What Should My Mouthwash Be Doing?

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When you walk down the dental hygiene aisle at the store you see a number of different mouthwashes claiming to do different things. There are a lot of mouthwashes on the market, so how do you know what’s best for you? When looking to incorporate a mouthwash into your oral care routine, look for these. 

Types of Mouthwash

There are several different types of mouthwashes that all do different things. Some are made to help you whiten your teeth, while others are to help do a little more. The American Dental Association explains that there are two main types of mouthwash:

  1. Cosmetic – this mouth rinse serves as a way to control bad breath and leave a pleasant taste in your mouth, but if it doesn’t specifically work to kill bad-breath-causing-bacteria, then it’s just cosmetic. 
  2. Therapeutic – this kind of mouthwash is available over-the-counter, but for more specific needs sometimes a prescription is required. Therapeutic washes help with reducing plaque, fighting gingivitis, controlling bad breath, and preventing tooth decay. 

If you are going to use a mouthwash, though, you’ll need to know what to look for at the store to get the most out of the product.  

Choosing a Mouthwash 

When you decide to implement a mouthwash into your dental care routine, you should look for certain ingredients before you buy. Healthline explains the ingredients you should keep your eyes out for:

  • Fluoride: this will help fight tooth decay and strengthen the enamel 
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride: this is what helps fight bad breath and kill bacteria 
  • Chlorhexidine – this reduces plaque and controls gingivitis 
  • Essential oils – ingredients like menthol (peppermint), eucalyptus, and thymol (thyme) can have antifungal and antibacterial properties 
  • Carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide – this is what whitens teeth 

Healthline further details what you should consider when buying a mouthwash. Those include what you want your mouthwash for and other considerations, like the price. 

How to Use Mouthwash

You might think it’s as simple as swishing it around and spitting it out, but there’s a little more to it than that. Do you know the proper use of mouthwash? Many people debate whether you should use it before or after you brush your teeth. However, once you purchase the rinse you would like to use, it should give you directions on the label for what they recommend. 

Now, how often should you use mouthwash? It depends on what you’re using it for. To really get a deep clean, we recommend using it twice a day, however, if that’s not your concern, then once a day will work just fine for the other benefits. 

Can I Quit Brushing?

Adding a mouthwash into your dental hygiene routine is NOT meant to replace brushing and flossing. Rinsing your mouth with a wash is meant to supplement, not replace. To ensure a fully cleaned mouth, follow these steps:

  1. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. You should be taking your time to make sure each tooth is getting thoroughly cleaned. 
  2. Floss at least once a day. Many people will put off flossing until right before they go see the dentist, but flossing is a vital part of your routine. This helps get food and debris that gets stuck between each tooth. Not only does this get your mouth clean, but it also helps keep healthy gums too. 
  3. Use your mouthwash. Whether you choose to use it before or after you brush and floss, follow the label’s instructions and be sure you properly swish for the correct amount of time to get the maximum benefits. 
  4. See your dentist. You might think you should only see your dentist when something is wrong, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You should ideally see your dentist once every six months to get a professional deep cleaning and thorough examination to catch any problems that could be hiding where you can’t see. 

Do You Need a Mouthwash? 

If you want to fight cavities, gum disease, and more, then mouthwash could be a good addition to your oral hygiene routine. However, mouthwash isn’t necessarily needed to maintain a clean, healthy smile. The most important part of your dental health is preventative care. Preventative dentistry can help catch problems early on, or in some cases, prevent them from happening entirely. This is also where having a good dental hygiene routine comes into play. If you brush and floss your teeth properly, then there really is no specific need for a mouthwash. However, brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash are all things you can do multiple times a day to keep a healthy smile. 

Call Stonebrook Family Dental

If you’re overdue for a routine appointment or just want to learn more about what you can do to keep a healthy smile, call Stonebrook Family Dental today to make an appointment: (303)-872-7907. 

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