Commercials & marketings on TV and shelves at your local drug store are full of promotions that advertise the necessary benefits of mouthwash, yet your dentist has never told you that you “should” be using it. This often leaves people wondering whether mouthwash is a necessary component of their oral health routine. With all of the benefits that mouthwash brands promote, should you have it on your bathroom counter?
It is essential to state that rinsing the mouth with mouthwash cannot take the place of flossing and brushing your teeth on a daily basis. No benefit of mouthwash can replace the cleaning that daily flossing and brushing the teeth twice a day can offer.
In addition to freshening your breath, it promotes better oral health. If you read the label, you’ll discover that mouthwash is a multi-tasker that whitens your teeth, removes plaque and fights gum disease. However, are all these claims true? Is mouthwash good for you? Read below.
Advantages of mouthwash
1. Fights off cavities: If your mouthwash contains fluoride, it can help reduce cavities. This is because fluoride helps to reduce the cavitation and demineralization of your teeth. Fluoride rinse mouthwash usually contains about 0.05 percent of Sodium Fluoride, which is enough to provide protection against tooth decay.
2. Prevent gum disease: An antiseptic or anti-plaque mouthwash can help inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause periodontal diseases such as gingivitis. The active ingredients in these antibacterial mouth rinses include chlorhexidine, triclosan, and thymol.
3. Safeguard your pregnancy: This advantage is linked to the antibacterial properties of your mouthwash. The bacteria from periodontal diseases such as periodontitis can get into the pregnant woman’s bloodstream and increase inflammatory markers. This can stimulate contractions, resulting in preterm labor. A study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that pregnant women who used antibacterial mouthwash throughout their pregnancy were less likely to go into preterm labor.
4. Teeth whitening: There are specific mouth rinses that can give you a brighter and whiter smile. These rinses usually contain bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide that remove stains and whiten teeth over time.
5. Reducing sensitivity: If you have sensitive teeth, you can use mouth rinses that contain Arginine. This ingredient helps to seal dentinal tubules in the sensitive sites. However, it is always better to consult with your dentist before using any desensitizing mouthwash.
6. Soothe mouth ulcers: If you have any canker sores or mouth ulcers, mouthwash can detox the area. This reduces the bacteria that can irritate the site. Rinsing your mouth with salt water is also effective for soothing canker sores.
Disadvantages of mouthwash
There are a few disadvantages to consider when using a mouth rinse. It is important to note that most of these disadvantages are a result of oral rinses that contain alcohol.
1. It has been linked to oral cancer: There is a raging debate over whether mouthwashes that contain alcohol can cause oral cancer. Though these mouth rinses can reduce lots of oral diseases, it is better to talk to your dentist before using any oral rinses that contain alcohol.
2. Increase the sensitivity of your teeth: The alcohol in mouth rinses can dissolve the mucus layer. This leaves your teeth vulnerable and increases their sensitivity.
3. Irritates canker sores: If the alcohol level in the mouth rinse is too high, it can irritate ulcers and canker sores in your mouth.
4. Masks bad breath: If you do not practice proper hygiene like regular brushing and flossing, the mouth rinse will simply mask the bad smell. In fact, using an oral rinse without brushing your teeth is equivalent to using cologne instead of taking a bath.
5. Reduces the benefits of toothpaste: If you use your mouthwash immediately after brushing your teeth, it could rinse out the fluoride and reduce the benefits of using toothpaste. Furthermore, the chemicals in your mouth rinse and the chemicals in your toothpaste could interact and cancel out the benefits of each other. Dentists recommend using an oral rinse at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth.
Mouthwash boosts your oral health and gives your breath a makeover. However, it is better to use an alcohol-free mouth rinse as most of the disadvantages associated with mouthwashes are due to high alcohol content.
While it is not considered to be a necessary component of oral health, there are benefits of adding it to your normal routine. Dr.Miski, can assess your case and can help you to choose the best mouthwash for your oral health if needed.