Your Dentist Explains What You Should Know About Mouthwash

pouring mouthwashYou brush twice a day and floss regularly — isn’t that enough? You might hesitate to add mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine because, let’s face it, you’re busy and you don’t really know if mouthwash offers any real benefits. However, you might be surprised by some of the benefits that rinsing your mouth can provide. Your dentist in Ephrata is here to give you the lowdown on mouthwash and what it can do for you.

Not All Mouthwashes Are the Same

Just like different types of toothpaste offer varying benefits, there are different kinds of mouth rinses. They can be broken down into three basic categories:

  • Fluoride-containing mouth rinses. As their name implies, these mouthwashes contain fluoride, a mineral that helps to rebuild lost tooth enamel.
  • Anti-bacterial mouth rinses. These fight the germs that cause plaque and gingivitis. Many of these contain alcohol.
  • Cosmetic mouth rinses. These are the mouthwashes that claim to whiten teeth and/or freshen breath.

Some mouthwashes advertise that they offer all of the above advantages, but the question still remains, is mouthwash necessary? Furthermore, which kind of mouthwash should you choose?

Choosing Your Mouthwash

Remember that any toothpaste worth its salt will contain fluoride, and many municipal water supplies contain this mineral. Therefore, most people do not need a mouthwash with fluoride in it. With that being said, though, there are some individuals who could benefit from using such a rinse. People who are genetically prone to cavities or who struggle with a dry mouth may find that their dentist recommends they expose their teeth to more fluoride.

What about mouthwash’s ability to fight plaque and gingivitis? Again, your toothpaste may be able to do the job on its own, but if you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you might improve your condition by using an anti-bacterial mouth rinse. Keep in mind, though, that the alcohol in these products might dry out your mouth.

Whether you use a cosmetic mouth rinse is entirely up to you. They may kill some germs and provide mild whitening, but most of them don’t provide any lasting advantages for your oral health.

Can’t Decide?

If you can’t decide if you should use mouthwash, or if you can’t figure out which one is best for you, the best thing to do is ask your dentist. They can give you personalized recommendations for your oral hygiene routine. If your teeth or gums have special needs, your dentist might even write a prescription for a highly specialized mouthwash.

Mouthwash can benefit your smile, so why not try adding it to your routine? You might be pleasantly surprised by what it does for you!

About Ephrata Family Dentistry

Drs. Sean Moriarty and Suzanne Ahnquist are your talented dentists at Ephrata Family Dentistry. They are proud to provide compassionate, experienced service to the community. If you have questions about which mouthwash you should use or about anything related to how to optimize your oral health, you can contact us at 717-733-1088.


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