Mouthwash is a staple of the American dental hygiene program which has been cultivated by both dentists and marketing executives to create a product that feels like the finishing touch on your dental routine. Yet mouthwash, like all medical products, can be misused, used ineffectively, and in some cases, actually cause damage to the inside of your mouth. Nonetheless, mouthwash provides a number of benefits that both marketing executives and dentists agree are real.
Should I use mouthwash?
What are the benefits?
Mouthwash is generally an alcohol-based product that contains fluoride and other dental ingredients that improve overall mouth health. The fluoride helps strengthen your tooth enamel while the alcohol helps reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth. Fewer bacteria mean a smaller overall risk of tooth infection or gum disease.
But mostly, people use mouthwash because they think it freshens their breath. That is also where problems come into play.
What are the risks?
There are no real cons to using mouthwash properly, but some folks use it compulsively, and this is where the trouble comes in. Alcohol-based mouthwashes can cause dry mouth which increases the risk of tooth decay, increases bacteria in the mouth, increases bad breath, and irritates or inflames your gums. So, keeping your mouthwash use to the recommended minimum is important to get the beneficial effects of the mouthwash. But, excessive mouthwash use can cause the very problems you are attempting to prevent.
The proper use of mouthwash
If you brush and floss twice a day, which is recommended, then you only need to use mouthwash once. The best time to use it is in the morning when the smell of your breath is something you probably care about. You should avoid using mouthwash before you go to sleep, especially if you are a mouth breather or a snorer. This will only further dry out your mouth.
Also, using mouthwash alone is never recommended. There is no good reason to take a swig of mouthwash, swish it around your mouth, and then spit it out if you are not also brushing and flossing at the same time.
Mouthwash: The bottom line
Research shows that mouthwash is effective against plaque and gingivitis. It helps reduce the overall amount of bacteria that cause gum disease, and is, therefore, recommended by doctors for anyone over the age of 6. Overuse of mouthwash can cause the same problems that not using mouthwash can cause. Not using mouthwash correctly can damage your gums and waste your money. Using mouthwash once a day to start your day has proven effective against gum disease.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
If you have any questions about your oral hygiene routine and the most effective way to brush your teeth, floss, or apply other dental remedies like mouthwash, please don’t hesitate to call Peak Family Dental Care in Flagstaff today to give us a call.