The Benefits of Using Mouthwash
Having good oral health is something most people keep looking forward to. Essentially, it is the best way to prevent cavities and unpleasant emergency visits to the dentist.
Nowadays, a simple yet effective oral care routine is fundamental to maintaining balance in the mouth and keeping the teeth healthy. Furthermore, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once is the bare minimum required for any healthy oral care routine.
However, your oral health can be improved by making small changes such as reducing sugar intake and adding a mouthwash to your oral care routine.
Although they have been passed over, mouthwash has been used as an aid to brushing for hundreds of years, helping people improve their oral health and life quality.
Your dentist in Morley can give you all the tools and information necessary to upgrade your routine if you're looking forward to improving your oral health.
Therefore, we will explain in this article what mouthwash is, how it works, when to use mouthwash and how it can help you improve your oral health.
What is mouthwash
As its name suggests, mouthwash is a liquid product used to rinse the mouth and help maintain it clean.
It is often used for its therapeutic effect, which kills harmful bacteria hiding in places where the toothbrush can't reach to protect both the teeth and gums and prevent diseases such as cavities.
Furthermore, another key element of mouthwashes is their refreshing scents which help get rid of bad breath or halitosis, turning it into a great ally against your morning breath to ensure there are no unpleasant events due to its smell.
Mouthwash for Kids
Although mouthwash is an excellent complement to any oral care routine, mouthwash for kids is not recommended for use for children under 6 years old. Mouthwash contains elements that are not meant to be swallowed. In fact, ingesting them can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and intoxication, especially when consumed in large proportions.
At a certain age, young children lack the ability to spit on command and are prone to drinking it out of curiosity or accident. Therefore, mouthwash for kids is not advised unless directed by the dentist to treat certain oral health conditions. When this happens, the parents must supervise the use of mouthwash to prevent accidents.
How to use Mouthwash?
First, it is essential to know that there are many types of mouthwash with different indications and characteristics. Although the usage method is almost the same among most mouthwashes, you should read the label or instructions on the bottle to check how to use your mouthwash.
Mouthwash when to use: The most frequent steps to using mouthwash are as follows:
1. Brush your teeth:
When to use mouthwash, is usually used after your teeth have been brushed and flossed. It acts as a finishing touch to your oral care routine and helps clean and eliminate bacteria in zones that you could have missed. Mouthwash or brush first? The answer is definitely brush first.
2. Dispense mouthwash:
Mouthwash dosage matters, and as you would do with your medicine, it is crucial to respect the indicated measure in the bottle. This way, you can ensure the therapeutic effect is achieved without side effects.
Most mouthwashes come with a measuring cup for you to dispense the liquid. The amount can vary between mouthwashes, but it is usually around 3-5 teaspoons.
Some brands recommend diluting their mouthwash with water as the concentration is too high.
Rinse your mouth for around 30 seconds, or the time advised on the bottle's label. Make sure not to swallow it as it can cause unpleasant symptoms.
You may gargle to ensure the mouthwash cleans the back of your mouth and the beginning of your throat to eliminate as many bacteria as possible.
Mouthwash can burn your tongue or give you a tingling sensation as some of them contain alcohol. Is mouthwash supposed to burn? Well again this is the alcohol, and many believe that this is destroying any bacteria in the mouth. As we shall see this is not the case.
Spit the mouthwash once you are ready. Do not rinse again with water. Doing so will remove the mouthwash leftover from your teeth and prevent it from delivering the therapeutic effect.
It is also recommended to wait a few minutes before drinking water or eating while the mouthwash acts. Do not swallow mouthwash.
Although there is not a set number of times you should be rinsing or using your mouthwash, most dentists recommend doing it twice a day. Mouthwash when to use: after brushing your teeth to complement your routine.
Different types of Mouthwash
There are many mouthwash brands with different products that come in many sizes and concentrations.
However, mouthwashes are mainly divided into two big groups:
● Cosmetic mouthwash:
These types of mouthwash do not provide any health benefits as they don't possess active elements that affect bacteria or diseases. However, they could help remove food leftovers physically from the teeth while rinsing.
Their purpose is entirely cosmetic. Also, they can have fresh scents to help you mask bad breath temporarily. Nonetheless, they won't have any long-term effect on odor-producing bacteria, offering a solely cosmetic solution.
● Therapeutic mouthwash:
The majority of mouthwashes, including the most popular and famous ones such as Listerine and Savacol, fall into this category.
