Mouthwash is the forgotten child of the oral health family. It is not mentioned as frequently as brushing and flossing, both of which are considered essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy. However, there are a number of benefits to using mouthwash regularly. These are some of the reasons you might want to consider incorporating mouthwash into your teeth cleaning routine.
It Prevents Plaque Buildup
Mouthwash protects your teeth and gums from forming new plaque build-up, though it can’t wash away plaque that is already there. However, since it is a liquid, it is sometimes easier for mouthwash to reach all the crevices between your teeth and under your gum line than it is for a brush.
It Kills Germs
Bacteria is the cause of most types of gum disease, and using mouthwash regularly can help kill bacteria along the gum line. Killing bacteria in the mouth freshens your breath, which is one of the main uses most people associate mouthwash with. What is less well-known, however, is that mouthwash is not merely covering up your bad breath smell with a minty perfume, but rather stopping the cause of bad breath.
It Prevents Tooth Decay
Many products mouthwash contain fluoride, which strengthens the enamel of your teeth and prevents cavities from forming. Keep in mind that this is only a feature of mouthwashes that actually contain fluoride, so make sure you check the label on any purchase you make. Despite some claims about the dangers of fluoride in dental care products, no link has been found between using dental fluoride and any disease. Every major medical association in the United States has deemed fluoride safe for use on teeth.
It Rinses Away Crumbs
Fluoride also rinses away small particles of food that are left in the mouth after eating. If these particles are allowed to remain in the mouth for too long, they can attract hungry bacteria that lead to tooth decay.
How to Use Mouthwash
When using mouthwash, a quick swish is not enough. You should swish mouthwash around in your mouth for around 30 seconds to ensure a thorough cleaning. Brush, floss and do other daily dental care before using the mouthwash. Do not eat or drink anything but water, or smoke for at least a half hour after rinsing with mouthwash to get the best results.
Mouthwash can’t protect your teeth on its own. Use it in addition to regular brushing and flossing, not instead of it.