If you’ve ever walked the oral care aisles of any drugstore, you know that there are many different types of mouthwash. Some tout their germ-killing abilities, others emphasize their fluoride content, and some claim to whiten teeth while freshening the breath. These are all great benefits, but at Chesterfield Smile Designs we remind you to ask yourself, will they help meet your dental health needs?
Many individuals wonder if daily mouthwash should be part of their dental routine. Brushing and flossing are the two critical habits that have the most significant effect on dental health, so if you’re doing these two things, is mouthwash necessary?
When our dental patients ask about mouthwash, we tell them that as long as they follow the directions on the bottle, mouthwash may slightly benefit dental health, even if it doesn’t live up to every promise on the label. Rinsing with a mouthwash that contains fluoride can’t hurt your teeth, but allowing a bit of diluted toothpaste to stay on tooth surfaces after brushing probably has the same effect.
Men and women with bad breath often believe that mouthwash can solve the trouble. Actually, mouthwashes that contain alcohol can worsen the problem because they can cause dry mouth—a condition that can contribute to bad breath. Mouthwashes without alcohol are typically more efficient for freshening breath. These products are typically called fluoride rinses.
If you have persistent bad breath, you should have your teeth evaluated for plaque build-up. No amount of mouthwash can remedy a mouth full of plaque. If your teeth and gums are healthy and you still suffer from bad breath, it’s important to confirm the cause. Bad breath can be an indication of a physical condition, so see your doctor soon.
Bottom line? Never substitute mouthwash for proper brushing and flossing. And if you use mouthwash, pick a brand that contains fluoride and no alcohol.
At Chesterfield Smile Designs, serving the greater St. Louis area, your dental health matters. We provide quality dental care that includes general and cosmetic dentistry. Make an appointment with us today.
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