It is estimated that sixty five percent of people in America have bad breath with over 40 percent suffering from chronic halitosis. 35 to 45 percent of people around the world suffer from some kind of bad breath at some point in their life.
A mouthwash is one of the many alternatives that people use to counteract bad breath and wash away the plaque and food particles stuck in their teeth. It can be used after brushing and can be part of your daily oral care regimen. While being one of the best protections you can have against tooth decay and periodontal disease, a mouthwash can also wash away mucus and food waste that is lying deep inside the throat. Before incorporating mouth rinse in your daily oral care routine, let us understand what a mouthwash is and how to choose the best mouthwash for your needs.
What does a mouthwash contain?
Each mouthwash is different in terms of ingredients, however, there are a few ingredients such as eucalyptol or menthol (mint flavor) that are present in almost all mouthwashes. In order to sweeten the taste, mouthwashes generally include saccharin water and sucralose, coloring enzymes, and fluoride in them. Some brands have common antiseptics such as cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine gluconate and preservatives like sodium benzoate or methylparaben. Many mouthwash brands include alcohol because of its antibacterial properties and the strong flavor.
A mouthwash does not substitute the oral hygiene routine you may be following. The main purpose of using mouthwashes is to freshen up your breath, but in cases of chronic bad breath, I would recommend that you consult a dentist to diagnose the root cause of your condition.
How to choose the best mouthwash for you
Different types of mouthwashes play a different role in improving your oral condition. Here are some of the major types of mouthwashes to help you choose the best one for your needs:
- Fluoride mouthwash: Fluoride mouthwash contains sodium fluoride that helps in strengthening the root of the teeth and adding extra protection against the decay. However, the fluoride content is also present in toothpastes, which is more than enough for our needs. Therefore, be cautious with excess fluoride consumption as that may be harmful.
- Cosmetic mouthwashes: These kinds of mouthwashes do not offer the same protection as other types; rather they are used as a way to cover up bad breath or halitosis. They help keep teeth clean, but do not reduce the risk of dental cavities.
- Antiseptic mouthwashes: These types of mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine gluconate, which is a chemical that prevents bacterial growth in the mouth. Antiseptic mouthwashes can be beneficial for individuals with mouth infection or conditions like halitosis. They are effective because they can prevent the build up of plaque up to a certain extent. Using such mouthwashes along with a dental floss can deliver best outcomes.
- Antiplaque Mouthwashes: These mouthwashes prevent accumulation of plaque and thus reduce the possibility of gingivitis (gum inflammation). The active ingredients in such mouthwashes include Thymol, Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC), Chlorhexidine Gluconate, Triclosan, etc. However, prolonged use of such mouthwashes can stain your teeth and may alter the taste of your mouth. It is suggested to always consult a dentist before using antiplaque mouthwashes.
- Desensitizing mouthwashes: These types of mouthwashes contain active ingredients such as Arginine that is helpful in sealing the dentinal tubules around the sensitive areas.
- Natural Mouthwashes: These alcohol-free mouthwashes function in the same way as the ones that contain alcohol. Such mouthwashes when combined with a pinch of salt and warm water can be helpful after the tooth extraction. They can also treat an infection of the oral cavity or an injury.
- Total Care Mouthwashes: Such mouthwashes contain potent antibacterial ingredients that are helpful in preventing gum problems and reducing plaque.
Using mouthwashes clearly has many advantages, but it is important to understand that not all mouthwashes are the same. WHile homemade mouthwashes made up of saltwater are safe to use, the ones that are sold in stores contain a variety of components ranging from chlorhexidine to alcohol to fluorine.
Few of the disadvantages of using a mouthwash
Irritate canker sores:
If the alcohol content in the mouthwash is too high, you may end up irritating the canker sores rather than soothing them.
Camouflage bad breath:
Mouthwash may help to freshen up the breath but its effect will not stay for long. If an individual is not serious about the oral hygiene and does not brush properly then no amount of mouthwash can offer sustainable relief.
Linked to mouth cancer:
Some people believe that mouthwashes cause mouth cancer. This is something that has been discussed since 1970 with no definitive answers.
A mouthwash should not be used as a substitute for brushing. Although, they may be helpful in reducing the risk of cavities and periodontal disease, they must always be used in concurrence with healthy oral hygiene practices. Eventually, what is best for your friend may not be the good for you, so do take into account your personal condition before choosing the kind of mouthwash you will use.
For more information on mouthwashes and the best one for you, call Cosmetic Dentist in Boca Raton at (561) 232-2070