When it comes to dental care, many people want to know the purpose of mouthwash. It almost seems like an unnecessary step after carefully brushing and flossing your teeth. However, mouthwash has its benefits and should be a part of any good dental routine.
What Are The Benefits Of Mouthwash?
There are several benefits to using mouthwash, with the best benefit being clean breath. As a liquid, mouthwash has the ability to reach all areas of your mouth, including the roof of your mouth, your tongue, and your inner cheeks, all places you do not normally brush or floss. Because the mouthwash destroys bad bacteria in these areas, your breath becomes fresh.
In addition, many mouthwashes contain fluoride. This liquid fluoride can get down in the small spaces that your brush may not reach. This additional protection helps keep your teeth healthy and fights cavities.
Can You Overuse Mouthwash?
One of the main ingredients in mouthwash is alcohol. Alcohol destroys bacteria, but it can also cause harm to your gums, inner cheeks and tongue if over used. The alcohol itself has a drying property that will absorb the moisture from your mouth and cause the affected areas to dry out. This can cause cracking, swelling, and discomfort.
Mouthwash that contains fluoride can also be harmful if overused. Fluoride is essential to teeth health; however, too much fluoride can be unhealthy to the body.
Some mouthwashes that do not use alcohol as their bacteria fighter use different forms of chloride. While these chemicals are very effective at killing bacteria, they may stain your teeth with overuse. These stains are not permanent, however, and can be removed with a professional cleaning.
How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?
Most dentists recommend that you use mouthwash after every brushing. Using it more than twice a day can be harmful, so use of this product should be limited. Dentists also advise that you refrain from swallowing mouthwash.
What You Should Look For In A Mouthwash
You want to select a mouthwash that is designed to kill bacteria. There are some products that are only designed to cover bad breath and do not do anything to kill bacteria or protect your teeth. It will say on the label if the product kills bacteria.
If you do not want to use a product that has alcohol in it, you will also want to look for a mouthwash that is alcohol free. These products are available in many different flavors and by several manufacturers.
Mouthwash that has fluoride is beneficial to your teeth. However, it is not a requirement to determine if the mouthwash is right for you. Children who use mouthwash should use a fluoride based product.
Mouthwash that is made for whitening teeth can have many of the benefits of regular mouthwash. However, you must read the label to see what the active ingredients are and if the product kills bacteria. If it is not antibacterial, it may not be in your best interest.
The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends products. These products must meet or exceed their standards for proper oral care. You can check the label of the mouthwash to see if it carries this seal of approval. Also, check out the misconceptions of mouthwash and other dental myths explained by professionals to better understand how to care for your teeth the right way.