Choosing The Right Mouthwash

Marielaina Perrone DDS Dentist HENDERSON, NV

Marielaina Perrone DDS is a family, implant, and cosmetic dentist serving Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Henderson, NV. Dental services include dental implants, teeth whitening, orthodontics, Botox, and treatment of periodontal disease. "We believe in a comprehensive approach to restorative and cosmetic dentistry, that fully... more

The use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash is an important part of everyone’s dental hygiene routine. Many people are aware of the necessity of brushing and flossing regularly, but did you know that using an anti-bacterial mouthwash can be just as important? With so many options available at the grocery store, it can be difficult to know which is the best for your teeth. 

Types Of Mouthwash

– Therapeutic Mouthwash. This mouthwash is made to fight off dental diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. These mouth rinses will have anti-bacterial and anti-plaque (tartar control) properties. When reducing plaque and tartar in the mouth, you decrease the risk of periodontal disease as well as lower gum inflammation. They may also contain fluoride which helps in the fight against tooth decay.

– Cosmetic Mouthwash. These mouthwashes include properties to freshen your breath but do not prevent dental diseases. They may also include whitening agents. Typically, these mouthwashes do not include any therapeutic agents.

Advantages Of Therapeutic Mouthwash 

- Mouthwash With Fluoride. Fluoride mouthwashes have the ability to decrease the risk of tooth decay. There has been numerous research over the years to prove that fluoride can strengthen and reduce the breakdown of enamel, therefore reducing the possibility of cavities. This does not work for everyone, but has been proven to be a benefit for many. Some fluorides are also antibacterial and help fight against periodontal disease (for example – stannous fluoride).

- Periodontal Disease Fighter. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque from bacteria and food that sticks to teeth. When the bacteria feeds on the food particles in the mouth, they release acids that will break down the bone and cause inflammation of the gum tissue. Our body responds to this which leads to bone loss and inflamed, infected gums. An antibacterial mouthwash may help prevent periodontal disease by decreasing the amount of bad bacteria in our mouth. There is also a type of rinse (Periogen) that has been found to dissolve tartar, stains and plaque. This rinse is a great way to keep your teeth from rebuilding tartar in between dental cleanings. This is a powder that can be diluted with water in a waterpik and tends to be even more effective if a capful of your fluoride rinse is added to it.

- Prevent Pregnancy Gingivitis. It is always important to maintain good oral hygiene, but for certain groups of people, it is even more important. For pregnant women, it can be critical to their and their baby's health to have good dental hygiene. When a woman is pregnant, her hormones are elevated, which makes her more susceptible to developing periodontal disease if dental hygiene is not maintained. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to low birth weight and pre-term babies.

– Help Diabetics. Patients with systemic diseases like diabetics, are more susceptible to infection and need to reduce the bacteria they are ingesting. It is even more critical to maintain good oral hygiene with those diseases, and mouthwashes are definitely recommended to those patients.

Disadvantages Of Therapeutic Mouthwash 

- Canker Sore Irritant. This occurs when the alcohol content in your mouthwash is too high. It will irritate the canker sore and make it very uncomfortable.

- Cover Up Bad Breath. Using a mouthwash will lead to fresher breath, but it is usually for a short period of time. Only certain mouthwashes are formulated to actually neutralize odor causing chemicals (example Closys). This does not maintain your dental hygiene. Often, chemicals from your diet are usually the underlying factors in most people’s bad breath, but the mouthwash will just mask it for a short time.

– Alcohol-Based Mouthwash. Studies (Listerine) have shown that rinses with alcohol, if used properly can actually cause saliva production to be stimulated in a semi dry mouth. The alcohol in mouth rinses have historically been used as a way to cause the essential oils (the bacteria killing aspect) in the rinse to keep from separating from the liquid, and stay mixed. There are now more than a few alternatives to alcohol to do the job. So, alcohol-free rinses have become more prevalent. Many people do not like the burning sensation of alcohol, and for people with little to no saliva flow, alcohol-based rinses can be quite painful. The mouthwash choice is based on personal preference.

The Right Mouthwash 

Using a mouthwash is another great tool to keep your mouth healthy and prevent periodontal disease. If you decide to use a mouthwash as part of your dental hygiene routine, don't neglect brushing and flossing. They work together not separately. There are many mouthwashes on the market today, talk to your dentist to see which one is right for you.