mouthwash-150x150If you’re thinking of adding mouthwash to your oral cleaning routine, you should first know exactly what mouthwash or rinse does so you can choose the best one. Some freshen breath, others provide an anti-cavity benefit from fluoride, while others contain germ-killing ingredients to help prevent plaque buildup.

Mouthwash does not replace any part of your regular oral routine. You should always be brushing at least 2 times per day and flossing daily. The main function of most mouthwashes is to freshen breath, although if you suffer from severe chronic bad breath you should talk to your dentist about other ways to address the causes of the problem and manage your condition.

Some types of mouthwashes do more as they may contain fluoride that helps protect teeth against acids produced by plaque bacteria. These are best used right after you brush your teeth. Since they contain fluoride, you do not want to overuse them or swallow the rinse. And your dentist may prescribe a specific mouth rinse if you are recovering from a fungal infection or a bout of gingivitis.

If, like many, your mouthwash needs are just for basic breath freshening, you can simply base your decision on flavor and intensity. Mouthwashes and rinses are available in different flavors such as mint and cinnamon, and you can keep more than one type on hand if you prefer variety. If you want a mouth rinse to prevent cavities or kill germs and control plaque, ask a dental professional.

Here are two other key points to keep in mind when deciding on the right mouthwash for you:

Alcohol is a part of many over-the-counter mouthwashes and that can be a problem if a large quantity is swallowed. If you want to buy one type of mouthwash or rinse for the whole family, and your household includes school-aged children or teens, you may want to choose alcohol-free mouthwash . Also, some recovering alcoholics avoid mouthwash with alcohol because of the potential for abuse.

Some people find mouthwash orally irritating, especially those who suffer from gum sensitivity. Also, people who don’t usually complain of sensitive gums may find that their mouths are more sensitive for a short time if they are recovering from a dental procedure. If you have a sensitive mouth, consider an alcohol-free or natural mouthwash. Natural mouthwashes often contain ingredients such as aloe vera and chamomile for a soothing effect.

If you’re looking for a mouthwash that helps control bad breath and prevents plaque buildup, you need one designed for that purpose. Most will be labeled anti-plaque.

If you’re unsure what mouthwash to choose or if you think you may need a prescription rinse, call The Dental Centre to schedule an appointment.