Having a proper oral care regimen is important if you want to effectively prevent those undesirable oral health problems. That is why dental care experts continuously stressthat you should make it a habit to brush and floss your teeth twice a day. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, it is also recommended that you rinse your mouth with a mouthwash that is approved by your dentist. This helps ensure that your entire oral cavity is absolutely clean. Using a mouthwash does not only get rid of bad breath, it also can help in achieving and maintaining optimal dental and oral health through various ways. Heres how your mouthwash is essential to the well-being of your mouth and the choices you have when looking for one.

How Important is Mouthwash?

Your mouth can contain anywhere from 10 to 50 billion bacteria on your teeth, gums, tongue, and the inner lining of your cheeks and lips. One tooth can house around 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria on the tooth surface alone. As quickly as minutes after you have brushed your teeth, a layer that consists of saliva, proteins and bacteria begins to form on the tooths surface, which bacteria can attach to and further grow. This leads to the formation of dental plaque that can cause gum irritations and gingivitis, as well as bad breath and tooth enamel loss.

When you brush and floss your teeth, you clean the surface and spaces between the teeth by removing bacteria. However, you may be unable to remove all of the plaque and bacteria by just brushing and flossing, and this is where mouthwash plays a part. Mouthwash reaches all of the surfaces and crevices of your teeth, as well as your gums, tongue, and the inner lining of your cheeks and lips.

Using mouthwash helps to dislodge and remove remaining food particles in your mouth. Alcohol in mouthwash also penetrates the cell walls of bacteria, rendering them either inactive or killing them.

Mouthwash is an incredibly useful addition to anyones oral care routine. After brushing and flossing your teeth, you should gargle around 20ml of mouthwash for at least 30 seconds, and then spit it out. Avoid eating and drinking for half an hour afterwards for best results. However, it should be noted that mouthwash is useful in addition to brushing and flossing, and cannot be used alone as a substitute for brushing and flossing.

So, what does it do?

  • Freshens breath First and foremost, mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath. With a variety of flavors to choose from, mouthwash kills bacteria associated with causing bad breath.
  • Prevents plaque build-up Various mouthwashes help prevent plaque buildup on your gums, in-between teeth, and on the surface of your teeth in between brushing. Although it prevents the buildup of plaque, it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists on your teeth. So, remember to always brush and floss to remove the plaque before it becomes a problem.
  • Removes particles Aside from killing the germs that pose a threat to the well-being of your teeth and gums, your mouthwash also aids in removing food particles that usually get stuck between your teeth. Dental care experts say that using a mouthwash before brushing your teeth softens up the trapped food particles which makes them a lot easier to clean during brushing.
  • Stop cavities from forming With regular use of mouthwash before and after you brush and floss, you can reduce the chances of cavities forming. Mouthwashes that contain fluoride can prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel. Remember, not all mouthwash contains fluoride. Be sure to check the label on your mouthwash before purchasing.

Types of Mouthwash

Mouthwashes of different types perform different functions. Depending on the active ingredients, they prevent tooth decay, reduce formation of dental plaque, gingivitis and can reduce tooth sensitivity.

  • Antiseptic Mouthwash

Perhaps the most common type of mouthwash is antiseptic mouthwash. Typically containing alcohol, antiseptic mouthwash works to halt the growth of bacteria and stave off infection. They are also useful for people with bad breath. Avoid overuse of these as the high levels of chlorhexidine can cause discoloration of the teeth over a long period of time. But if you do experience this then your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to easily treat it.

  • Fluoride Mouthwash

This is the type of mouthwash that you will typically see used inside the dental office. Not surprisingly, fluoride mouthwash contains sodium fluoride which helps to strengthen teeth as well as protect against tooth decay. Be wary of swallowing large amounts of fluoride mouthwash, as it can be detrimental to your overall health.

  • Cosmetic Mouthwash

Cosmetic mouthwash does nothing for the overall health of your teeth, mouth and gums. These are simply used as a way to freshen your breath before a first date or a big job interview. But dont fool yourself, just because your mouth tastes minty fresh doesnt mean you have combated bacteria that can lead to gun disease and tooth decay.

  • Natural Mouthwash

Natural mouthwash has become quite popular over the past decade as an alternative to the alcohol-based mouthwash products. Natural mouthwashes often work in the exact same way as their counterparts, but can also treat infection or injury.


If you have any questions about mouthwash, call Winning Smiles to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-332-2444.

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