We use mouthwash as part of a good daily oral hygiene routine. Mouthwashes are beneficial, helping by removing debris left between teeth after firstly brushing and flossing; because it’s a liquid, it can reach where toothpaste, a tooth brush and floss cannot.
Mouthwashes should not be thought of as a substitute for good tooth brushing. There are various types of mouthwash available. Broadly, mouthwashes containing fluoride can help in preventing the formation of tooth decay. Alternatively, antiseptic mouthwashes can help reduce the bacteria that cause gum disease and decay. Other mouthwashes may help reduce sensitivity.
Using mouthwashes can help the oral hygiene for those of us who may have limited dexterity in cases where proper brushing is more difficult. This can also be the case during fixed brace treatment.
There are, however, some things to be aware of; chlorohexidene mouthwashes, for example, can sometimes cause staining and may affect the sense of taste if used over a prolonged time.
Long-term use of alcohol containing mouthwashes can cause a dry mouth, kill ‘good’ bacteria and should never be given to children. The amount of alcohol is small however, and should not give cause for concern if the instructions on the label are followed.
Ask your dentist or hygienist for advice about the best mouthwash for you to use personally. Read and follow the instructions on the label, looking for how much to use and for how long to rinse with the mouthwash for. Don’t drink it!
Daily use of a mouthwash is generally recommended as part of your oral hygiene routine. Using one after you brush and floss has many benefits, and for some patients is essential for their oral health. However, even the best mouthwash is not a replacement for good, regular brushing and flossing. It isn’t a short-cut!