Where does mouthwash fit in your oral care routine?

The Myth of Mouthwash
Contrary to popular opinion, mouthwash is not actually a necessity in all cases.

We all know we should brush twice a day, and whilst we may not stick rigidly to it, we also know we should floss and use interdental brushes.  Some of us believe that if we round that off with a good minute of mouthwash, we are using the best oral hygiene routine.  Not necessarily so! 
If your dentist or hygienist hasn’t advised the use of mouthwash, then rest assured a mouthwash is not a requirement for healthy teeth and gums. 

Yes, your mouth will feel better, but mouthwash doesn’t prevent dental erosion; nor does it prevent bad breath or remove plaque.  However, a medical professional may prescribe mouthwash for other reasons.

Mouthwash bottles may be labelled ‘whiter teeth’ or ‘fresher breath’.  However, there is little benefit to your oral health unless the mouthwash contains fluoride.  

If one of the ingredients is cetylpyridinium chloride, this may cause irritation or stain the teeth.

Antibacterial mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine may in the short term be used to treat gum inflammation (gingivitis) or to prevent infection following certain dental procedures.  Hosever, it could cause staining, and might kill good bacteria, leading to tooth decay.

It’s also worth noting that the ingredients in many mouthwahes, which extend the shelf life of a mouthwash, may also erode your tooth enamel, doing more harm than good. 

Those who suffer from sensitivity or dry mouth may find that mouthwashes containing fluoride will help to relieve the problem.  Very dry mouth is a side effect of some medications.  Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes because these can make the mouth dry and even cause soreness.  One way of stimulating saliva production and keeping the mouth moist is by chewing sugar-free gum.  This is better than some mouthwashes as it neutralizes the acids which cause damage to the teeth.  

If you want to keep using mouthwash……..
Change to Fluoriguard, because it is alcohol-free and it contains fluoride.  Use it after meals to wash away food particles, especially when you are not somewhere you can brush your teeth.    And remember not to use mouthwash straight after brushing, because this will wash away the fluoride from your toothpaste and make your teeth more vulnerable. 

If you brush correctly, with the right toothpaste and then floss and use interdent sticks properly, you are following the right regime – and when you attend your dental practice for your six month check-up, you’ll be rewarded with praise from your dentist – and hopefully you won’t have to have any other treatments.  

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