Mouthwash, What Kind Should You Use?
Mouthwash and You!
What is mouthwash? Why do we use it? Can I just use mouthwash, in place of brushing and flossing? Do I need to use it? What does mouthwash actually DO?
These questions and more are what I want to answer in this article. There are many types of mouthwash out there and each of them have their own ingredients. Some are better than others. Some may even not be that good for you. Some are made with all natural ingredients and some aren’t.
Let’s wade through this sea of mouthwash and attempt to understand what it is a little better.
What is the purpose of mouthwash?
Mouthwash is another tool that we use in oral health. It’s one of many. It can be used for many purposes. I’ll list some of the more common uses:
- Antiseptic Solution: Mouthwash is most commonly used to reduce the microbial load inside the mouth. This in turn will reduce dental plaque buildup, as well as reduce odor causing bacteria amounts.
- Fluoridation Assistance: Many mouthwashes are sold that contain fluoride. Fluoride is used to help remineralize tooth enamel caused by the acid produced by certain types of bacteria in the mouth. Fluoride, in essence, can help strengthen tooth enamel.
- Dry Mouth Treatment: There are some mouthwashes that are made specifically for those that suffer from dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by several different factors, however, the symptoms that one gets from dry mouth are both damaging to teeth and gums, but also sometimes embarrassing. Having a dry mouth actually helps the colonization of bacteria. When bacteria are allowed to colonize on teeth and gums, this will bring about tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease). Without the “cleansing” affect of saliva, bacteria can produce at rapid rates. Due to the lack of “cleansing” saliva, odor causing bacteria also are allowed to run rampant through the nooks and crannies in the mouth, causing halitosis. Some mouthwashes are prescribed by doctors and dentists as a sort of artificial saliva. These types of mouthwash help keep the mouth moist so that cleansing action can take place.
- Bad Breath: Bad breath can be calmed (at least somewhat) by the use of mouthwash. Bad breath is commonly caused by certain bacteria in your mouth. Certain mouthwashes help kill bacteria and also help to rinse the mouth of large quantities of bacteria. Brushing and flossing also remove plaque and bacteria in the mouth, so only using mouthwash is not going to resolve bad breath totally. All three (brushing, flossing, and rinsing using mouthwash) are what is most recommended.
I gave you just some of the uses. There are more. Next I’ll go into what type of mouthwash you may want to use.
Different types of mouthwash.
There are many different types of mouth wash. From alcohol-based to all natural.
One thing that I keep reading about in my reading of mouthwash is that, alcohol-based mouthwashes can actually dry your mouth out. As I stated above in this article, having a dry mouth is not a good thing. It leads to faster colonization on bacteria, and therefore, a faster growing amount of different types of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria cause tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. So, as you can see, alcohol-based mouthwash may not be your best bet.
Many different alcohol free mouthwashes have been popping up recently. These have far less of a tendency to dry your mouth out after use, and also have stated that they kill odor causing bacteria, helping to alleviate bad breath. Different mouthwashes have different ingredients in them, but one for one, alcohol-free mouthwashes are just that…alcohol free.
There are some great (in my opinion) all natural mouth rinses. For instance, there is one type we sell at the office because we have seen first hand its efficacy. They too range in their types of ingredients. The one we use here contains such things as: echinacea, peppermint essential oils, thyme, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and lavender. A lot of these natural ingredients also have antibacterial properties. Here’s just one study done on essential oils and their antibacterial properties.
When it comes down to it, what you feel comfortable using is what you should use in terms of mouthwash. Some are good for dry mouth, some are natural, some contain alcohol (less recommended), and then again some are alcohol free.
I hope I’ve given you some new information on mouthwash and it’s uses.
Stay healthy my friends.