What you should know about mouthwash

What you should know about mouthwash

Mouthwash can have your mouth feeling fresh in an instant, but is it necessary for your oral hygiene?

Dr. Amy Martin, a dentist at Advocate Health Care, explains that all depends on what type of mouthwash is being used and what it is being used for.

The two types of over-the-counter mouthwashes are therapeutic and cosmetic. While the cosmetic type may temporarily mask bad breath, the therapeutic type can help provide a more long-term solution by attacking bacteria and plaque or using fluoride to strengthen teeth. The type you use should be discussed with your primary dentist. Even more importantly, an ADA seal should be on the product you choose.

“It is generally recommended that you choose products bearing the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which means their safety has been verified by the ADA,” says Dr. Martin.

Once you have a beneficial mouthwash that works for your needs, the next step is using it correctly. This is specific to the type you are using, so make sure to discuss with your dentist, as well.

“Some of the ‘risks’ to mouthwashes revolve around misuse. Many mouthwashes contain high levels of alcohol or fluoride (or both), which can be dangerous if swallowed in large quantities. Always keep out of reach of children and use as directed,” says Dr. Martin, “In general, follow the dosing guidelines that come on each product. For example, a fluoride mouthwash generally should be used only once daily. Check product labels for usage guidelines.”

It is also important to note that using mouthwash should not replace daily brushing and flossing.

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  1. Do you have a list of mouthwash brands that have the ADC seal?

  2. Do you have a list of therapeutic mouthwash brands?

  3. Is it a “known thing” that some people (me, at least) can’t taste tomato-based food (like pizza sauce) after using alcohol-free mouthwash? (Note that I wasn’t rinsing the mouthwash out afterwards; my dentist at the time said I should just spit out the mouthwash, but leave the remnants to protect my teeth as I slept — not sure if that had something to do with it, but it was weird, and frustrating.)

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.