Any Leander dentist will tell you that the two most important elements of oral hygiene are regular brushing and flossing. However, mouthwash isn’t far behind! Mouthwash might not be a “must-use” product, but it can be extremely effective in improving your oral health. Plus, it helps your breath smell better!
If you haven’t picked up a bottle of mouthwash before, here’s a quick guide to what you need to know.
A Leander Dentist Explains the Basics of Mouthwash
- Types of mouthwash
There are two kinds of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. The difference between them is simple. Cosmetic mouthwash (sometimes called “mouth rinse”) only contains flavoring to make your breath smell better. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwash includes ingredients designed to kill bacteria, reduce plaque, or otherwise improve your oral health.
There is rarely a good reason to use cosmetic mouthwashes, except with young children who are not yet ready for adult mouthwash.
- Proper use of mouthwash
Using mouthwash is simple, with one critical rule to follow: NEVER swallow mouthwash. It must always be spit out. The chemicals in it are not intended to be consumed and could cause discomfort or other issues if swallowed.
Otherwise, most mouthwashes include a small cup for measuring how much to use, which is generally around 20ml. Pour out a measured amount, then empty the cup into your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around your mouth as thoroughly as you can for 30 seconds. Then spit it out.
If the taste is too strong at first to go the full 30 seconds, don’t force yourself. You’ll get used to it soon enough.
III. How can mouthwash help you?
Mouthwash can help with a wide variety of issues, including:
- Bad breath: Mouthwash uses strong flavors and oils that will linger in your mouth for a long time
- Killing bacteria: Most therapeutic mouthwashes include an antibiotic agent (often just alcohol) intended to kill bacteria and reduce the chances of oral infection.
- Reducing plaque: The same elements in mouthwash that fight bacteria also help break down plaque.
- Preventing tooth decay: Fluoride mouthwashes provide an extra dose of tooth-protecting fluoride.
- Post-surgery care: Your dentist may recommend mouthwash after some oral surgeries, such as tooth extraction, to reduce the chances of complications.