Mouthwash as an Agent for Change

bottles of green Cool Mint Listerine


I’m a big fan of mouthwash. Not just any mouthwash, but specifically Listerine, the green color.

Now, I’m also a proponent of organic and natural stuff: we use Tom’s toothpaste (though it took my tastebuds more than a moment to get used to the change of taste), environmentally friendly detergents, try and shop locally as much as possible; all of that happy hippy crap.

However, since I was a young kid I’ve had issues with my mouth. I occasionally get white, circular sores inside of my cheeks, on my gums and tongue. I call them ulcers, some dentists have told me they’re called canker sores. Dentists and doctors alike have said they’re caused by stress. I get them often when times are tough, but also occasionally when everything seems good. I’ve been told that gargling with salt water would help. I’ve been pointed towards soothing remedies like Orajel. I’ve tried natural and organic and alcohol free mouthwash to get rid of them. All of the professionals tell me that it’s a virus and this particular, non-contagious but painful—and more importantly, annoying as hell—virus cannot be killed by these methods, or any others, though.

Except green Listerine. Why am I discussing this on a website that’s all about travel?

Well, it’s not that Listerine alone gets rid of them. On its own, it does nothing. Penniless drunks drink it, but you can’t get drunk from it; that is, it’s not exactly a massive dose of alcohol. It’s power doesn’t lie in its natural state. In order for Listerine to work, to clean my mouth of all the cumulative grime from a day’s worth of eating, drinking and smoking, it needs something else.

Movement. Once you begin to gargle Listerine, it changes from a nasty tasting green liquid into a badass killer of all things foul. Like a guitar string, like a freight train, like a bullet, it is powerless without movement. But once set in motion, it has the ability to overcome what decades worth of doctors, dentists and old wives’ tales couldn’t.

I believe this translates to so many aspects of our lives. Keep moving, you won’t get fat. A car can’t just sit for years and be expected to start right up, you need to keep the parts moving or they rust and warp. Dogs need to be walked. Children need playtime. A baseball needs to be thrown. When we make a motion out of ourselves, we become more than human, more than what our mere flesh and blood entails. We become alive, truly and fully in this world and whether we ever make it onto television or win awards or find recognition, we become a piece of history, a change in the world.

Listerine is not sold as a store brand. It doesn’t need to hide behind a perception of affordability or “just average”. It simply waits patiently for its moment to shine, and then burns like a forest fire come the time. Put a little motion in your life and watch the transformation that dominoes from it all.