Is Mouthwash Good for your Teeth?

Is Mouthwash Good for your Teeth?

When it comes to dental care and oral hygiene, some people don’t give much attention to the different dental products they are using. And this can be attributed to the innumerable types of products available in the market today and sometimes to sheer lack of interest.

Mouthwash does more than just to freshen your breath. According to the American Dental Association, bacteria-fighting mouth rinse, in addition to brushing and flossing can reduce bacteria in dental plaque, thus helping prevent gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinse helps reduce and prevent tooth decay.

For many people, a good mouthwash before meeting a special someone is as important as brushing your teeth after meal. And while there have been concerns raised about the health risks associated with alcohol-based mouthwash, dentists still recommend and people still use it for many different reasons.

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Advantages of using Mouthwash

  • Fluoride Mouthwash. This type of mouthwash re-mineralizes teeth with weakened enamel. Fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to tooth decay, plaque and cavities. Fluoride mouthwash gets into the spaces between teeth and hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.

  • Antibacterial Mouthwash. This type of mouthwash can help fight periodontal disease by killing bacteria that feed on the food particles that build-up on the teeth. When more acids are produced in the body to kill bacteria, bone loss, and inflamed and infected gums result. This may be prevented by using antibacterial mouthwash.

  • Mouthwash helps during pregnancy or during a systemic disease process. Maintaining good oral hygiene is critically important for pregnant women because they are more susceptible to developing periodontal disease at this stage when their hormones are elevated. Having periodontal disease may be harmful for the unborn child who may suffer from low weight and in severe cases can be fatal. Similarly, people with diabetes and other systemic disease are also susceptible to infection and good oral hygiene and mouthwash will help reduce the bacteria ingested.

  • Dissolves Tartar. Periogen is a type of mouthwash found to dissolve stains, plaque and tartar. This is a great way to prevent teeth from rebuilding tartar between rinsing.

Disadvantages of Using a Mouthwash

  • Canker sore irritant. Having too much of alcohol-based mouthwash can irritate the canker sore. Hence, mouthwash with alcohol content should be avoided.

  • Superficial Masking of Bad Breath. While using a mouthwash can result to a fresher breath, the origin or cause of bad breath is not treated by it. In general, keeping proper oral hygiene should be enforced aside from using mouthwash in order to have long-lasting fresh breath.

  • Saliva Production Stimulated in Semi Dry Mouth. Using alcohol-based mouthwash can cause the stimulation of saliva production in a semi dry mouth. Instead, use alcohol-free mouthwash to avoid the burning sensation of alcohol in the mouth and for people with dry mouth, alcohol-based mouthwash can be quite uncomfortable to use.

As in any other commercial product, mouthwash has its benefits and disadvantages. Bottom line is using mouthwash is an additional way of maintaining good oral hygiene and not to replace good dental hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing and regular visit to the dentist.

Dr. Allan Hawryluk
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Dr. Allan Hawryluk

Allan Hawryluk Jr. is a Mississauga-based dentist who has built a reputation for comprehensive dental care. Born and raised in Port Credit, he returned after completing his dental residency in 2003 at the University of Colorado, Denver Health Sciences Center. He feels privileged to serve the community and is committed to maintaining our clinic standards set by his late father - Dr. Allan R. Hawryluk (Sr).