Mouthwash benefits and important facts

Mouthwash is used for a variety of reasons: to help freshen your breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque, to prevent or reduce gingivitis, to reduce the speed that tartar or hardened plaque forms on your teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects.

Bust was is really in your mouth wash?

Basic ingredients can include water, alcohol, cleansing agents, flavoring ingredients and coloring agents. Active ingredients vary depending on the type of mouthwash, but they can be placed into four general groups:

Antimicrobial agents act directly on oral bacteria to help reduce plaque to decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath.

Fluoride helps reduce tiny lesions (tooth decay) on tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.

Astringent salts can serve as temporary deodorizers that mask bad breath.

Odor neutralizers act by chemically inactivating odor causing compounds.

What’s the difference between cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwashes?

Cosmetic mouthwash may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave the mouth with a pleasant taste. But they don’t deal with the causes of bad breath. They don’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath or chemically inactivate odor causing compounds. Also, none of the cosmetic mouthwashes helps reduce plaque, gingivitis or cavities.

Therapeutic mouthwash, on the other hand, can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath. They can fight the bacteria present in plaque.  Plaque bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. Plaque that is not removed with daily brushing and flossing can cause gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. If plaque is allowed to continue to accumulate, gingivitis can progress to advanced gum disease, called periodontitis, which only a dentist can treat. Plaque can also turn into tartar (or calculus), a hard substance that can only be removed during a professional cleaning. Some therapeutic mouthwashes contain agents that either fight bad breath bacteria or that chemically inactivate odor causing compounds. Therapeutic mouthwash that contain fluoride help prevent or reduce tooth decay.

Do you really need a mouthwash?

The short answer is yes, in some cases you do.  Your dentist can advise you whether you need a mouthwash depending on your oral health needs. Rinsing helps remove debris from the mouth. It can be done before or after brushing.

Your dentist may recommend, using a mouthwash with fluoride or antimicrobial agents as part of your daily oral hygiene routine. But remember a mouth wash is not a substitute for brushing or flossing

For people with difficulty brushing and flossing, a mouthwash helps provide additional protection against cavities and periodontal (gum) disease. Anti-cavity rinses with fluoride help protect tooth enamel. You may also be prescribed a special rinse if you have had periodontal surgery

Keven Peoples