Benefits of Using Mouthwash
At District Dental, Dr. King and his team’s goal is to help you brighten your smile while maintaining or improving your oral health in our welcoming and comfortable dental clinic in North Vancouver.
Our professional dental staff and orthodontic equipment combine to offer a wide range of dental services to meet your needs and the needs of your family including veneers, crowns and implants; bonding and porcelain fillings; inlays and onlays; teeth whitening and Invisalign®; and endodontic therapy. We also get asked about oral health care and products - like mouthwash – and their benefits and risks.
However, mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. Mouthwash is usually considered an addition and can be an effective tool in the fight against tooth decay, gingivitis as well as the promotion of healthy teeth and gums when used appropriately and for the right reasons. Here are just a couple benefits from adding mouthwash to your oral health routine:
- Fresh breath - mouthwash can temporarily reduce bad breath by killing the bacteria in your mouth associated with causing bad breath.
- Plaque build-up – it prevents the buildup of plaque, but it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists on your teeth.
- Removes particles - mouthwash can also be used before brushing to rinse out any loose particles in your mouth, making brushing and flossing more effective. Mouthwash is also a good cleansing product for mouthguard too.
- Prevention - regular use of mouthwash before and after you brush and floss can reduce the chances of cavities forming and help keep gum inflammation at bay. Mouthwash that contains fluoride can prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel.
Mouthwash is at is most effective when in contact with your mouth tissues for 30 seconds per use, and should be used as directed by the manufacturer. It’s important to talk with your dentist about the use of mouthwash and find a strategy that works for you because not all mouthwash is created equal. Mouthwash can be classified as cosmetic or therapeutic:
- Rinsing with a cosmetic mouthwash will loosen bits of food from your teeth, lessen bacteria in your mouth, temporarily reduce bad breath and leave a refreshing taste in your mouth – nothing more.
- Therapeutic rinses contain additional active ingredients such as essential oils, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride and fluoride, which have been proven to reduce plaque or fight cavities. They may have a seal of recognition from the Canadian Dental Association.
One concern is that many types of mouthwash contain a high amount of alcohol. This can cause a dry mouth, which ironically is a cause of bad breath and irritates oral tissues. Alcohol-free mouthwash is available, but other ingredients can cause side effects too like stained teeth or cause a burning sensation. Chlorhexidine can temporarily alter your sense of taste and isn’t recommended for long-term use. Mouthwash is not meant to be ingested (swallowed) and is not usually recommended for young children. Also, if the source of your bad breath is health-related, or from another source like garlic released from your lungs as you exhale, freshening your mouth won’t help for long.