Mouthwash, also called mouthrinse, can be a great addition to your oral care routine. Traditionally, mouthwashes have been used to help reduce bad breath; however, only some types of mouthwash can help reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Using the right type of mouthwash (therapeutic) can reduce plaque and gingivitis, prevent tooth decay and freshen breath as cosmetic mouthwash will only have temporary results to reduce bad breath.
There are different types of mouthwash – fluoride, cosmetic, antiseptic and natural. Let’s go over each of them:
- Fluoride mouthwash can help protect the teeth from cavities and tooth decay. Before using, be sure to talk to your dentist to make sure regular use is necessary.
- Cosmetic mouthwash can help mask bad breath (halitosis) temporarily but will not reduce risk of gum disease or tooth decay. Typically, flavoring agents will only last for a few hours.
- Antiseptic mouthwash is available over the counter and by prescription. This type has active ingredients that can help control plaque, gum disease and tooth decay. This is the most common mouthwash to use when fighting a mouth infection to stop bacterial growth.
- Natural mouthwash is a popular alternative to alcohol-based rinses that falls in the cosmetic mouthwash category.
Whichever type you choose, mouthwash should not replace daily brushing and flossing. If you are unsure, we encourage you to discuss with your dentist to find out their recommendation. And as a reminder, children under the age of six, should not use mouthwash. Swallowing mouth wash should be avoided as it can cause vomiting and intoxication.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist to see if you need a mouthwash and what type to use. Still need to look for a dentist in your area? Search for one here.