Should I Use Mouth Wash or Not?
Mouth wash is an oral rinse with antiseptic properties that when swished around and gargled in the mouth provides extra cleaning action. Whether it contains alcohol or not, it should not be swallowed – only moved around for several seconds and then spit back out again.
It’s meant to further reduce microbes and bacteria in the mouth after a proper flossing and brushing routine. It does not replace these important parts of dental care; it’s used to complement them and provide extra benefits. (You should regularly visit your local dental clinic for all your dental needs and to make regular appointments every 6-9 months.) Mouth rinses are usually flavoured and provide a minty, fruity, or spicy taste to freshen breath while removing odours.
Mouthwashes might be recommended for other medical purposes, like as an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, or analgesic. These are specially-formulated mouth washes that differ from the standard breath-fresheners commonly found at the grocery and drugstore.
There is some debate as to whether cosmetic, every day mouth wash is beneficial for a dental care routine. Using an oral rinse after brushing with a toothpaste containing fluoride might lower its effects, like protection against cavities and remineralization of teeth. But mouth washes that contain fluoride fix this issue. Other studies have suggested there may be a link between using mouth wash that contains alcohol and oral cancer. However, these studies were unreliable and focused on excessive mouth wash use.
Mouth washes containing alcohol should be avoided anyway, because they can cause dry mouth and potentially lead to other dental issues. Dry mouth will make bad breath worse because there is less saliva to clean away odour-causing agents. Mouth washes may also cause side effects like affecting one’s ability to taste, and staining of the teeth. In rare instances, redness, ulceration, and soreness can occur, and the use of an oral rinse should be discontinued if this is the case.
Other individuals may have sensitivities to ingredients in mouth wash like fragrances or preservatives. Switching to another brand without these qualities, like an all-natural mouth wash, might solve the problem. Mouth wash can also be diluted if it’s too strong.
Medical rinses that have been recommended or prescribed by a doctor or dentist may be needed to kill harmful bacteria, or to help treat periodontal disease, in which case the benefits and downsides need to be appropriately weighed.
For those in good health using popular brand name and alcohol-free mouth washes, there are rarely any negative side effects experienced. Dentists like to reinforce that mouth wash is never a replacement for proper brushing and flossing. Everyone should brush and floss twice daily and follow the check-up schedule recommended by their dental professionals.
It’s also important to make an appointment if you’re experiencing pain or sensitivity in the teeth or gums because this might be an indicator of a larger problem like a cavity, gum disease, or another more serious condition. These require professional treatment and procedures to rectify – mouth wash, brushing, and flossing alone won’t fix these.