Mouthwash: Yay or Nay?

Hayward CA DentistIf you visit the dental care aisle at your local drugstore or grocery, you’ll see several types of products. Among toothpastes, flossing tools and toothbrushes are several brands of mouthwash. Some varieties are highlighted by their ability to conquer bad breath while others emphasize teeth whitening or a high fluoride content. Whatever the claim may be, it is important to discuss all of your oral hygiene products with your dentist first.

While not every dentist will encourage mouthwash use, they will all agree that it should never replace routine brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing are critical to your oral health, and these habits have the most significant impact on your dental health. So, does mouthwash really help? Or is it a waste of money?

In general, as long as you follow the directions on the bottle, mouthwash shouldn’t harm your oral health and may provide some claimed benefits, especially if it contains fluoride. You should know, however, that leaving a small amount of diluted toothpaste on your teeth after you brush can produce the same benefit.

Others may be tempted to buy mouthwash to solve their bad breath. The problem with this is that most mouthwashes that contain alcohol, which can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is a leading cause of bad breath. We rely on adequate amounts of saliva to rinse away bacteria and food debris throughout the day and help neutralize the pH of our mouth. To ensure your mouthwash isn’t backfiring on your quest for fresher breath, use a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol. In addition, chronic bad breath (or halitosis) should be evaluated by your dentist. You may be trying to mask an underlying dental problem, such as decay or gum disease.

When it comes to using mouthwash on a daily basis, the choice is ultimately yours. It is unlikely to make or break your efforts for optimal oral health. Just remember to never use mouthwash as a substitute for brushing and flossing and consider buying a brand that contains fluoride but not alcohol.

To learn the best oral hygiene products for your specific smile, call Cosmetic Dentistry of Hayward. We will give you a personal recommendation according to your clinical needs and budget.

Cosmetic Dentistry of Hayward
27206 Calaroga Ave, #216
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 782-7821