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Mouthwash - A Discount Dental Hygiene Aid?

By Susan Braden

A discount dental care aisle at the supermarket often displays row upon row of neon green and blue oral rinses, and many dentists will have a patient rinse at the end of a cleaning. What exactly does mouthwash do, and does it really help your teeth?

Do I Have to Use Mouthwash?

It’s up to you. The use of mouthwash is not always necessary. It does help prevent cavities along with brushing and flossing, but it is not a required part of dental health.

Is it Effective?

The Academy of General Dentistry and several other dentistry organizations agree that the effectiveness of mouthwash can vary based on the type. Experts often concur that cosmetic oral rinses can freshen breath for a temporary amount of time, and they also agree that fluoride rinses help prevent cavities by reducing bacteria. Many also agree, however, that certain rinses can discolor the teeth. Check for the ADA seal of approval on your over-the-counter mouthwash to ensure that the ingredients can actually do what they advertise.

While several prescription mouthwashes are clinically proven as a discount way to fight 50% more bacteria, most over-the-counter varieties do little more than what plain water can for your teeth. Many discount dental rinses designed to eliminate bad breath merely mask the problem rather than remove it. Despite these suppositions, dentists still recommend oral rinses as part of a healthy oral hygiene regimen, but only as a supplement to daily brushing and flossing.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Mouthwash is typically safe, but occasionally it can produce negative side effects, primarily with the prescription variety. If you start experiencing problems that you think might be related to your oral rinse, stop using it immediately and visit a cheap dentist. Adverse side effects may include:

1. Tartar buildup
2. Swollen glands on the neck or face
3. Tooth sensitivity
4. Oral ulcers
5. Burning sensation inside the mouth
6. Dried-out mouth tissue
7. Stained teeth

Many rinses contain alcohol as well, which can be dangerous if swallowed in large quantities. Dentists say that children age 12 and younger should not use commercial rinses, because they are more prone to swallow liquid.

How Do I Rinse Properly?

Many dentists agree that it does not matter in which order you rinse, brush and floss. However, mouthwash will be more effective on clean teeth. Rinsing can be a good discount option to improve oral hygiene, but several factors can affect the extent of its benefit. Look for the ADA seal on the bottle, and do not dilute it or use an amount other than that which is recommended.

Swish thoroughly with your lips closed, moving the wash back and forth in front of and behind the teeth. Gargle the solution, being careful not to swallow, so that it can reach the back of your tongue as well. Bacteria often accumulates there, and toothbrushes often cause a gag reflex that far back in the mouth. Rinse for about 30-60 seconds, depending on the instructions on the bottle, then spit it all out. To make it more effective, refrain from smoking, eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes after you rinse.

While an oral rinse will not solve all the oral health problems you may have, it can be a helpful step in maintaining your personal hygiene if used properly. It may help prevent cavities, and also may help improve bad breath. Mouthwash may be the discount dental option you need to supplement your daily routine.

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