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How does mouthwash work?

Posted by  on 03-07-2019

Many people have an idea that mouthwash is good for their oral health but may not know the specifics of how mouthwash helps. There are many potential benefits of mouthwash but these benefits depend on the product and how you’re using it. So, how does mouthwash work?

There are two categories of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes strictly leave a fresh scent and taste in the mouth. These mouthwashes can help cover up bad breathe temporarily.

Therapeutic mouthwashes have active ingredients that are intended to address specific oral health concerns. These mouthwashes may be designed to fight the bacteria that cause bad breath or gingivitis. They could also be designed to provide fluoride to the teeth, control tartar buildup or soothe painful mouth sores.

How to Choose a Mouthwash

When selecting a mouthwash, think about your oral health needs. Prioritize your top two or three reasons for wanting to use mouthwash, and then look for a mouthwash that addresses those issues. For example, if you’re concerned with surface stains on your teeth, look for a whitening mouthwash. If gum health is your concern, you may want to select a mouthwash that kills the bacteria that cause gingivitis.

With so many types of mouthwash available, you’re sure to find a product that suits your current needs. For help choosing the best mouthwash, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist.

Tips for Using Mouthwash

You’re already a pro at brushing and flossing, but you may have some questions about the proper use of mouthwash. You may be wondering whether mouthwash should be used before or after brushing.

Manufacturers may recommend a certain order to maximize the product’s effectiveness, so you should check the label of your chosen mouthwash. In cases where the manufacturer doesn’t make a recommendation, you can rinse either before or after you brush, depending on your preference.

The ideal frequency of mouthwash use is another question you may have.  This depends on the reason you’re using the mouthwash. For people who simply want to keep their teeth clean, the recommendation is swishing with mouthwash twice per day. For people who want the benefits of fluoride, once per day is enough.

While mouthwash can be a good addition to an oral hygiene routine, it’s not a replacement for proper brushing and flossing. Make sure to keep brushing twice per day and flossing once per day, even when you’re using mouthwash.

Choosing the right mouthwash doesn’t have to be complicated. When you go to the store, keep your main oral health concerns in mind and select a product that meets those specific needs. If you’re still not sure which mouthwash is right for you, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice.

Be sure to ask Dr. Appleton or any hygienist at the office if you have any questions about the proper use of mouthwash.


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