Many dentists agree that if brushing your teeth and flossing are the top priorities for good oral health, then mouthwashwould be the third. Fact is, there is no “all-in-one” solution for proper dental hygiene; multiple approaches are needed.
Mouthwash was originally a tool for fresh breath in a hurry. Over the years dentists, doctors, and scientists have worked together to improve what mouthwash can do for you. This has led us to a variety of mouthwashes each with a different purpose. This article explores some of the products currently on the market, to discover the benefits of using mouthwash.
This is the best place to start, as we mentioned, minty breath, fast and easy was its original purpose. Mouthwash kills the bacteria that causes bad breath, leaving you with sweet, cooling breath.
AVOID PLAQUE BUILDUP
There are some plaque and bacteria in your mouth you can’t reach with the toothbrush alone. That’s where swishing thoroughly with a mouthwash comes in. Plaque is an invisible film made up of bacteria that develops on your teeth every day. It’s the leading cause of gum disease, leading to damage of the soft tissue in your mouth.
If left long enough, plaque can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, which leads to tooth loss. Often referred to as “periodontitis”, gum disease is common and mostly preventable. It’s the result of poor oral hygiene.
SLOW THE GROWTH OF CAVITIES
Choosing a mouthwash with fluoride will help keep your teeth safe from cavities. The fluoride also makes your enamel stronger, which can make brushing a more pleasant experience. Most mouthwashes though, don’t have fluoride, so be sure to check the label before you buy.
A CURE FOR CANKER SORES
A canker sore is a small, shallow aphthous ulcer in your mouth. They develop on the soft tissue in the mouth, usually at the base of your gums. They are not contagious, but they can be painful.
On its own, a canker sore will go away in about two weeks but using mouthwash can cut that healing time in half.
LESS PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS
You might be surprised to read that mouthwash can aid in a safer pregnancy. As we mentioned earlier, mouthwash can prevent periodontal disease. Doctors have learned that periodontal disease is a leading factor in premature labour.
This is due to the bacteria from the mother’s mouth entering her bloodstream. It increases inflammatory markers and often stimulates contractions. Mouthwash helps eliminate oral bacteria from the beginning.
WHAT DOES THE CANADIAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION SAY?
The CDA (Canadian Dental Association) offers a red seal of approval. The seal provides reassurance to consumers that the product in question can benefit their oral health in the ways the manufacturer is claiming. You can search their product database for a particular product here.
ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES?
There are a few disadvantages that come with mouthwash that you may want to consider:
- Ingesting mouthwash can be dangerous for children. It’s advised to only use mouthwash after 6 years of age, but those under 12 should be supervised.
- If you have a sensitive mucus membrane in your mouth, the alcohol can cause a burning sensation.
- An ingredient in some mouthwashes (chlorhexidine gluconate) can darken the teeth if it comes in contact with food additives.