Rinsing with mouthwash is usually done to get rid of bad breath, but this isn’t its only purpose. Some types of mouthwashes can also protect your teeth in certain ways. Learn more about different types of mouthwash and their pros and cons.
Mouthwashes are usually either designed for cosmetic use or therapeutic use. Cosmetic mouthwashes freshen bad breath for short periods of time, but they don’t provide any other dental benefits. Therapeutic products contain active ingredients, such as chlorhexidine or fluoride, which do offer benefits for oral health. Chlorhexidine helps reduce the effects of gingivitis, or gum inflammation, and plaque buildup, while fluoride lowers the risk of tooth decay. Some products also have peroxide, which serves as a teeth whitening ingredient. Cosmetic mouthwashes are available over-the-counter, while therapeutic products are available over-the-counter and with a prescription, depending on the ingredients they contain.
When to Use Mouthwash
Choosing the right mouthwash is key, but once you have the perfect one picked when are you actually supposed to use it? Often times people assume that mouthwash is to be used after brushing their teeth, but in reality is that really the best time to rinse? Using mouthwash before brushing can loosen up plaque and food particles in your mouth and can actually make your brushing and flossing more affective, much like rinsing your hair before you wash it. This can also help keep particles from sitting and causing potential cavity spots that a toothbrush can’t reach. Using mouthwash after brushing is the typical practice, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Rinsing after brushing gets out all the brushed off plaque and can keep your breath fresher longer. For those that want to go all out, using mouthwash before and after brushing is also an option, killing as much bacteria as possible. Ultimately, your mouthwash practices are up to you, there’s no right or wrong way.
Disadvantages of Using Mouthwashes
Although mouthwashes offer important benefits, they also have a few drawbacks. Some people with canker sores experience increased irritation when using mouthwashes that have a large amount of alcohol. While rinsing with mouthwashes can improve bad breath on a temporary basis, it doesn’t get rid of the underlying problem that causes it, such as improper oral care. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol have also been thought to increase the risk of oral cancer, but there is no evidence to support this claim. The American Dental Association has given mouthwashes with alcohol a Seal of Acceptance; this indicates that these products are safe to use.
Proper Mouthwash Use
If you use mouthwash, keep in mind that it should be used in addition to proper brushing and flossing. Mouthwashes aren’t meant to replace brushing and flossing. While these products can help reduce bacteria, only brushing, flossing and regular cleanings can effectively ensure that your teeth are as safe from these germs as possible. Rinsing doesn’t clear away bacteria in certain areas that are hard to reach, such as between the teeth.
Mouthwash can help cut down on bacteria and give you fresh breath, but it’s also important to have regular teeth cleanings done for optimal oral health. Contact Premier Dental Care to make an appointment, and remember to “like” us on Facebook to get the latest updates!