Is Mouthwash Necessary?

Mouthwash comes in therapeutic and cosmetic varieties.

Swish on This!

The mouthwash section in the dental area of your local store can be quite extensive. There are those giant bottles of mouthwash on the lower shelf that seem designed for a large mammal. The colors range from refreshing blue and green, dazzling reds, clean and plain clears, potent-looking purples and medicinal-colored yellows. It can be hard enough to pick out which toothbrush to use (soft bristled, please) or which toothpaste (American Dental Association approved for sure) without one more decision. Is mouthwash even necessary?

This is definitely a topic to bring up on your next appointment or regular checkup at the Sacramento Dentistry Group. We can help you to decide if adding a mouthwash, or mouth rinse, to your daily dental routine is recommended, so please talk to us about it. And despite all those brands and styles to choose from, there are really just two basic categories of mouthwashes — cosmetic and therapeutic.

What’s a Cosmetic Mouthwash?

Cosmetic mouthwashes are a refreshing addition to your dental routine, but the effects are superficial and short-lived. These rinses leave your mouth tingling, refreshed and with super good breath, but there are no lasting results. If used as part of your scheduled brushing and flossing, such mouthwash will do no harm. Just as a splash of aftershave or a spritz of body spray can put you in the mood to face the day, go ahead and use a flavor and product that leaves your mouth refreshed.

What’s a Therapeutic Mouthwash?

Therapeutic mouthwashes, some of which require a prescription, have powerful results. Containing such ingredients as cetylpyridinium chloride, essential oils, chlorhexidine, peroxide and fluoride, these mouth rinses do more than make your mouth tingle. Reduction of bad breath, control of plaque and gingivitis, prevention of tooth decay and teeth whitening mouthwashes are available over-the-counter or by prescription, depending on their ingredients and formula. Those containing chlorhexidine for gingivitis must be obtained by prescription.

Be sure to look for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval on any mouthwash or rinse you choose. A company earns this seal on a dental product by proving through scientific evidence that it is both useful and safe. Because mouthwash is designed to swish and not swallow, never let young children or those without good reflexes use these products. In fact, due to their appealing colors, it’s best to keep them out of the reach of children. They are not for ingesting (especially those containing menthol)!

Whether you’re using mouthwash under the direction of your dentist or just because you love the feeling, never allow it to replace the solid and proven practices of brushing and flossing. Swish — don’t swallow — and then smile, because you take great care of your teeth.

Sacramento Dentistry
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