Mouthwash shouldn’t be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing, but adding mouthwash to your oral care routine can help you to have better breath and to prevent or reduce some oral problems. Not all mouthwashes are the same, though, some are better than others at actually helping to address issues. Your dentist can provide advice for the best mouthwash to use if you have questions.
Freshening Bad Breath
Most mouthwash helps to freshen bad breath, but some may do a better job than others. Cosmetic rinses only mask odors and leave you with a pleasant taste; they don’t address the underlying reasons for bad breath. These are not particularly helpful in oral care, but can help to get rid of bad breath after a meal when you don’t have time to brush or floss. Simply swishing liquid in the mouth can also help to remove some debris, which is better than leaving it on the teeth.
Therapeutic mouthwashes help to reduce plaque, even plaque that is left behind after brushing and flossing. This can truly be beneficial for oral care, as the bacteria present in plaque can cause gum disease and a number of other oral maladies if not removed completely. By getting rid of this bacteria and plaque in the mouth, bad breath naturally goes away, as well. These mouthwashes may be identified as antibacterial or may specify that plaque is killed.
Mouthwash with fluoride prevents cavities. If the water in your area is not fluoridated or if you are particularly prone to cavities, it may be helpful to regularly rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Fluoride strengthens the enamel of the teeth, so they are more resistant to decay. Fluoride mouthwash can be purchased over the counter, but the dentist may recommend a higher strength prescription fluoride rinse if the enamel on your teeth is notably weak.
It is important to completely spit out fluoride after rinsing, as high doses can potentially be harmful. For this reason, fluoride mouthwashes should also be kept out of reach of children and not administered to children under the age of six that may swallow the rinse.
Treating Existing Conditions
A study done by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that patients that used an antiseptic mouthwash saw improvements in gingivitis and issues like bleeding from the gums over patients that used a placebo mouthwash. Plaque was reduced, as well, which could help to manage existing conditions better than brushing and flossing alone.
Ask your Orlando dentist if using mouthwash would be a good addition to your oral care routine.