South Anchorage Dental Center

Is Mouthwash Necessary? What You Should Know

April 27, 2023
Is Mouthwash Necessary? What You Should Know

Lately, there’s been some controversy surrounding mouthwash. So, if you’re wondering whether to ditch the mouthwash or keep on swishing, it’s helpful to know the benefits of mouthwash and the drawbacks of certain types. Here’s an overview of the subject to help you decide.

Looking to improve your oral health? Schedule a visit at SADC for complete dental care and customized recommendations.

The Benefits of Mouthwash for Your Oral Health

what can mouthwash do for you infographic

Have you ever wondered if mouthwash is good or bad for your oral health? While mouthwash is not absolutely required for good oral hygiene, it can certainly offer several helpful benefits.

Freshening Breath

Probably the most common reason for using mouthwash is to freshen your breath. It does rinse away odor to a certain extent. However, it might not be enough if you have other odor-causing issues, such as decayed teeth or gut health issues. Your problem might be related to diabetes, acid reflux, or other medical or dental health conditions.

If you suffer from severe bad breath and mouthwash isn’t helping, it’s best to talk to your dentist and primary care doctor to find out if there’s an underlying cause that can be corrected. In Anchorage, you can get halitosis treatment at SADC.

Helps with Dry Socket

If you’ve ever had a tooth extracted, you may be familiar with the term “dry socket.” A dry socket happens when the clot that naturally forms where the tooth used to be is lost or well-formed. The clot is important because it protects your jawbone and the nerves around it, and dry socket can lead to pain and discomfort.

Mouthwash can help you prevent dry sockets. Some dentists recommend gently rinsing with a special mouthwash before an extraction and 24 hours afterward. It’s important to rinse gently after the tooth is removed to avoid disturbing the socket further.

Decreases Dry Mouth

Not all mouthwashes decrease dry mouth, but some do. If you have problems with dry mouth, be sure to get a mouthwash that is specifically formulated to address this problem. Because dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, the right mouthwash could help you avoid cavities.

Helps with Gum Disease

Mouthwash does a good job of reducing the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Because these bacteria can worsen gum disease, rinsing with mouthwash can help you prevent gum disease. Even if you already have gingivitis, using mouthwash can help stop it from getting worse. Of course, if you have gum disease signs, your dentist can also provide treatments to address it.

Soothes Canker Sores

Canker sores are painful white or yellow sores that sometimes form inside the mouth, causing discomfort and pain. Mouthwash can help with this if you swish gently with a non-alcohol-based variety. It reduces the bacteria that cause inflammation at the site of the sore.

Helps Whiten Teeth

Some mouthwashes are marketed as teeth-whitening agents. These toothpastes usually use hydrogen peroxide to whiten the teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for everyone, since it can cause teeth sensitivity. If you do get a mouthwash with peroxide, be sure that is light in color. The darker ones can cause their own stains on your teeth. At SADC, we provide complete professional teeth whitening services for our patients.

Is Mouthwash Safe?

Mouthwash is safe for most people. Just be sure to follow your dentist’s or the package instructions for use. People with mouth sores sometimes find that mouthwash stings. Also, if you can’t tolerate alcohol, it’s important to choose a mouthwash that doesn’t have it.

Mouthwash does kill some good bacteria along with the bad bacteria, but it isn’t enough to significantly hurt your oral health. What’s more, there’s no evidence that probiotic mouthwashes help with this. Getting rid of excessive bad bacteria helps you save your teeth and prevent oral health issues.

If you use alcohol-based mouthwashes too much, it can cause mouth dryness. If that happens, your teeth may become sensitive, you may develop more cavities, and the bad breath could become worse. However, using it as directed doesn’t have a negative effect.

One thing to always remember is that mouthwashes were never designed to be consumed. Be sure you don’t ever swallow any mouthwash.

What Mouthwash Can and Can’t Do

While you might find it helpful to use mouthwash, there are certain things it can never do. Mouthwash can’t:

  • Take the place of brushing and flossing
  • Cure gum disease on its own
  • Cure chronic bad breath
  • Eliminate the need for regular teeth cleanings

However, one thing mouthwash can do very well is to get between the teeth to reach tooth surfaces you can’t get to with your toothbrush or floss. Just remember that children under six years old should not use mouthwash, as it is too common for them to swallow it.

Getting the best routine dental care will help you recognize challenges to your oral health.

How to Choose the Best Mouthwash

Don’t just look at the impressive packaging when you’re choosing the right mouthwash for you. It’s important to look at two key factors when selecting a mouthwash: the ingredients and the ADA seal.

Consider Ingredients

Looking at the ingredients will help you determine if mouthwash is right for you. Alcohol has antibacterial properties, but if you can’t tolerate alcohol, you should avoid mouthwashes that have it. If you see xylitol in the ingredients, then that mouthwash should help with dry mouth.

The following ingredients may be found in antimicrobial mouthwashes:

  • Chlorhexidine
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride

To fight bad breath, the following ingredients might be added:

  • Zinc salts
  • Ketone
  • Terpene
  • Ionone

Other ingredients you might find in mouthwashes include:

  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol
  • Fluoride

If your SADC dentist prescribes a mouthwash to help with an oral health problem, it will have the ingredients needed to do that. Of course, if you have any questions, your dentist can answer them for you. Follow the instructions you get from your dental team, and remember that using a prescription mouthwash more than recommended won’t improve your oral health any faster and could be harmful.

Look for ADA Approval

A good mouthwash should always have the ADA Seal of Approval. To get this seal, the mouthwash company has to submit evidence that its product is safe and effective for the conditions it claims to help. It also ensures that it isn’t a banned product and doesn’t have harmful ingredients.

South Anchorage Dental Center: Your Oral Care Expert

At South Anchorage Dental Center, we provide all the expert insights you need to take care of your oral health. You can rely on the SADC team to give you the most up-to-date information. We aim to make all your dental care visits convenient, affordable, and as comfortable as possible. Our team is dedicated to providing friendly, professional treatments tailored to meet your needs.

Because we care for you and your family’s dental care needs, we perform every procedure to the highest standards. We also make it more affordable with the SADC dental savings plan. Our goal is to make good dental care accessible for people in and around Anchorage. With our help, you can avoid oral health problems, get the treatments you need, and have a brighter, longer-lasting smile!

Would you like fresher breath and a beautiful smile? Contact the dental care experts at SADC today!

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