If you take a walk on the dental aisle at your local pharmacy or grocery store, the options in toothpastes, toothbrushes, dental floss, and mouthwash are almost endless. You understand that brushing is essential in keeping your teeth clean and freshening your breath, you understand that flossing is the most important thing you can do to maintain optimal oral health (and we hope you are flossing daily!), but what about mouthwash? Is mouthwash necessary for keeping your mouth healthy? The answer is both yes and no.
Yes, mouthwash is beneficial to many people. Those who are prone to cavities will find an added amount of protection when they use a “cavity fighting” mouthwash each day. Choosing a mouthwash that contains fluoride will help to protect the teeth with an added measure of defense against the formation of cavities.
Mouthwash can also help those with gingivitis. An antibacterial mouthwash can help fight against periodontal disease because it has the ingredients of alcohol and chlorhexidine which are known for killing bacteria. If the gums and/or tooth sockets are inflamed or irritated, rinsing the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash can help to kill the overgrowth of bacteria so that the gums can heal. Your dentist can recommend the best type of mouthwash to fight against gum disease.
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from using mouthwash during and after pregnancy. The huge fluctuation in hormones can cause the gum tissues to become extremely vulnerable to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has a direct link to preterm birth, low birth weight babies, and miscarriage. Because the gums are living tissues within the mouth, even a small amount of bacteria in the gums can travel through the blood stream and causing serious concerns to pregnant women and their unborn babies.
However, the truth of the matter is that mouthwash is not necessary for those who practice daily proper oral health practices. Flossing daily, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, keeping a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist on a regular basis are enough to keep your mouth clean. Mouthwash is meant to provide an added measure of protection. If you are looking for a means to keep your mouth as clean as possible by warding off cavities and gum disease, adding mouthwash to your routine certainly won’t hurt. Just remember that flossing and brushing are even more important!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Dave Mahon, Siena Dental
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