Blue mouthwash in a bottle and blue toothbrush with text: Mouthwash: Friend or Foe?

Mouthwash: Friend or Foe?

Every dentist will tell you that it is necessary to brush and floss your teeth to maintain your oral health, but what about using mouthwash? Is it an essential part of your dental routine, a neutral addition, or actively harmful? While there isn’t a dental consensus about the necessity of mouthwash, there are certain facts that can help you decide whether it is right for you.

Ingredients Matter

Mouthwashes are not one-size-fits-all, and the ingredients and effects vary. However, according to the ADA, there are two distinct varieties: cosmetic and therapeutic.

Cosmetic mouthwashes are solely used to provide a fresh, clean feeling and to temporarily minimize bad breath for several hours. If you are only looking to use a mouthwash to improve your oral health, these types of mouthwashes are unnecessary.

Therapeutic mouthwashes, on the other hand, have more varied ingredients and can provide a number of benefits including the reduction of bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. They can also whiten teeth and decrease pain.

Here are the most common mouthwash active ingredients to remember and the function of each:

  • Fluoride: strengthens enamel, cavity prevention
  • Chlorhexidine: treats and prevents gingivitis, prevents the buildup of plaque, and lowers the chance of getting dry socket after a tooth extraction (can cause staining)
  • Peroxide: whitens surface of teeth, kills germs
  • Xylitol: dry mouth relief
  • Lidocaine: local anesthetic that provides temporary pain relief
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride: kills bacteria that can cause bad breath

Many of the active ingredients in therapeutic mouthwashes are available over-the-counter at your local drugstore, but those that contain chlorhexidine or lidocaine will require a prescription.

text from blog that says "mouthwash cannot replace your regular brushing and flossing routine" with image of toothbrushes and floss

Can Mouthwash Have Side Effects?

Unfortunately, mouthwash use has the potential for unwanted side effects. Formulations containing alcohol can cause dry mouth or canker sores. Chlorhexidine rinses can stain teeth, especially when used for longer than recommended. Additionally, bacteria-killing ingredients can wipe out the natural oral microbiome that helps to maintain healthy gums and teeth, since they can’t tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. If you must use a bacteria-killing mouthwash, use sparingly or at the instruction of your dentist.

Here are a few additional facts to keep in mind if you are considering adding mouthwash to your dental health routine:

  • Mouthwash cannot replace your regular brushing and flossing routine.
  • Kids under the age of six should not use mouthwash due to the risk of swallowing.
  • Look for rinses that have a higher pH value (more alkaline). If a mouthwash is too acidic, it can erode enamel or cause other unwanted effects.
  • If you have dry mouth, avoid using a rinse that contains alcohol.

At the end of the day, while most over-the-counter mouth rinses have beneficial properties, they can only do so much. Mouthwashes are useful for treating minor oral health issues and provide extra help to people who are prone to dental problems. It is a good idea to consult with your dentist for personalized advice and recommendations that will have the most benefit to your oral health.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

How Focusing on These 3 Points Will Help You Spring Out of the Winter Blues!

March Blog

Happy Spring 2015

As we move out of winter, you may be changing your frame of mind from “Snuggly winter days…” to “Time for spring cleaning!” Have you ever considered a dental spring cleaning? If you can spring clean your home, why not your teeth?! Here are three easy points to focus on:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Tooth care
  3. Dental check-up

Healthy Eating

When your tummy rumbles, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, grab some veggie sticks or slice up an apple! We understand the convenience of snack foods as well as the deal you get when purchasing a bulk pack. But most of these things lack nutritional value and do not fare well on your body, health or mouth. Create a goal to reach for a healthy snack to fill the nutritional craving your body is after. Your waistline and teeth will thank you!

Foods that are high in sugar wreak havoc on your teeth contribute to the start of cavities. Food consistency also plays a role in oral health. Very hard foods can harm the surfaces of your teeth, and there’s also the potential to cause significant damage by cracking or chipping a tooth!

Reach For                                                                         Pass On

Fruits Sodas
Veggies Candy
Whole Grains Chips
Nuts Ice Cream
Skinless Chicken Sugary Cereals
Non-Breaded Fish Hard and Sticky Foods
Low Fat/ Fat Free Yogurt Cookies
Low Fat/ Fat Free Cheese Cakes/ Pies

Tooth Care

  • Are you attentively brushing your teeth twice a day for 2-minutes?
  • Are you flossing daily (or at all)?
  • Have you changed your toothbrush in the last 3 months?

When brushing your teeth spend the full 2 minutes taking care to cover the front and back of each individual tooth. Before finishing up – give your tongue a once over as well! Many toothbrushes have a built in tongue brusher on the back of the toothbrush head. Toothbrushes do wear out. They can fray and lose the sturdiness to properly clean your teeth. Toothbrushes should be replaced about every three months.

Flossing

Flossing cleans about 40% of your teeth surfaces. Remember to reach your very back teeth. Flossing helps to lessen plaque build-up and helps prevent gum disease.

Dental Check-up

Remember how great your mouth feels after a dental cleaning in our office? Now that the holidays have come to a close, your teeth may be in need of a professional cleaning. Call Smith Valley Smiles for a dental check-up and cleaning. Check-ups are recommended every 6 months unless you are experiencing a problem area in your mouth. And, if that is the case, call us as soon as possible. Whenever you are in pain or have a question, call us.

Now that you have these things fresh on your mind, you are ready to take charge of spring! And you can do so with a bright shining and CLEAN smile!

References:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/still-not-flossing-more-reasons-why-you-should

2311 Highway 208

Smith, NV 89430

Phone: 775-465-2388