Should Daily Preventative Care Include Mouthwash?
When we think of minty fresh breath, we immediately visualize just brushed teeth or recent use of mouthwash. Mouthwash is more than just something to swish around for minty smelling breath. As part of a regular daily oral care routine, mouthwash can help prevent plaque, cavities, gingivitis, and other gum diseases. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol as an ingredient, some have fluoride, others use mild acids to whiten, and most mouthwash products contain a small amount of antibacterial properties, although some specifically target gum disease causing bacteria. But when faced with rows of blue, green and white bottles at the store, how does one select the right kind of mouthwash? Here are a few tips to help you integrate the right mouthwash for you and your family into your daily oral care drill.
To fluoride, or not to fluoride – that is the question. In most locations in the U.S., regular tap water already contains small amounts of fluoride, which may be sufficient to maintain your dental health without supplemental resources. However, fluoride creates a protective film over the teeth that protects against buildup of tartar. Fluoride also helps strengthen the enamel over the teeth, maintain good dental hygiene, and keep your teeth strong for the rest of your life, so if you are if you are cavity-prone, adding a fluoride mouthwash to your daily routine is a good idea.
Alcohol Based Mouthwashes
First, if you have children in the house who might gain access to the mouthwash, refrain from purchasing mouthwash with alcohol. Children tend to swallow dental care products on occasion, especially if they smell good and have pretty colors, and the alcohol could have toxic side effects on small children. Also, the alcohol can exacerbate dry mouth conditions, so avoid using it if you have dry mouth issues. Other than those warnings, the antiseptic effects of alcohol in mouthwash are beneficial in that it cleanses germs and some types of viral infections from the mouth.
These rinses dissolve the protein film that forms on the surface enamel and any associated surface stains using hydrogen peroxide, and mild acids (usually phosphoric or citric acids). Some whitening rinses try to inhibit the formation of new tooth stains by using a chemical medium to prevent stains from sticking to teeth. The acidic pH of the rinses enhances the dissolving action, although the hydrogen peroxide comprising the majority of teeth whitening mouthwashes does not actually penetrate the teeth. However, it is not recommended to use these rinses on a daily basis as they can cause acid-sensitization of oral bacteria and produce favorable growth environments for unpleasant acid-producing bacteria. In addition, elimination of the enamel’s protein film with the whitening rinses on a daily basis can render your teeth less resilient.
You hear about antibacterial mouthwashes all the time now, which are specifically chemically formulated to fight gum disease and bacterial infections. But antibacterial mouthwash is only intended to be a part of your daily preventative care, and is not a cure for infection, abscesses, pain, or other dental woes.
If you are presently suffering from a tooth and/or mouth malady, visit one of our Alabama Family Dentistry offices right away. We provide comprehensive , diagnostic treatment and preventive service to patients living in Birmingham, Gardendale, Warrior, Sumiton, and surrounding central Alabama communities. Our dentists will perform an evaluation, and recommend a course of treatment, which may include more powerful prescription mouthwashes that can help reduce your symptoms.