Mouthwash: Obligation or Optional?


O'Fallon IL General Dental TreatmentThe oral health care aisle at your local drug store offers a variety of brands for toothpaste, floss and mouthwash. Are you using all three products? While the American Dental Association specifically lists flossing and brushing as recommended daily hygiene habits, mouthwash seems to be in more of a “gray” area. Statistics reported by National Smile Month tell us that only 31% of adults use mouthwash. This begs the question: is mouthwash an obligation or simply optional?

One thing is for certain; mouthwash cannot replace flossing and brushing. Mouthwash is designed to be an anti-bacterial agent in your mouth. While it may not be an instruction that every dentist issues to every patient, mouthwash does have some benefits towards your oral health, including the following:

  • Mouthwash can fight gum disease. Gum disease begins with extra bacteria sitting on the gums and teeth. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and even threats to your overall health. If you are prone to red, puffy or bleeding gums, a mouth rinse may give you the extra layer of protection you need to avoid serious complications. An antibacterial mouthwash containing alcohol or chlorhexidine can be chosen as gum disease prevention.
  • Mouthwash can help prevent cavities. Most mouthwashes contain fluoride, which we know as a primary weapon for decay prevention. Fluoride is a mineral that keeps your enamel strong so that harmful acids and bacteria don’t create cavities in the surface.
  • Mouthwash offers benefits during pregnancy. Gum disease is common among pregnant women, and it is an oral health condition that can affect both mother and baby. In fact, untreated gum disease has been linked to premature births. To help eliminate that bacteria that contributes to gum disease development, a mouthwash can be used daily during pregnancy.
  • Mouthwash can be a bad breath remedy. Many consumers buy their first bottle of mouthwash in an attempt to combat halitosis. This can certainly be effective. However, if you don’t floss, brush your teeth and clean your tongue properly, the mouthwash will only mask your bad breath problem.

At Soft Touch Dentistry, we always tell our patients if they should start adding mouthwash to their daily hygiene routine. We can also help you determine which type and brand of mouthwash is best for your specific oral health needs.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry
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Soft Touch Dentistry

1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050