Therapeutic mouthwashes possess different active elements that attack and eliminate bacteria in your mouth to provide a therapeutic effect. These effects can range from cavities and gums disease prevention/treatment to long-term bad breath control and even whitening results.
The most common active ingredients include cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils, fluoride, and peroxide.
Therapeutic mouthwash can be acquired over the counter or with a prescription, depending on the formula and effect they provide.
It is vital to understand that although these two are the groups in which mouthwashes are categorized, there are other subdivisions according to their formula and effects.
Alcohol vs Alcohol-free Mouthwash
One of the downsides of mouthwashes is that many of them contain alcohol in their formula.
Alcohol acts as a stabilizer to the other active elements of the mouthwash, such as eucalyptus and menthol. This allows them to activate their therapeutic effects once in contact with the oral cavity.
Contrary to popular belief, the alcohol concentration in mouthwash is too small to have any antiseptic effect on mouth bacteria. However, it is strong enough to provide a few undesired side effects, such as:
● Burning sensation:
Alcohol can create an unpleasant burning sensation in the mouth's soft tissues. This sensation can be worsened if there are mouth lesions or if you suffer from sensitive gums.
● Composite restorations damage:
Alcohol can interact with composite restorations and affect their color and hardness, making them less durable.
● Dry mouth:
Alcohol can reduce saliva flow and lead to dry mouth. Besides, although it does not represent an issue with healthy patients, people already suffering from xerostomia, receiving radiotherapy, or having dry mouth syndrome can see their condition worsen.
Alcohol-free mouthwashes were designed keeping this in mind to offer all the positive therapeutic effects without the discomfort and side effects alcohol provides.
Furthermore, whether they possess alcohol or not, there are different types of mouthwash with multiple effects, such as:
Mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide
These types of mouthwash are aimed to achieve a whitening effect. Mouthwash with hydrogen peroxide is the main type of mouthwash for this effect.
Although they are not as potent as other whitening products, they can still lighten the teeth' colour after constant use.
Mouthwash with chlorhexidine
Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic element that helps to eliminate bacteria responsible for plaque and tartar build-ups. It is often looked at a bit differently to others as it is seen as a mouthwash staining teeth mouthwash.
Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine are usually prescribed by the dentist to help treat cases of severe gum disease and periodontitis.
However, it shouldn't be used for prolonged periods as it is a mouthwash which stains the teeth. These stains can only be removed by a dentist through professional cleaning.
Some mouthwash contains fluoride in their formula. This helps strengthen the teeth and prevent cavities. Fluoride is an essential mineral that allows the teeth to remineralize after a bacterial attack that could lead to caries.
It is vital not to exceed the recommended dosage, as a high fluoride intake can be toxic and cause conditions such as fluorosis.
Additionally, due to the antiseptic effect of most therapeutic mouthwashes, they can eliminate odor-producing bacteria regardless of their type or purpose. Unlike cosmetic mouthwash, bad breath is eliminated instead of masking it temporarily, as the cause is attacked directly. Fluoride is quite a complex an interesting topic on it's own. If you would like to know more about fluoride, please check out our article on Fluoride.
Mouthwash When Pregnant
Lots of expectant mothers have asked if mouthwash safe for pregnancy. After all as we have learned, many mouthwash’s and especially some popular commercial ones contain alcohol.
Mouthwash is safe for pregnancy… just don’t swallow it. Pregnancy can come with certain negative changes with respect to your mouth such as bad breath. A mouthwash can be a safe and effective way that pregnant women can avoid this unwanted part of pregnancy. You can find out more about this in another article about bad breath and pregnancy here.
The Takeaway - Mouthwash good or bad?
So after all this.. mouthwash good or bad? Well mouthwashes are the perfect complement to your oral care routine if you are trying to enhance your oral care.
Also, due to the vast number of mouthwashes from different brands and their effects, it is essential to choose a product that aligns with the results you desire to achieve.
Furthermore, therapeutic mouthwashes not only help you achieve a fresh breath, but they also possess antiseptic properties that help eliminate harmful bacteria to protect the teeth and prevent conditions such as gum disease.
Although mouthwashes initially used alcohol to stabilize the elements in their formula, nowadays, there exist alcohol-free alternatives that deliver the same benefits without the side effects of alcohol.
Adding an extra 30 seconds to your oral care routine to rinse with mouthwash is the only thing necessary to maintain a healthy smile. Mouthwash good or bad? We believe definitively good… if you choose a therapeutic alcohol free mouthwash.
This article is brought to you by Dentista Dental Centre, your Morley Dentist. For all your dental needs please call or book your dentist in Morley today.