Mouthwash does more than freshen breath. It can also help to control plaque and tartar, the substances that cause cavities and gum disease. One way to choose the right mouthwash is by following some tips from your dentist. A good brand will contain fluoride, help to neutralize malodors, and be comfortable to use on a regular basis.
Why Fluoride Is Essential
The addition of fluoride to drinking water was one of the wisest public health investments ever made. Fluoride, along with regular brushing and flossing, eating a sensible diet, and periodic dental appointments, has greatly improved overall dental health.
Unfortunately, many people today don’t get as much fluoride as they should. The growing popularity of bottled water is one cause for this problem, along with increasing use of non-fluoridated toothpastes.
A great way to get back many of the benefits fluoride offers is by using a brand of mouthwash that contains this important natural mineral. Look for this information on the product packaging.
Stopping Bad Breath Where It Starts
The most popular reason people use mouthwash is to freshen their breath. Additives like zinc help to neutralize odors without irritating the user’s mouth tissues. Plus, there’s nothing like the crisp, fresh feeling that comes from rinsing with a good name-brand mouthwash. Think of it as an added reward for taking care of your teeth and gums.
Comfort is Key
The most effective mouthwash in the world will do you little good if you find it unpleasant to use. This most often happens with brands that contain alcohol, which can irritate mouth sores or sensitive gums. You may want to try one of the many alcohol-free versions on the market, which accomplish many of the same benefits as traditional formulas.
What About Prescription Mouthwash?
Prescription mouthwashes contain powerful anti-plaque additives that can help to control or even reverse the symptoms of gum disease. One of the most common ingredients in these products is chlorhexidine, which is prescribed after the patient undergoes tooth scaling and root planing. It helps to kill harmful bacteria and maintain the benefits of treatment over the long term.
The chief drawback of prescription mouthwashes is that they can sometimes cause teeth staining. For this reason, they are usually only prescribed for short periods of time. Your dentist will probably recommend that you avoid drinking strongly colored beverages like red wine, coffee, and tea while using one of these products.
No matter what mouthwash you ultimately choose, remember to follow the directions on the label. If the product contains alcohol, then you can reduce any discomfort you may feel by rinsing with water afterward.
It’s a good idea to look for a brand of mouthwash with the ADA seal of acceptance on the packaging. This means it has been reviewed for safety and effectiveness by dental experts.
Choosing a mouthwash may not be the biggest decision of your life. But it can make a huge difference to your overall dental health, which makes it worth a little time and research. The efforts you put forth will pay for themselves many times over with a brighter, more beautiful smile.
About the Author
Dr. Suzan Rismani-Flenniken studied dentistry in both France and the US and has been serving patients in private practice for over 10 years. You can reach her office online or by calling (703) 714-7374.