Mouthwash:  Which One is Right for You?

Because of the vast number of mouthwashes available to us today, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.  A recent Crest survey found that 52% of Americans say they do not believe that mouthwash and rinses have any health benefits.  As dentists, we believe that using a mouthwash is very important for having great oral health, and we routinely recommend them to our patients to help them improve their oral hygiene and overall health.  Anything that decreases the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth improves your overall health.

So which mouthwash is right for you? 

Step 1:

Identify your problem area(s) in the following list.  We turn to mouthwashes to help us in several different areas of oral hygiene:

  • Strengthening enamel against cavities – Do you have a high risk for cavities?
  • Removing plaque from the teeth and gums – Is there a large amount of plaque buildup on your teeth?
  • Reducing inflammation from the gums – Are your gums red or swollen, and do they bleed when brushing or flossing?
  • Lowering the number of harmful bacteria present in the oral cavity – Do you have a high risk for periodontal disease?
  • Moistening the tissue inside the mouth when patients suffer from dry mouth – Do you suffer from dry mouth?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you should ask your dentist or hygienist at your next visit.  They can answer these questions for you after your professional cleaning or a clinical evaluation.

Step 2:

Read the ingredients of the mouthwash you are considering.  The table below shows most active ingredients used in mouthwashes with their benefits and risks.

Step 3:

Consider the following very important rules regarding some of the ingredients:

  • If you experience any type of dry mouth, you should NEVER use a mouthwash that contains alcohol.  Alcohol has a drying effect and actually allows bacteria in your mouth to proliferate over time.
  • An anti-cavity mouthwash containing fluoride is a great tool for helping children prevent cavities.  It should only be used with adult supervision to ensure the child is not swallowing any of the mouthwash.
  • While hydrogen peroxide in mouthwash is useful in reducing gum inflammation, it should never be used in an undiluted form.  Full-strength hydrogen peroxide can cause harmful changes in the tissues of your mouth.
  • Some mouthwashes are recommended for use before brushing and flossing; some are recommended for use after brushing and flossing.  Please read and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Mouthwash is helpful as a supplement to your daily oral hygiene routine.  It is not meant to be used as the sole method of cleaning your teeth and is never meant as a replacement for brushing or flossing.

Once you put these three steps together, you should be able to find the appropriate mouthwash that will address your specific needs and use it properly.  If you still feel confused about which one is best for you, please don’t hesitate to ask for our recommendation.

More Questions about Which Mouthwash is Right for You?

Call 640-382-1750 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning or one of our fabulous dental hygienists.  They can assess your current needs and help you choose the mouthwash that is best for you!

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