Is mouthwash necessary? How often do you need to use it? Are some brands better than others? These are all questions our dental patients ask when caring for their gums and teeth. The following information should enlighten you on the subject.
Does Mouthwash Really Work?
That is a good question, as mouthwash can be viewed for cosmetic and therapeutic uses. While a cosmetic mouthwash temporarily masks bad breath and leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth, it is not a therapeutic remedy. If it does not kill the germs that cause bad breath, it is considered a temporary measure, and classified as a cosmetic dental rinse. Therapeutic mouthwashes do work in controlling bad bacteria and may contain ingredients that control conditions, such as plaque, tooth decay, halitosis, and periodontal disease.
What Ingredients Do What in a Therapeutic Mouthwash?
To therapeutically eliminate bad breath, you need to choose a mouthwash that contains cetylpyridinium chloride. For controlling gingivitis and plaque, depend on a mouthwash that contains essential oils and/or chlorhexidine. Fluoride in a mouthwash will fight decay while peroxide is often included to whiten the teeth. You can buy a therapeutic mouthwash over the counter or we can write a prescription. For example, a prescription mouthwash will usually contain chlorhexidine while a more natural breath freshener will be sold over the counter, and contain essential oils.
To make sure you choose a mouthwash that is therapeutic and not merely cosmetic, check for the American Dental Association's (ADA's) seal of approval. This seal means that the mouthwash has been checked for its therapeutic quality. Think of it as if it is a type of quality control. If you have problems with bad breath, we can help you as well. Give us a call today to schedule an exam and professional cleaning. While a mouthwash can be helpful, nothing takes the place of at-home cleaning and professional cleanings and exams.