There you are, standing in the oral care aisle of the grocery store with glazed eyes and a blank expression. You just needed a simple bottle of mouthwash, but as you stare at the wall of options, you’re at a complete loss for what to buy! It seems like there are countless formulas to choose from. Should you get the antiseptic formula? Or how about the anti-cavity one?
If you can relate to this scenario, don’t worry – we understand! As a dentist, we answer a lot of questions about the many products available in the stores, so we thought we’d write a blog about this topic and clear up some of the confusion!
What Are Your Choices?
It may seem obvious, but the best way to choose a mouthwash depends on your specific needs. We’ll outline the choices and who can benefit the most from them below!
- Cavity Prevention – If you seem to have cavities every time you go in for your checkup, an anti-cavity rinse, sometimes called a fluoride rinse, is your best bet. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your teeth, much the same way calcium strengthens your bones. It’s already in most toothpaste, but since it’s rinsed away so quickly, it’s helpful to put another coating on the teeth. Just remember not to rinse after spitting this mouthwash out or you’ll wash away the good benefits.
- Anti-bacterial – These typically have a higher content of alcohol in them to kill bacteria in the mouth, especially in the nooks and crannies you might be missing with your toothbrush and floss! They’re great for persistent bad breath and gingivitis, but can be harsher than other formulas.
- Breath Freshening – If you just want a way to occasionally freshen your breath without the “burn” of alcohol, these are a great way to do that because they taste minty and mild.
- For Gum Disease – If you have gum disease, you’ll want to talk with your dentist and hygienist about the best tools and products to use at home. They can prescribe a prescription-strength rinse that’s typically only used for two weeks at a time. It’s a more effective way to target the specific type of bacteria that cause gum disease.
Some brands also offer “all-in-one” options that combine multiple benefits in the same formula. These are certainly worthwhile if you have multiple needs to address – just experiment to find the one that works best for you!
How Should Mouthwash Be Used?
Mouthwash is a great addition to your hygiene routine. However, some people think that mouthwash can take the place of brushing and flossing. This isn’t the case! You need mechanical, scrubbing action of brushing and flossing to really get the job done.
Having said that, using the right mouthwash is a great way to get some additional benefit from your efforts at home. And now that you know more about your choices, you won’t have to spend as much time in the grocery store making a decision!
About the Author
Dr. Neil Flenniken and Dr. Suzan Rismani-Flenniken are a husband-and-wife team who are dedicated to providing outstanding comprehensive dental care to their community. They understand that the selection of oral care products can be overwhelming and always help their patients find the best products for their needs. If you have any questions, they can be reached via their website or at (703) 714-7374.