While mouthwash is not a replacement for daily brushing and flossing, it is an important addition to an oral health routine. Mouthwash is an oral rinse used to cleanse the gums, teeth, and mouth. It also helps produce fresh breath, fight tooth decay, and prevent cavities. Some antiseptic-mouthwashes also contain fluoride which can remineralize your teeth.
While there’s no better way to start the day than with fresh breath, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding mouthwashes and whether they are truly beneficial to your oral health. Learn more about mouthwashes, the pros and cons of these products, and how to use mouthwash properly.
What Exactly Is Mouthwash and Why You Use It for Oral Health?
Mouthwash is a liquid that is held, swished, and/or gargled in the mouth. It is often used after brushing and flossing as a way to freshen breath and remove any leftover debris from the mouth. Many types of mouthwashes also deliver germ-killing, anti-cavity, and plaque-prevention benefits.
The most common type of mouth is antiseptic mouthwash. However, there are also types on the market, such as alcohol-free products, mouthwashes containing natural ingredients, and products specifically formulated for certain oral health problems, such as canker sores.
Mouthwash can be further targeted into two categories: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash is often used to control bad breath and produce a pleasant taste in the mouth. However, these are only temporary benefits. Therapeutic mouthwashes, on the other hand, contain active ingredients designed to reduce or control certain oral health conditions, such as bad breath, plaque, gingivitis, or tooth decay.
Pros and Cons of Mouthwash for Help with Oral Health
Mouthwash can have a number of benefits, as well as a few downsides. Here’s a look at some pros and cons.
- It freshens your breath. Having fresh breath can be a major confidence booster, especially in your relationships and social life.
- It helps fight cavities. Mouthwash can help kill the harmful bacteria in the mouth responsible for tooth decay. If it contains fluoride, it can give you extra protection against cavities, while simultaneously strengthening your teeth.
- It can keep the gums healthy. Mouthwash helps wash away bacteria in the mouth, meaning these bacteria around the gums are less likely to cause inflammation and gum disease.
- It can help whiten teeth. Some types of mouthwash contain whitening agents that help remove stubborn stains from the teeth.
- It soothes canker sores. Mouth ulcers, otherwise known as canker sores, are painful sores that form in the mouth. Using a non-alcohol-based mouthwash can help speed up the healing of these sores by eliminating bacteria in the mouth.
- It can cause irritation. Those with high concentrations of alcohol, can irritate the delicate tissues in the mouth.
- It can cause dry mouth. Regular use of a mouthwash containing alcohol can dry out the mouth. Chronic dry mouth can lead to bad breath, tooth sensitivity, and sometimes even cavities.
- It can be unsafe for children. If the whole family uses mouthwash, it’s important to supervise. Young children may accidentally consume mouthwash which can contain ingredients that are harmful when swallowed.
- It can hide oral health issues. Mouthwash can sometimes mask potential oral health problems, such as chronic halitosis or bad breath.
How Do I Properly Use Mouthwash for Oral Care?
Using mouthwash seems easy enough but not everyone does it correctly. Here are some quick steps to properly reap the most benefits.
1. Pour approximately 4 teaspoons into a cup.
2. Pour the contents of the cup into your mouth. Do not swallow and do not dilute the solution with water.
3. Swish in your mouth for approximately 30 seconds.
5. Spit into the sink. There is no need to rinse your mouth with water afterward.
If you have concerns about managing chronic bad breath or if you want to find out the best type of mouthwash for you, speak with your Melbourne Florida dentist. Reach out to the friendly dental team at Artistic Touch Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.