Nowadays, the use of mouthwash (mouth rinse) is an important step in keeping our oral health. Even if you correctly brush your teeth, even if you floss twice a day, this is not enough. Mouthwash can reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease and also freshen your breath. Although there are pros and cons. By reading this article you will have an idea about this topic.
Short history and benefits
Throughout the centuries, people used different products in order to freshen their breath. They used a variety of ingredients: fruit, honey, dried flowers, leaves of olives which were generally ineffective. There was no evidence about the effectiveness of these products.
The first mouthwashes were solutions of grain alcohol and were developed in the 19th century. It has been discovered that fluoride has an antibacterial effect and this is why mouthwashes contain fluoride. They also contain diluents (water, alcohol), antibacterial agents, soaps, flavorings, and colorants.
The primary function of a mouthwash was initially to freshen the breath. Nowadays, these kind of products also whiten teeth and protect against cavities and gum recession. Mouthwash also reduces the speed of tartar forming on the teeth.
The disadvantages of using mouthwashes
- Some mouthwashes contain alcohol and it may irritate the mouth and can cause a burning sensation.
- Possible links between mouthwash and oral cancer. There is not enough evidence, but it is thought that may be a link between alcoholic mouthwash and the development of oral cancer. Research is still in progress anyway.
- Tooth sensitivity can increase because of the alcohol a mouthwash can contain.
- The use of mouthwash does not cure bad breath. In order to discover the cause of your bad breath, you should visit your dentist.And in this way you will treat the cause and not only the symptoms.
Types of mouthwash
- Therapeutic mouthwashes – they have active ingredients (fluoride, peroxide, chlorhexidine, etc.) that help decrease plaque, gingivitis, tooth decay. They may also whiten your teeth. So on the market there are whitening mouthwashes (the role is to whiten teeth and remove stains), anti-plaque mouthwashes (they help prevent gum inflammation), fluoride mouthwashes (they fight against cavities).
- Cosmetic mouthwashes – they can control bad breath, they leave your breath minty and fresh, but they do not reduce the risk or cavities or gum disease. This type of mouthwash only masks the bad breath instead of removing the bacteria that causes the bad breath.
How to use mouthwash
You have to gargle and swish for at least 60 seconds. This is because the majority of chemicals in the mouthwash will work only after one minute. It is recommended to use non-alcoholic mouthwash.
Please be aware that mouthwash is not recommended for kids under 6 years of age because they can swallow it.
In order to conclude, please keep in mind that the use of mouthwash does not exclude brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. The rinse of your mouth with a mouthwash is only an additional step in completing your proper oral care.
In case you need further information, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Arhiri. We are here to assist you in all that is related to your teeth and your oral health.