Use of an anti bacterial mouthwash can be an important part of everyone’s dental hygiene. Many people have been instructed to brush and floss regularly but did you know that using an anti bacterial mouthrinse can be just as important? Walking down the aisle of any grocery or drug store can be quite confusing as there are a ton of options.

Types Of Mouthwash

Therapeutic Mouthwash. This type of mouthwash is meant to fight off dental diseases like tooth decay and periodontal disease. These will have anti bacterial and anti plaque (tartar control) properties. By reducing plaque and tartar you will decrease the risk of periodontal disease as well as decrease gum inflammation. They may also contain fluoride which will help in the fight against tooth decay.

Cosmetic Mouthwash. These include agents to freshen your breath. They can also include whitening agents. Generally, these mouthwashes do not include any therapeutic agents.

Therapeutic Mouthwash Advantages

-Mouthwash With Fluoride. Fluoride mouthwashes have the ability to possibly help decrease the risk of tooth decay. There have been numerous research studies over the years to prove that fluoride can strengthen and reduce the breakdown of enamel thereby reducing the possibility of tooth cavities. This will not work for all but has been proven to be a benefit for many. Some fluorides are also good antibacterials and help fight periodontal disease (example – stannous fluoride).

-Periodontal Disease Fighter. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque from bacteria and food that sticks to teeth. As the bacteria feed on the food particles they release acids that will break down the bone and cause inflammation of the gum tissue. Our body responds and causes bone loss and inflamed, infected gums. An antibacterial mouthwash may help prevent periodontal disease by decreasing the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth. There is also type of rinse (Periogen) that has been found to dissolve tartar, stains, and plaque. This rinse is a great way to keep your teeth from rebuilding tartar between cleanings. This is a powder that can be diluted with water in a waterpik and tends to be even more effective if a capful of your fluoride rinse is added to it.

-Help Keep Pregnancy Gingivitis At Bay. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at all times but for certain groups it is even more important. For pregnant women it can be critical to control oral health. During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are elevated which makes them more susceptible to developing periodontal disease if their dental hygiene is not maintained. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to low weight and pre term babies.

Help Diabetics. Patients with systemic diseases that make them more susceptible to infection like diabetics need to reduce the bacteria they are ingesting. It is even more critical to maintain good oral hygiene and mouthwashes are definitely recommended for those patients.

Therapeutic Mouthwash Disadvantages

-Canker Sore Irritant. This is caused when the alcohol content in your mouthwash is too high. It will irritate the canker sore and make it quite uncomfortable to use.

-Cover Up For Bad Breath. Use of a mouthwash can definitely lead to fresher breath but it is usually only for a short period of time. Only some mouthwashes are formulated to actually neutralize odor causing chemicals (example Closys). Not maintaining your dental hygiene, or chemicals from your diet are usually the underlying factors in most people’s bad breath but the mouthwash will just mask it for a short time.

Alcohol Based Mouthwash. Studies (Listerine) have shown that rinses with alcohol, if used as directed can actually cause saliva production to be stimulated in a semi dry mouth. The alcohol in mouth rinses has historically been used as a way to cause the essential oils (the bacteria killing aspect) in the rinse to keep from separating out in the liquid, and staying mixed. No one wants to rinse with something oily feeling. There are now quite a few alternatives to alcohol to do the job, so alcohol free rinses have become more prevalent. Many people do not like the burning sensation of alcohol, and in people with little to no saliva flow, alcohol based rinses can be quite uncomfortable. The choice is based on personal preferences.

Mouthwash Use Conclusion

Using a mouthwash can be another tool to keep your mouth healthy and free of periodontal disease. If you decide to use a mouthwash as part of your dental hygiene routine remember to continue brushing and flossing as well. They work together not separately. There are a lot of mouthwashes on the market today, talk to your dentist to see which one is right for you.