Take a walk up and down the dental health care aisle at any drug store and you will find yourself overwhelmed with multiple types and flavors of toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. While your dentist has stressed to you over and over the importance of brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing every single day, your dentist has most likely never gone on about the importance of using mouthwash. However, pick up any of the bottles and read their labels, and you will see claims of cavity prevention, fresh breath, and even gum disease reversal. This leaves many people asking, “Is mouthwash a necessary part of my oral health routine?”
The simple answer is, “No, it’s not.” However, this simple answer truly only applies to those who are adamant about taking care of their teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are the most important habits that benefit your teeth and gums. Bacteria-laden plaque builds up on the teeth each day, and it needs to be removed. For those who are not committed to brushing and flossing, mouthwash can benefit them because it can do some of the hard work for them.
Mouthwash can prevent cavities and lower the risk of oral disease because it helps kill the harmful bacteria within plaque. The bacteria that make up plaque begin creating acids when they are left on the teeth for more than a few hours. It is these acids that eat holes, known as cavities, in the teeth – opening up the entire mouth to the vulnerability of decay and disease.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to oral health issues due to the rise of hormones in a short amount of time. Many doctors and dentists encourage pregnant women to rinse daily with a mouthwash in order to prevent oral health issues from occurring throughout their pregnancy.
So, while mouthwash is not necessary, it does have benefits for many people. It is important to choose a mouthwash that has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval because it will be guaranteed to work in your favor. Mouthwash should never take the place of brushing and flossing, but it can add an added amount of protection to your entire mouth.