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Should I Use Mouthwash?

We know that having a dental hygiene routine keeps our oral health in check, but aside from daily brushing and flossing, should our routine include any other steps? Should you be using a daily mouthwash? Today we’re going to cover the different types of mouthwash, what they do, and the positives and negatives associated with usage.

What exactly is mouthwash and are there different types?

Mouthwash (along with floss) was designed to help remove bacteria that brushing can easily miss due to the narrow spaces between teeth. There are two main types of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic. 

  • Therapeutic mouthwashes - According to the American Dental Association (ADA), therapeutic mouthwash includes active ingredients that help eliminate “bacteria and can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath.” This type of mouthwash can also include fluoride, which helps to reduce the risk of cavities. Most therapeutic mouthwashes can be found over-the-counter, while some require a prescription.

  • Cosmetic mouthwashes temporarily reduce bad breath, but do not reduce your risk of cavities or gum disease. This type of mouthwash can easily be found over-the-counter and online at your favorite retailers.

It’s important to remember that when selecting a brand of mouthwash, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Is there a specific time to use a mouthwash?

There is no hard and fast rule about when to use mouthwash. But according to the ADA, some manufacturers may recommend a specific order for their use, depending on ingredients, to maximize the benefits. It all comes down to personal preference. At Midlothian Dental, our dentists and dental hygienists typically use mouthwash as a final step in their daily dental hygiene routine.

A few precautions when using mouthwash

Mouthwashes typically have a high volume of both alcohol and fluoride. Therefore, ingesting mouthwash should be avoided. This is also why mouthwashes aren’t recommended for children under the age of 6. If a child is too young, they may have a hard time refraining from swallowing the mouthwash.

If you have any lesions in your mouth, consult with a dentist before using a mouthwash. Some types of mouthwash could irritate lesions or open wounds. Open sores could also be a sign of an underlying health issue so we recommend consulting your dentist first. 

If you have questions about which oral care products may be right for you, make an appointment with your Midlothian Dentist for a check-up by calling (804)293-2646.