Mouthwash freshens your breath, certainly, but does mouthwash actually work to improve your oral health? Do you actually need to use mouthwash as part of your dental routine, or is it an optional additive that may or may not have benefits? There are a lot of myths about mouthwash out there, such as the fact that it can cure bad breath. Here’s what you need to know about whether mouthwash actually works and what you need to be mindful of with mouthwash. Let’s dive in!
Does Mouthwash Actually Work?
Yes, mouthwash actually works to improve your oral health. Note the word “improve”, though, because although mouthwash can help with a wide variety of dental concerns, such as teeth whitening and remineralization, it’s no substitute for brushing and flossing. Mouthwash in and of itself won’t prevent cavities, but when you use it in addition to brushing and flossing, it can lessen the likelihood of developing cavities and improve your oral health.
You do not need to use mouthwash, but it can take your dental cleaning routine to the next level, because mouthwash actually works to help with a wide range of dental issues and has many benefits. This is because through the use of antiseptic ingredients, like menthol and alcohol, mouthwash can kill bacteria that collects in your mouth. It can also treat symptoms of gum disease, as well as improve the durability and plaque-resistance of your teeth, depending on the ingredients used.
Types Of Mouthwash
Walk down the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store and you’ll see all sorts of different types of mouthwash available to you. Different types of mouthwash are better for different concerns. If you have a specific concern you want help with, you’ll want to select the type of mouthwash formulated for it.
Some of the different types of mouthwash include:
- Cosmetic mouthwashes. These are mouthwashes that do not kill bacteria in your mouth, but rather temporarily help with bad breath and taste nice. They’re purely cosmetic because that’s all they do. They aren’t designed to help you with any dental concerns.
- Therapeutic mouthwashes. These are mouthwashes that contain active ingredients that are meant to improve your dental health. For instance, if your mouthwash is meant to help with issues like gum disease or cavity prevention, it’s a therapeutic mouthwash.
Mouthwash actually works to improve your dental health when it has active ingredients, as in therapeutic mouthwashes. These ingredients include:
- Cetylpyridinium chloride
- Essential oils
What Mouthwash Helps With
Cosmetic mouthwashes improve your breath temporarily, like gum. Therapeutic mouthwashes help with many different dental concerns. Some of the dental concerns mouthwash actually works to help with include:
- Freshened breath. Mouthwash actually works to eliminate the bacterias that can cause bad breath and freshen your breath after having a meal with strong-smelling ingredients, like onions or garlic or sauerkraut. Cetylpyridinium chloride is an active ingredient that helps with bad breath.
- Reduced risk of gum disease. Plaque builds up on your teeth, which can result in gum disease over time. Mouthwash can help fight gum disease when it has active ingredients, such as chlorhexidine and essential oils.
- Prevent tooth decay. Combined with thorough brushing and flossing, mouthwash actually works to prevent tooth decay, especially if it contains fluoride. It can help with the remineralization process.
- Tooth whitening. You’re probably not going to notice whiter teeth after one rinse with a whitening mouthwash that contains peroxide. But, when you take good care of your teeth and also use a whitening mouthwash, over time, you can notice whiter teeth.
Most mouthwashes can be purchased over the counter, but some require a prescription. Talk to your dentist in order to determine the best mouthwash for you and your specific dental concerns.
What To Be Mindful About With Mouthwash
Though mouthwash actually works to help improve your oral health, it’s no substitute for brushing and flossing. You don’t want to use mouthwash in place of brushing and flossing your teeth, but rather, as an extra cleansing step. If you want mouthwash actually working to improve your oral health, you need to use it properly, in tandem with brushing and flossing.
Mouthwash helps with dental concerns, but it’s no cure for underlying issues. If you have chronic bad breath, mouthwash can mask it temporarily, but not treat the ongoing problem. You’ll need to talk to your dentist about any ongoing dental issues.
Do You Have Further Questions About Mouthwash?
Avenues Dental is passionate about helping people maintain good oral health. If you want to learn more about how mouthwash actually works or the right mouthwash for you, we can go over that with you during a dental cleaning. Contact us today to schedule your dental cleaning!