Should I use Mouthwash?
Mouthwash is known to help freshen breath, reduce plaque and gingivitis, fight tooth decay, and help prevent cavities. But are there disadvantages to using mouthwash, as well? There are many factors to consider when deciding whether you should include mouthwash in your daily dental hygiene routine.
Types of Mouthwash
There are dozens of mouthwash products available to consumers, all with various benefits. Different types of mouthwash include:
Fluoride: This type of mouthwash helps prevent cavities and fights tooth decay, but if you are already using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, also using a mouthwash that has fluoride can put you over the recommended daily limit.
Antiseptic: Antiseptic mouthwashes contain alcohol and are used to stop bacteria from growing. It is ideal for those with mouth infections but can also help fight bad breath (halitosis). Be warned that it can discolor your teeth if overused.
Cosmetic: Cosmetic mouthwash provides a holistic approach, as these products are alcohol-free and contain safer ingredients compared to those found in other mouthwashes.
Natural: Natural mouthwash provides a holistic approach, as these products are alcohol-free and contain safer ingredients compared to those found in other mouthwashes.
Dry Mouth: If you suffer from dry mouth, you can find special mouthwashes that keep your mouth moist and protect against tooth decay.
Breath Spray: Much like cosmetic mouthwashes, breath sprays only provide a temporary cover-up of bad breath and, in most cases, include ingredients that are bad for your teeth.
Benefits of Using Mouthwash
If you choose to add mouthwash to your daily routine, it should be the "Cherry on Top", so to speak. Brushing and flossing are still the best ways to maintain your oral health, as they are the only way to completely remove plaque and other particles. If used correctly, a good mouthwash can amp up your oral health. Here are 3 of the main benefits of using mouthwash:
Helps fight cavities - Fluoride mouthwashes are a great way to reduce cavities as they help the demineralization of your teeth. The liquid also flows around and between your teeth, helping flush any remaining debris left behind that could stay in your mouth, eventually causing cavities.
Reduces harmful bacteria - Bacteria in your mouth can cause harm to your teeth and gums, but unfortunately, brushing does not remove bacteria. Using an antiseptic or anti-plaque mouthwash can help reduce the growth of bacteria that causes gingivitis and other gum diseases.
Helps freshen breath - Leftover food particles can fester in your mouth, leaving behind bacteria and causing unpleasant odors. Rinsing with mouthwash is a quick and easy way to rinse away those particles and provide instant relief for bad breath.
Drawbacks of Using Mouthwash
Despite the benefits of using mouthwash, there are also some cons to consider. It is important to note that the majority of the drawbacks are caused by mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
Irritation - If the alcohol content in your mouthwash is too high, it can irritate ulcers, canker sores, and other sensitive spots or open wounds inside your mouth, slowing the healing of these areas.
Linked to oral cancer - Some studies have shown that mouthwashes containing alcohol can harm the soft tissues within our mouths; this has been linked to oral cancer.
Masks bad breath - If you do not practice proper oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse will merely mask the unpleasant smell without actually getting rid of it. Similar to using cologne without showering.
The truth of the matter is that most people do not actually need mouthwash if they are faithfully brushing and flossing daily. Combine that with regular dental check-ups and cleanings, and your teeth and gums will remain healthy. If you do decide to include an oral rinse in your daily hygiene routine, however, ensure you are using a rinse that is alcohol-free to avoid most of the disadvantages.
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