HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED if mouthwash is actually a necessary part of your dental hygiene routine? If you’d like to use mouthwash as a part of your daily oral care, it’s important to know what it is and what it does.

What Purpose Does Mouthwash Serve?

We learn at a very early age that daily brushing and flossing are necessary habits to clean our teeth and care for our gums. But you may begin to wonder: “What more can mouthwash do for me?”

Mouthwashes are used for more reasons than you may realize, some of those being:

  • to freshen breath
  • help prevent or control tooth decay
  • reduce plaque
  • prevent or reduce gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease)
  • reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth

Lynn Hutchinson Answers Some Commonly Asked Questions!

Our expert, Gravesend dentist Lynn, is here to tell us all about mouthwash and how it can prove to be helpful in our daily oral hygiene routines!

Are there different types of mouthwashes that serve different purposes?

Mouthwashes can be grouped under three main types: antiseptic, plaque-inhibiting, and preventive. Many will have overlaps in their effectiveness.
Antiseptics mouthwashes are used treat specific conditions. Plaque-inhibiting mouthwashes mouthwashes help to reduce gum disease and tooth decay. Preventative mouthwashes are the most commonly used and can help to prevent tooth decay.

What’s the difference between cosmetic and antiseptic mouth rinses?

Antiseptic mouthwashes are usually only meant for short term use. Plaque-inhibiting and preventative mouthwashes can be used routinely.

Who needs to use mouthwash on a regular basis?

Everyone can benefit from a mouthwash. For those that have gingivitis it is especially useful. If you have bad breath it can also help.

What conditions warrant a prescribed mouthwash?

Some times following surgery your dentist might prescribe a mouthwash. They can also be suggested when an area in the mouth is difficult to clean properly, for oral ulceration and erosive gum conditions. Special versions of preventative mouthwashes may be prescribed to patients with lots of cavities.

Should I brush, floss, or rinse first?

Some people suggest to rinse first to help remove food particles. As long as you are brushing and flossing properly it doesn’t matter if you rinse before or after though mouthwashes can rinse away fluoride if used after brushing. Always follow the instructions on the bottle.

How does a mouthwash get the British Dental Health Foundation seal of approval?

Only products that are clinically proven to work get the British Dental Health Foundation seal of approval. The BDHF evaluates oral health care products to ensure that product claims are clinically proven and not exaggerated.

What ingredients are commonly found in mouthwashes?

Most mouthwashes will contain fluoride, antimicrobials and essential oils. Antiseptic mouthwashes generally will contain chlorhexidine (0.2%) though you can get weaker concentrations.

We’re Here To Help You Improve Your Oral Health Care Routine!

One of the most important things to remember is that rinsing your mouth with mouthwash does not replace daily brushing and flossing! Mouthwash is meant to act as an aid to brushing and flossing, helping to freshen breath and fight bacteria. If you have any more questions about mouthwash, let us know!

Top image by Flickr user jchwhite used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health care professionals with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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