Most mouthwashes claim to help fight gingivitis, cavities and bad breath. So, are there any downsides to using mouthwash on a daily basis and should everyone be doing it? When it’s used properly, mouthwash can help inhibit oral disease and tooth decay. But do you need mouthwash as a part of your daily routine to have optimal oral health?
And there’s an even more important question: Is mouthwash even good for your teeth? Surprisingly, the answer is both yes and no. To explain, we’ve laid out the pros, cons, and just about everything else you should know about the rinse you swish in your mouth everyday.
Types of Mouthwash
Believe it or not, almost half the population in the U.S. is suffering from bad breath. Though it seems like giving half the country some mouthwash would do the trick, it turns out that mouthwash usage isn’t really all that simple. In fact, there is a variety a mouthwashes available to promote various aspects of oral health. So what kinds of mouthwash are on the market? Depending on what you need it for, you can find a corresponding mouthwash. There are basically 5 kinds of mouthwashes:
To reduce sensitivity, you can use a mouthwash that contains Arginine. This substance claims to seal the sensitive sites’ dentinal tubules. It’s best to consult your dentist about using desensitizing mouthwash in order to see the best results.
For added protection against tooth decay, this kind of mouthwash generally contains about 0.05% of Sodium Fluoride (NaF). For those who have trouble fighting off cavities, this mouthwash can come in handy.
This mouthwash doesn’t always necessarily fight the germs in your mouth, but it does leave your breath minty and fresh. However, cosmetic mouthwash only masks the bad smell instead of removing the bacteria that causes bad breath.
One popular way to whiten teeth at home is to use a whitening mouthwash. This kind of rinse contains a bleaching agent, commonly known as hydrogen peroxide. This helps to whiten teeth and remove stains over time.
This mouthwash inhibits plaque accumulation, which helps prevent gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Active ingredients present in antiseptic mouthwash are Thymol, Triclosan, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Chlorhexidine, etc.
Advantages of Using Mouthwash
Fights Gum Disease
Plaque naturally builds up on your teeth from bacteria and food. Tooth sockets and gums can get infected and inflamed when left untreated, resulting in gingivitis (Periodontal Disease).
There isn’t a better way to start the day than with fresh, minty breath. Some mouthwashes not only add a refreshing fragrance to your mouth, they also kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.
Soothe Mouth Ulcers/Canker Sores
Mouthwash can ease a canker sore by detoxing the area — reducing the amount of bacteria that can irritate the site. Rinsing with salt water is also effective for canker sores.
Reduce Risk of Cavities
Fluoride reduces demineralization by strengthening and protecting the enamel on teeth.
Because hormonal changes can lead to a higher risk of gingivitis, pregnant woman are at a higher risk than normal during that time. Bacterial infections that cause serious periodontal disease can lead to a greater chance of low birth weight in infants and premature delivery.
Disadvantages of Using Mouthwash
There are a few cons to consider when using mouthwash. However, most of the disadvantages are results caused by mouthwash that has alcohol present.
Possible Links to Oral Cancer
There’s an ongoing debate on whether or not there are legitimate trends between developing oral cancer using mouthwash with alcohol. Though some experts recommend using mouthwash to kill the germs that can cause gingivitis, you should really talk to your dentist before using mouthwash with alcohol.
Reduce Benefits of Toothpaste
Sometimes there can be an interaction between the chemicals in the toothpaste and chemicals in the mouthwash and this means they cancel out the benefits of each other. You can avoid this by leaving 30 minutes in between brushing and using mouthwash.
Increased Tooth Sensitivity
The alcohol present in some mouthwashes will gradually dissolve the mucus layer, leaving teeth vulnerable. This can cause great sensitivity.
The Benefits Don’t Always Outweigh the Monetary Cost
If you are brushing and flossing regularly to maintain your dental health, some dentists would say that you’re wasting your money. Unless you have gum disease, dental decay, or bad breath, you might be better off spending your $5 elsewhere.
Situations When You Should Use Mouthwash
Not using mouthwash won’t be detrimental to your health. However, if you suffer from the following ailments, mouthwash should be used:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Periodontal disease from pregnancy
- Bacterial build up from recent dental surgery
Now that you know all the pros and cons about using mouthwash, you can decide for yourself if you should continue using it on a daily basis. Opinions of the matter vary from dentist to dentist, but your teeth are probably going to be fine as long as you brush and floss regularly and continue to see your dentist regularly.
Call our Long Beach Dentist office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual check up!