Mouthwash is an excellent addition to one’s preventative oral homecare routine because it reaches areas not easily accessed by a toothbrush. For maximum benefits, it’s important to follow the instructions on the label because some mouthwashes might require use before brushing while some might require rinsing after brushing depending on the ingredients. For example, some mouthwashes might contain calcium hydroxide or aluminum hydroxide, which could decrease the mouthwash’s effectiveness.
Because of its strength, mouthwash is not recommended for children under the age of 6 years old. Their swallowing muscles may not be fully developed enough to ingest large amounts of mouthwash, which could produce negative side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and intoxication.
The two main types of mouthwash are cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash temporarily eliminates bad breath and unpleasant taste, but it does not protect against cavities or gum disease. Therapeutic mouthwash contains ingredients that help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, plaque, and tooth decay. Some of the ingredients in this type of mouthwash include cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils, fluoride, and peroxide.
Therapeutic mouthwash can be purchased over-the-counter or by prescription. If a mouthwash contains essential oils, it can be found in any pharmaceutical store. However, mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine must be prescribed.
When purchasing over-the-counter mouthwash, it’s important to look for products that have the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, which means they have been tested and can be used every day.
As mentioned above, some mouthwash is designed as a preventive care method to help reduce tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath. Some other benefits include topical pain relief, teeth whitening, and dry mouth relief.
When mouthwashes are used for pain relief, they contain topical local anesthetics, such as:
When mouthwashes are used for whitening, they may contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Studies have shown that after 12 weeks of using a mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide, some level of noticeable color alteration can occur.
Although mouthwash functions similarly to dental floss and toothbrushes, it was designed to enhance their effects, not replace them. Incorporating mouthwash into a daily oral hygiene regimen will help individuals maintain a healthy mouth.
At McBride Dental, we offer preventative care services to help save the teeth and keep them healthy long-term. When our patients visit our office, we perform X-rays, deep cleanings, and other dental procedures to help prevent and reduce the development of unwanted oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. After doing a thorough examination of the mouth, we may offer other services, such as dental sealants.
Aside from visiting our office every six months, we advise our patients to take care of their teeth at home by brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, using a mouthwash, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, eliminating sugary foods and drinks, and decreasing or eliminating the use of tobacco. If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a dentist office, call 760-471-1003 for a free consultation today.