Using mouthwash makes some people feel like their mouth is really fresh and clean! These mouth rinses come in a variety of types and flavors—from whitening mouthwashes to those that claim to fight dry mouth and tooth decay.
There are two main types of mouthwash: the kind you purchase at the store, usually marketed to fight germs and bad breath, and the kind your dentist prescribes. These therapeutic mouthwashes could be used to fight oral thrush, gum disease, or contain fluoride for a stronger smile.
But is mouthwash really necessary for a healthy smile?
Don’t Replace Brushing and Flossing With Mouthwash
While mouthwash can be helpful in supporting your oral hygiene, you should never use mouthwash as a replacement for brushing and flossing . Mouthwash can help remove the germs that cause bad breath, plaque, and tooth decay, but it can’t physically remove plaque from your teeth the way that brushing and flossing can.
Mouthwash also shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to visit your dentist or to cover up
symptoms of potential oral disease. For example, if you have persistent bad breath, this is usually a sign of gum disease that needs to be addressed by your dentist, and can’t be managed with mouthwash use alone. Aim for two checkups and cleanings a year with your dentist to remove plaque you can’t reach from your smile and to ensure you’re free of tooth decay and gum disease!
Mouthwash May Help People With Gum Disease
There are over-the-counter and prescription mouthwashes that can help people with gum disease. In gum disease, plaque leads to an active infection in the gum tissue which can cause bad breath, receding gums, and loose teeth. Progressive stages of gum disease can be challenging to treat, and mouthwash may help.
Mouthwash has been shown to result in “significant” plaque reduction in people with gum disease . Whether your dentist prescribes a specific mouthwash to help get your gum disease under control or recommends an over-the-counter one, these mouth rinses may be an important part of your recovery process!
Every Smile Is Unique!
Not everyone will “need” mouthwash, but it can certainly be helpful for people when it comes to maintaining a proper oral care routine or those recovering from an oral health condition such as gum disease. You should always follow your dentist’s instructions for mouthwash use, and if you’re prescribed a specific mouthwash, be sure to use it as directed.
Children younger than the age of six should not use mouthwash, but some children who may live in areas lacking fluoride in their drinking water may be prescribed a fluoride rinse to help strengthen teeth.
Every smile is unique and your professional dentist can let you know the best way to care for your smile when it comes to mouthwash!