Mouthwash can help keep your gums and teeth healthy but the catch to it is you need to use them properly. Here are five mouthwash myths and see how your rinse know-how compares.
Mouthwash Is A Replacement For Brushing
Mouthwash can cut back the level of bacteria in your mouth but you still have to do your cleaning and brushing to have the desired effect. Regular flossing and brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush will do a much more effective job of removing plaque and debris than mouthwash alone.
Research shows that adding a rinse with mouthwash to your oral care routine can in fact improve the overall cleanliness of your mouth and help keep gum inflammation at bay.
In certain situations, like after oral surgery, your healthcare provider might direct you to use a mouth rinse instead of brushing. This will be temporary, and soon you’ll be back to your usual mouth care.
A Little Swish Is OK
Do you gargle or rinse for a few quick seconds, then spit? Most mouthwashes are at their most effective when in contact with your mouth tissues for 30 seconds per use. But despite best intentions, some people say mouthwash is so strong or stings so much that it’s difficult to use for that long. It is best to use according to manufacturers direction.
All mouthwashes Are The Same
The benefits from using a mouthwash depend largely on the type of product used and mouthwashes can be classified as cosmetic or therapeutic.
Rinsing with a cosmetic mouthwash will loosen bits of food from your teeth, lessen bacteria in your mouth, temporarily reduce bad breath and leave a refreshing taste in your mouth.
Therapeutic rinses contain additional active ingredients such as essential oils, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride and fluoride, which have been proven to reduce plaque or fight cavities.
Mouthwash Is Harmless
Many mouthwashes contain a high amount of alcohol (which can be dangerous for children). This can cause a dry mouth, which also ironically caused bad breath and irritate oral tissues.
Furthermore, there have also been studies suggesting a link between alcohol-containing mouthwash and oral cancer, but the research is limited and a lot of experts believe there are not enough evidence to backup the claim.
Alcohol-free mouthwashes are available but other ingredients can cause side effects, too. Many can stain your teeth or cause a burning sensation. Mouthwash is not meant to be ingested, so it may cause problems if accidentally swallowed.
Mouthwash Cures Bad Breath
Mouthwash may temporarily curtail stinky breath, but it’s not a permanent fix. Smelly compounds from the food you ate actually come from your lungs as you exhale, so freshening your mouth won’t help for long.
Your saliva can work against you too. Saliva dilutes mouthwash. In some cases, the proteins in saliva can reduce the effectiveness of mouthwash ingredients.