Regarding preventative dental care, brushing and flossing are considered the gold standard for proper oral hygiene. But what about a third step in the routine? The use of mouthwash after brushing and flossing is often considered an optional step; but should it be mandatory?
To determine if you could personally benefit from mouthwash (or mouth rinse), you must first understand the different types of mouthwash on the market as well as their proposed treatment or capabilities. If you go to your local grocery store, you are likely to be overwhelmed by the number of different mouthwashes on the shelves. However, they can all be essentially broken down into two main categories: therapeutic and cosmetic.
Cosmetic mouthwash represents what many people consider mouthwash is used for, a breath freshener. Keep in mind that these types of mouthwash do not contain any anti-bacterial or anti-plaque agents. Rather, they are simply to temporarily mask bad breath.
Therapeutic mouthwash, however, should be highly considered for your morning or nighttime sink routine. These do have the capabilities to fight cavities and plaque as well as ward off gum disease. Therapeutic mouthwash can be further broken down into two more categories, those that target cavities and those that target gum disease. If you are prone to cavities and do not get enough fluoride in your drinking water, you may want to opt for a mouthwash that contains fluoride. On the other hand, if you are concerned more with gum disease prevention, look for a mouthwash that advertises tartar control. By controlling tarter effectively, your risk for gum disease and gum inflammation dramatically decreases.
Regardless of the type of mouthwash you decide to reach for, make sure it is labeled with the ADA Seal of Approval. If you are unsure of which mouthwash your mouth needs most, ask your dentist. Group Health Dental advises patients on the specific oral hygiene routine that will most benefit your healthy smile. If a simple swish and rinse could save you time in the dental chair, why wouldn’t you add mouthwash to your daily routine?