental health care providers make better choices.