Is Mouthwash Helpful?

Posted .

You already brush twice a day, floss every day, and you want to know–is there anything else you could be doing? Mouthwash (also called mouthrinse) can be a good addition to the oral health routine of some people, though it is not a substitute for brushing and interdental cleaning.

When used in addition to brushing and flossing, mouthwash can help prevent or control tooth decay, reduce cavities, fight gingivitis, reduce plaque build-up, and combat halitosis.

There are two kinds of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic. Therapeutic mouthwashes contain active ingredients that kill the bacteria causing cavities, plaque buildup, gum disease or gingivitis, and bad breath. Cosmetic mouthwashes may temporarily freshen breath, but they do not kill bacteria, and therefore do not help prevent cavities and other mouth diseases.

Mouthwash is intended for teens and adults; do not give mouthwash to children under 6 years of age. Never swallow large amounts of mouthwash, as it can lead to nausea, vomiting, or intoxication (due to the alcohol content of some rinses). Be aware that many types of mouthwash contain high amounts of alcohol. If you need to avoid alcohol, talk to your dentist for a non-alcohol option that is right for you.

Some have asked, “When is the best time to use mouthwash?”. The answer is, “It depends on the mouthwash.” There are mouthwashes designed for specific tasks, such as adding fluoride, killing bacteria, or freshening breath after brushing. Others are formulated to loosen plaque before brushing. Always read labels carefully and ask your dentist about your specific oral health needs.

Though certain therapeutic mouthwashes are prescription-only, many can be purchased over-the-counter. Be sure to look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on over-the-counter products!

Call Family Dental of Roscoe at 773-327-6500 today and talk to your dentist about which mouthwash is right for you!