It’s common knowledge that brushing your teeth is important, but far fewer people truly understand the benefits of mouth wash. If you use the right one you add another layer of protection to your oral care regimen.
Some of the benefits of mouth wash include:
- Removing smaller food particles you may have missed while brushing or flossing
- Preventing cavities and plaque buildup
- Lessening the amount of bacteria in your mouth
- Making teeth stronger, usually through a fluoride mouth rinse
- Adding a nice “taste” to your mouth
Many people use their mouthwash for bad breath symptoms, which is perfectly safe. But if you’re suffering with chronic halitosis, your rinse could be masking a larger problem. It’s important to seek the advice of a dentist before starting a regimen of mouthwash for gingivitis, as some products are more effective than others.
If you’re using a mouthwash for bad breath, and you don’t have a prescription for it, you should look for a few key elements:
- Look for rinses with low alcohol content. They’re usually less hurtful to your taste buds, and they’re safer for children to use.
- Look for rinses with chlorine and zinc. These elements can help eliminate the bad smell (caused by sulphur) that builds up in your mouth.
- Look for rinses with fluoride. This is especially important if you don’t have fluoride in your water, or if you drink a lot of filtered water.
- Look for an anti-bacterial rinse. There is some evidence that anti-bacterial mouthwash for gingivitis can be effective as a form of prevention. However, it is very important that you don’t rely on this alone if you’re exhibiting symptoms of gum disease.
Is a Fluoride Mouth Rinse That Important?
While most over-the-counter products are safe, they don’t always have the one thing your teeth need most: fluoride. Mouth rinses with added fluoride have multiple benefits for oral health. They can reduce tooth decay by adding another level of protection to your teeth through the process of remineralization.
When you eat acidic foods, the acid strips away some of the protective enamel in your teeth, a process known as demineralization. Fluoride and calcium remineralize your teeth, adding that protective layer back.
This remineralization is especially beneficial to children up to sixteen years of age, though adults reap the benefits as well. The benefits of mouthwash with added fluoride include:
- Helping ease dry mouth. Saliva is our natural defense against a buildup of food particles and plaque. People with dry mouths get more from their basic mouthwash for bad breath: they also get the added protection they’re missing.
- Protecting teeth with braces. Again, a mouth rinse can wash away small food particles. Since patients who have braces or permanent retainers have — literally — extra hardware in their mouths, rinsing can loosen debris from the metal.
But what can you do if fluoride isn’t enough? If you have any form of gum disease, your best bet is to seek medical attention. Your dentist may prescribe an anti-bacterial mouthwash for gingivitis that is more effective than what you find in your local drugstore.