In recent years there has been much discussion between dental hygiene professionals and researchers about the benefits and risks of using mouthwash as a regular part of your oral hygiene routine, but is the conclusion that you should be using it, or not? Read on to find out the benefits and drawbacks of using mouthwash so that you can decide what’s best for you…
Mouthwash has seen long-term popularity as a part of dental hygiene routines, and with good reason: mouthwash helps to reduce plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth, freshens breath, and gives your mouth that all-round fresh feeling. The most important ingredient in mouthwash is fluoride, which helps to strengthen teeth and protect tooth enamel from acid which wears away at the surface of your teeth!
Despite the advantage of fighting off bad bacteria in the mouth, alcohol-based mouthwashes also kill the good bacteria needed to help keep your mouth in balance, and the reduction of this good bacteria is linked to higher incidences of oral cancer. The freshness in the sting after using mouthwash is also more marketing ploy than appreciable benefit, as it’s just the high concentration of alcohol attacking the inside of your mouth. Alcohol also dries out the mouth, giving you that dry, puckered feeling, which in turn causes bad breath - and as you use more mouthwash in an attempt to freshen your breath, you will also dry out the saliva needed to keep your mouth moist and clean.
Choose Your Mouthwash Carefully
Alcohol-free mouthwashes with natural ingredients cause no harm to your mouth, and can help you get that fresh feeling that you get from alcohol-based mouthwashes. Look out for beneficial ingredients such as peppermint, cinnamon, or lavender, which have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties!
Don’t Rinse Out Your Toothpaste
The fluoride in toothpaste helps to protect teeth, so dentists advise not to rinse out the mouth after brushing at all - not even with water - to ensure that the toothpaste residue sits for longer on your teeth.
Use Mouthwash to Support
Consider taking a look at your oral hygiene routine: if mouthwash tends to be your last stop, try moving it to the beginning, as a refreshing rinse before brushing, or using it as a refresher between tooth brushing sessions. A quick rinse after lunch or when you get home in the evening can help to maintain a fresh mouth and breath throughout the day!
Brush and Floss as Usual
Brushing for two minutes and flossing between your teeth is the most vital part of your oral health regimen. As long as you are brushing and flossing with regularity, there is no obligation to also use mouthwash - choose what makes the most sense for you!
Click here to read more about how to choose the best toothbrush for you, and step up your routine today!