Why Use Mouthwash
Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash after brushing and flossing is recommended by the American Dental Association and most dentists, but most of us don’t understand why this is an important step.
Using mouthwash is another step in the fight against plaque buildup. Swishing your mouth with mouthwash helps remove any food particles left behind by brushing and flossing. It can get between teeth and reach areas that brushing can’t. Mouthwash helps control tooth decay, freshens breath, prevents or reduces early gum disease, and reduces the speed of tartar development.
There are two kinds of mouthwash, therapeutic mouthwashes and cosmetic mouthwashes. Therapeutic mouthwashes have active ingredients that kill bacteria and can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath. Those containing fluoride help prevent or reduce tooth decay. Some therapeutic mouthwashes require a prescription, but many are available over-the-counter. Cosmetic mouthwashes temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave a fresh taste in your mouth, but don’t reduce the risk of cavities or gum disease.
When selecting an over-the-counter mouthwash, look for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance that means it has been tested and shown to be safe and effective.
Mouthwash is not recommended for children younger than six years old because if swallowed, can cause nausea, vomiting and intoxification due to the alcohol content. Check the label and follow specific precautions, instructions and age requirements.