To rinse or not to rinse is a dilemma that people have faced over the years. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ads and product sponsorship that laud the benefits of mouthwash. As if that is not enough, there are several mouth rinse products on the health sections of pharmacies and local stores, all promising to freshen your breath and protect your teeth. All these may leave you asking yourself if you should use mouthwash.
Mouthwashes have had their share of controversy and the jury, on whether they should be an important part of your morning oral routine, is still out there. For most people, a normal daily oral routine start with brushing teeth with toothbrush and toothpaste then floss before rinsing their mouths with mouthwash. So, what do Boston dentists recommend?
Do Our Dentists Recommend Mouthwash?
It turns out that dentists recommend mouthwashes because they are beneficial to your oral health, but there factors that have to be taken into consideration such as age and the type of mouthwash. Most dentists agree that children below six years old should not use mouthwash. Children in this age bracket are more likely to consume the mouthwash, and this could negatively affect their health. This is especially true for alcohol-based mouthwashes.
Using mouthwash could be a valuable addition to your oral health routine, especially if you have difficulty in brushing or flossing as often as you should. Rinsing can help to prevent gum diseases and cavities. The fluoride in the solutions can help to prevent tooth decay. If you have consistent bad breath, or if your gums bleed, you can see a dentist to recommend the right mouthwash for you. That said, mouthwashes should not be used as substitutes for flossing and brushing teeth. Furthermore, they do not cure serious oral conditions.
There are two main types of mouthwashes: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes are usually used to freshen breath. However, they don’t address the cause of the bad breath because they don’t have ingredients that inactivate the elements that trigger bad breath. That is why most of our dentists do not recommend this type of mouth rinse. Therapeutic mouthwashes are used not only to freshen breath, but also to kill harmful bacteria. They come both by prescription and over-the-counter.
Therapeutic mouthwash can help to reduce inflammation of the gum and tooth plaque. They also have compounds that neutralize the pH levels in the mouth. This helps to inhibit the decay process. Mouth rinses with xylitol and fluoride are helpful in cavity prevention. Some types of therapeutic mouthwashes can also help to hydrate the mouth.
Dentists may prescribe a stronger mouth rinse for people with more serious oral health issues. Some of the oral health conditions that can be managed through the use of mouth rinses are gingivitis, plaque, and inflammation.
Is Mouthwash Safe?
The American Dental Association (ADA) has a council that tests and evaluates the safety and effectiveness of different oral care products. Most of the mouth rinses that have passed the test have a seal. Currently, there are more than 120 mouthwashes that have seals. So, if a mouthwash has the ADA seal, it means that the claims made on the label have been verified. However, it is important to note that ADA has neither expressly recommended any brand for eliminating bad breath nor endorsed any one of them as a substitute for teeth brushing.
Different Types of Mouthwashes
While there are different types of mouthwashes, not all of them might be best for you. Some will work best in some specific situations, for example, after an infection. In most cases, our dentists recommend prescription mouthwashes and fluoride rinses. Remember that not all mouthwashes have fluoride unless it is expressly mentioned in the labels.
The main difference between a mouthwash and a mouth rise is that a rinse offers protection against acid while a mouthwash freshens your breath. Most of the fluoride rinses do not have alcohol. Here are different types of mouthwashes and rinses to help you choose the right solution.
This is a liquid solution that contains antiseptics and it is used to freshen breath as well as remove bacteria and debris from your mouth through swishing and gargling. Most mouthwashes contain breath-freshening ingredients. The solution is used in conjunction with teeth brushing and flossing.
Fluoride mouth rinse is helpful in protecting teeth against acids produced by bacteria when they metabolize. It works by incorporating into the enamel coating to protect the teeth from the effects of the acid, thereby, reduce the development of cavities.
Alcohol-Based Mouthwash (Chlorhexidine Gluconate Rinse)
Chlorhexidine Gluconate Rinse is one of the prescription rinses with anti-bacterial properties. This solution is a formulation of 11.6% alcohol and 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate. There is an alcohol-free formulation that is almost as effective as this one. This mouth rinse is effective in controlling and killing the bacteria in your mouth. So, it can be effective in preventing gum disease. It is also useful for patients who have just had deep cleaning such as root planning.
Chlorhexidine Gluconate has some drawbacks. One of them is that it encourages the development of brown stain on your teeth. The mouthwash is known to bind to soft and hard tissues. So, if you are using it after a gum treatment, you should avoid beverages such as red wine, coffee, or tea. This mouthwash is also not suitable for people with dental crowns made of glass ionomer.
Most mouthwashes have about 20% alcohol in them. The alcohol content makes mouthwash unsuitable for children and teens. Some of them may be tempted to experiment by drinking the mouthwash. In addition to this, some adults may not be comfortable with the high alcohol content in the mouthwash. This might discourage them from using mouthwash altogether. Fortunately, there are alcohol-free mouthwashes that have same health benefits as the alcohol-based mouthwashes. Mouthwash with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is a good alternative. The CPC ingredient is known to bind to the surface of the germs, which causes them to disintegrate. It is also safe.
Which is the Best Mouthwash?
Some therapeutic rinses have active ingredients that neutralize the acidity in the mouth. When bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars and carbohydrates from the food particles, their metabolic waste is acid. An acidic mouth provides a conducive environment for tooth decay. One of the most important ingredients to look for in a mouthwash is xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol which prevents bacteria from metabolizing by neutralizing the acidity level. This ingredient also enhances most salivary functions due to its taste.
While choosing mouthwash, you should also consider the ones with anti-plaque ingredients. Apart from controlling bad breath, these mouthwashes are useful in preventing plaque from building up.
You can also consider a fluoride rinse. They don’t contain any alcohol, so they can be used by children above six years. Fluoride-based mouthwash is recommended for people who have recently suffered from multiple cavities or tooth decay. Remember that it cannot replace your brushing and flossing routine.
People who are still recovering from a dental procedure or are suffering from tooth sensitivity may be irritated by some ingredients in the mouthwash. In such cases, an alcohol-free mouthwash with soothing and gentle ingredients may be a better alternative. To understand the best mouthwash that fits your condition, it is best to check all ingredients indicated on the labels.
Mouthwash can have some drawbacks. Some dentist may recommend using alcohol-free mouth rinses because alcohol in the mouthwash can dry the mouth. A dry mouth is known to offer a safe place for bacteria activity, which in turn, result in bad breath. Most therapeutic mouthwashes with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal have alcohol.
Alcohol in most therapeutic mouthwashes is used as a preservative and a flavor carrier. It is used to dissolve some active ingredients and essential oils like eucalyptol, menthol, and thymol, which have an antiseptic effect. So, alcohol is not the antiseptic.
Though rare, some patients may experience irritation in the form of canker sores. This has been associated with mouthwash usage. It is best to stop using mouthwash if you experience similar irritation, or if your mouth gets constantly dry.
There are other things that can cause bad breath and mouthwash and rinses might not sufficiently address all of them. Sometimes, mouthwash just masks an underlying problem which might need professional help. Practical examples of possible causes of bad breath include untreated gum, periodontal disease, cavities, and infection on bones.
If you have a specific oral health problem such as chronic bad breath that still persist even after using mouthwash, or if you are not sure of which mouthwash that is good or your oral health, get in touch with Bostal Dental. We will be excited to answer any question you may have, and provide a lasting solution to your dental problems.