Do you use mouthwash? 52% of Americans are unaware that mouthwash holds any value in dental or health care. While mouthwash isn’t a necessary part of oral hygiene, it’s highly recommended by dental professionals. Using mouthwash has many benefits; however, a lot of people don’t use it or even know what kind to get. Read on to learn more about the benefits of mouthwash and tips for using it.
Using mouthwash has many benefits. First, it decreases cavities. If the mouthwash has fluoride in it, it helps to strengthen the enamel, therefore building up a stronger resistance against cavity-causing plaque. Mouthwash also helps disinfect the mouth, reducing the amount of bacteria that may cause decay. Another benefit to using mouthwash is that it helps prevent gum disease. Antibacterial mouthwash can help eliminate bacteria under or around the gums that may lead to a periodontal infection. Because of this, mouthwash can also help to soothe canker sores inside the mouth, since it kills any bacteria in the area that may be causing irritation. Lastly, many mouthwashes provide a solution to halitosis, leaving you with fresh breath after using.
Though the benefits of using mouthwash outweigh the drawbacks and many of these are case-by-case, they should still be considered before using mouthwash. Though mouthwash can help reduce canker sore irritation, if the alcohol content is too high, it could potentially have the opposite effect. Another problem with mouthwash is that while it does freshen your breath, it simply acts as a “mask” and only lasts for a short time. If a long-term solution is required, mouthwash would not be the best option.
There is also some controversy over whether or not alcohol-containing mouthwash causes oral cancer. While it has never been proven nor disproven, some mouth rinses containing alcohol have been carefully reviewed by the American Dental Association and given the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If you’re going for an alcohol-containing rinse, it’s best to look for one with the seal, as it’s the safest bet.
Types of Mouthwash
There are many types of mouthwash that each serve a different purpose. The one that is best for you is the one that best meets your personal dental needs.
- Fluoridated: Some mouthwashes contain fluoride. Though we typically don’t need this fluoride as we get plenty from our toothpaste and water, it can help as a reinforcement for strengthening teeth and restoring enamel.
- Antiseptic: Antiseptic mouthwashes are specially formulated to stop bacterial growth and treat infection in the mouth. If you are especially prone to cavities or gum disease, this type of mouthwash can help prevent that.
- Cosmetic: The main purpose of cosmetic mouthwash is to disguise bad breath, not to reduce decay. If you’re simply looking for a way to freshen up your breath, cosmetic mouthwash is a good option.
- Total Care: Total care mouthwashes contain antibacterial ingredients which help to reduce the buildup of plaque and prevent gum disease.
- Natural: Natural mouthwash is alcohol and fluoride free. Many people find that some natural mouthwash is helpful in soothing pain following a tooth extract.
Make Your Own Mouthwash
You can make your own natural mouthwash at home with ingredients you probably already have. Here are some recipes you can use if you want to make your own mouthwash.
- Basic mouthwash: 1 cup of water + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 3 drops peppermint essential oil
- Disinfectant mouthwash: 1 cup of water + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash: 1 part hydrogen peroxide + 1 part water
- Salt water rinse: 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon of salt
Dentists highly recommend using mouthwash because it can help kill bacteria in your mouth that may lead to cavities or gum disease. Mouthwash should never be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing; however, it’s a great supplement to these things. If you decide to use mouthwash, you can ask your dentist for a recommendation, as he or she will know which kind is the best for you.