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Does Mouthwash Work?

Whether you’re a regular mouthwash user or haven’t yet made it part of your daily routine, you may be wondering whether rinsing with mouthwash actually works. After all, can a 30-second swish-around really make a difference to your oral health?

While we’re all aware of the importance of brushing (which removes food, bacteria, and plaque) and flossing (to reach where your toothbrush can’t), most of us are unsure about the role of mouthwash and whether it can improve our oral hygiene.

We’re taking a closer look at this and concluding whether a daily rinse can really have an impact on the health of your teeth.

Does Mouthwash Work?

Firstly, the all-important question - does mouthwash actually work?

The short answer is yes, it can help to reduce certain dental issues like plaque and gingivitis.

However, it’s important to understand that mouthwash alone isn’t enough for good oral health. It’s not a cure for bad breath and it definitely needs to be supported by twice-daily brushing, proper flossing, and regular check-ups with your dental practitioner.

Here are some of the benefits that rinsing with mouthwash can bring:

  • It can provide an instant burst of freshness, leaving you with fresher breath and a healthier-feeling mouth.
  • Regular rinsing with a fluoride-based variation may help protect against cavities and gum disease. (Take care not to dilute a fluoride option with water, as this prevents the fluoride from coating your teeth).
  • In general it can help to lower the amount of bacteria and plaque in your mouth.

Understanding what’s in your mouthwash:

If you’ve ever browsed the supermarket shelves for a bottle, you’ll know there’s a huge range of products on the market. Understanding what ingredients your mouthwash contains can help you select the right product for your needs.

  • Alcohol (or other antimicrobial agents): Helps to kill bacteria and germs that can lead to tooth decay and bad breath
  • Detergents: Assist with removing food debris and loose plaque
  • Flavours and colours: Improve the appearance and taste
  • Preservatives: Stop bacteria from growing inside
  • Water: Dissolves the other ingredients
  • Fluoride: This can help improve teeth’s resistance to acid attacks and protect against tooth decay

How to choose the right mouthwash:

Feeling confused about the vast array of products on offer? If you’re struggling to select a mouthwash that’s right for you, you might find the following tips useful:

  • If you suffer from dry mouth...choose a product that’s alcohol-free, as alcohol is a drying agent and can make the condition worse.
  • If you want extra protection against tooth decay...opt for a product that contains fluoride (but take care not to swallow after rinsing, as too much fluoride can be toxic).
  • If you have issues with gum disease...consider a mouthwash with chlorhexidine (Savacol or Corsodyl), but be sure to talk to your dentist before purchasing an over-the-counter remedy.
  • If you’re after fresher breath...go ahead and pick a product you like the smell of.
  • If you’d like a bit of can find products that contain chlorhexidine and fluoride, and are also alcohol-free!

Did you know? You can find a list of approved mouthwash products on the Australian Dental Association website.

Using a saltwater mouthwash:

Rinsing with a saltwater mouthwash can be an effective short-term solution which is more natural than shop-bought products.

As salt is a natural disinfectant and can help to reduce tissue swelling, dental practitioners often recommend salt water rinsing after dental surgery (such as when you’ve had teeth removed), as well as if you’re suffering from an infection or mouth ulcers.

The use of a saltwater variation is usually recommended for a period of 2-3 weeks, as long-term use can soften and erode the tooth enamel, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and chipping.

If you need more advice on mouthwash to help with a particular dental or oral health condition, make an appointment with your North Shore Dentistry practitioner today.

To see is you’re a candidate for Invisalign or Braces contact North Shore Dentistry. today!

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