Do you swish? Gargle? Irrigate your mouth with a bright blue or green liquid that makes you pucker? If mouthwash isn’t part of your dental hygiene routine, perhaps I can provide some compelling evidence for why it should be!
It’s important to note that I called mouthwash a “part of” your hygiene. Don’t be fooled – a few good swishes of mouthwash alone won’t keep your teeth and gums healthy. But, along with a regimen of attentive brushing and flossing, it can and should be an important piece of an overall solution to lifelong dental health.
As your San Diego family dentist, let me walk you through the benefits of mouthwash.
Keeps breath fresh
Do you suffer from halitosis? Chances are, at one point in your life, you will! Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath – a problem familiar to many. Some causes of bad breath are chronic and may not even be related to your mouth, such as digestive problems. Mouthwash can’t cure these issue, but it can certainly lessen the power of bacteria in your mouth to produce unpleasant odors. You can also rely on mouthwash to temporarily cover up the garlic you had for lunch when you have a big afternoon meeting!
Combats hard-to-reach germs
While floss and a toothbrush are your first line of defense against bacteria and plaque, even they are unable to penetrate some of the hard-to-reach places in your mouth. Not to worry – mouthwash to the rescue! Because it is a liquid, it can flow into some of those spaces and help you cover a higher portion of your mouth’s surface as you clean. A good gargle before brushing can also assist by loosening bits of food that have become trapped between teeth, helping your toothbrush do its job even better.
Lessens plaque buildup
Almost every external part of your body has a balanced way of regularly discarding its surface layer – except for your teeth. Thus, the microorganisms that live in your mouth can adhere to your teeth and build up over time. This is where the biofilm we call plaque comes from. Mouthwash is not able to eradicate existing plaque, but select types have been proven to lessen the growth of new plaque.
Diminishes possibility of periodontal disease
Periodontal (gum) disease has many symptoms, from benign gingivitis to more painful problems or infection that can permanently damage teeth. Regularly using mouthwash will help with the continuous protection of your mouth from this damaging disease.
Making the Most of Your Mouthwash
If you want to maximize the power of your mouthwash, be sure to check the ingredients. It should contain several key anti-microbial agents. One strong indication that you have a quality mouthwash is the ADA seal of approval. Your dentist will be happy to help you find the best mouthwash for you.
One final trick to making your mouthwash work for you? Don’t rinse after swishing. Mouthwash is specially formulated to cover and adhere to the surface of your mouth long enough to let the anti-microbial agents do their work. Longer exposure to the mouthwash means that plaque have less of a chance to resist it! Try using mouthwash right before you leave your home in the morning, or just before you go to bed.
We’d love to help you establish a Holistic Dentistry plan for yourself – give our La Jolla, San Diego offices a call at 858.552.1223.
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