Mouthwash is a handy tool when you need to freshen your breath after eating something smelly, but is it useful for protecting your overall oral health?
What Are the Benefits of Mouthwash For Oral Health?
The main dental health benefit of mouthwash is that it can get to places in your mouth that you can't reach with your toothbrush, which means that it can flush traces of food out of these areas. Many mouthwashes contain antibacterial ingredients, which kill bacteria in hard-to-reach parts of the mouth. Finally, most brands of mouthwash contain fluoride, which contributes to the natural remineralisation process that strengthens tooth enamel, the strong protective coating on your teeth that can be worn away by the actions of bacteria in the mouth.
Does Mouthwash Have Any Disadvantages?
Most people do not experience any downsides of using mouthwash. However, some people are sensitive to ingredients currently found in these products. In particular, alcohol can dry out the mouth, leading to discomfort in people whose levels of saliva production are either naturally low or suppressed by medication. If you struggle with discomfort when using an alcohol-based mouthwash, ask your dentist to recommend an alcohol-free brand.
When Should You Use Mouthwash?
Many people like to use mouthwash after they consume a snack or drink that can contribute to bad breath. Swishing mint-flavoured mouthwash around your mouth is a great way to freshen breath when you do not have time to brush.
Other people prefer to use mouthwash during their regular morning and evening oral hygiene routine. If you like to use mouthwash after brushing, make sure you choose one that contains fluoride. Swishing fluid around the mouth removes traces of toothpaste from the teeth, which can reduce the beneficial effect of the fluoride in the toothpaste. Alternatively, you can use the mouthwash before you brush.
Is Mouthwash an Alternative to Flossing?
The important thing to note about mouthwash is that it is not a suitable alternative to brushing and flossing your teeth. Daily flossing remains the best way to remove food traces and plaque from the tight spaces between the teeth. For best results, you should use mouthwash as a supplementary tool in your dental hygiene toolbox, rather than viewing it as an alternative to a good basic brushing and flossing routine. Mouthwash is also not an alternative to a tooth-friendly diet and regular dental checkups.
Contact a dentist in your area to learn more.
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