Mouthwash is a time-honoured companion to the toothbrush, toothpaste and floss when taking care of our dental health – but it’s important to remember that not all mouthwashes are the same. Salt rinses can be made at home for a tiny cost – but aren’t the most palatable of rinses and tend not to provide the refreshing kick and feeling of an immaculately clean mouth that other mouthwashes provide.
Alcohol and flouride mouthwash gives the user that clean feeling, but can have a host of downsides. It’s only fair to list the pros and cons of mouthwash so you can make up your own mind!
Fights Gum Disease
Plaque and bacteria lingering on teeth and around gums is a primary cause of gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, which can be a really serious problem once they get a hold of your mouth. Regular use of mouthwash helps eliminate these bacteria, reduce plaque and prevent these diseases.
Flouride mouthwash has been clinically proven to prevent demineralisation of tooth enamel, and regular use of mouthwash helps wipe out the bacteria which produce cavity-causing acid, long before this acid has a chance to dig into your teeth and cause cavities.
Soothes Mouth Ulcers
Mouthwash can help soothe painful mouth ulcers by reducing the acidity of your mouth, cleaning the area around the ulcer and acting as a cool wash for the inflamed area.
Can Mask Bad Breath Without Treating The Cause
Mouthwash is often marketed as a way to improve your breath, and while it certainly does so, it is best used in conjunction with a solid dental hygiene routine to see best results. On its own, it provides a false sense of security by masking the symptoms of poor dental hygiene (the bad breath) without actually treating the root cause (the poor hygiene itself). This can lead to some nasty complications down the line, so be careful to keep a good brushing/flossing routine up while using mouthwash!
Can Irritate Mouth Ulcers
Paradoxically, as well as soothing mouth ulcers, mouthwash can irritate them. This usually happens with rinses which have a high concentration of alcohol, or which is overused. Overusing mouthwash can cause mild irritation of your gums, which translates as major irritation of existing mouth ulcers.
Overall, the pros of mouthwash use far outweigh the cons. Just be sure not to rely too heavily on it, and use it as an aide to great dental hygiene rather than as a crutch for it!