Brush twice a day, floss once a day. These are common and universal rules of oral hygiene. But what about mouthwash? While not a substitute for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a good addition to the oral hygiene routine of some people.
All mouthwashes help your mouth by physically removing small food particles and washing them away from the teeth. In this way, mouthwash operates very much like a flosser, water flosser, or other interdental cleaners.
Do not give mouthwash to children under 6 years old. They could swallow large quantities, leading to intoxication (many types of mouthwash contain high levels of alcohol). If you need to avoid alcohol for any reason, consult your dentist about non-alcoholic options.
There are two general kinds of mouth rinses, cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash is primarily designed to temporarily freshen breath, and leave your mouth with a great taste. Cosmetic mouthwashes are not designed to help combat cavities, plaque buildup, or gum disease. Those preventions require therapeutic mouthwash.
Therapeutic mouthwash has active ingredients that can help prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath (or halitosis) by killing the bacteria responsible for these problems. Therapeutic mouthwash also contains fluoride, a substance that helps prevent or reduce cavities and other forms of tooth decay. Therapeutic mouthwash can be prescription strength, but most are simply available over the counter.
For best results, look for a fluoridated therapeutic mouthwash with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal ensures that the product has been scientifically evaluated and does what it says it does. In this case, that would be fighting plaque and reducing tooth decay. Talk with your dentist about the kind of mouthwash that is best for your oral health care needs.
Our team at Eric Goldberg, DDS is here to help! Don’t hesitate to call us at 610-363-6181 to schedule your appoint today!