Mouthwash is also referred to as mouth rinse. These products fall into two main categories depending on their objective – these are cosmetic and therapeutic. Therapeutic mouth washes are available from general stores, and stronger formulations are available over the counter by prescription. These types of mouth wash reduce or control plaque and the formation of plaque, gingivitis, bad breath and tooth decay. The use of mouth wash is not recommended under the age of 6 as children may swallow the liquid and due to possible toxicity from the alcohol content of some mouth wash products. Local dental experts can provide individual patient information to maintain and improve oral health.
Mouth washes are definitely not a replacement for a daily brushing and flossing routine, usage may help to improve the dental health of a patient. In the same was interdental cleaning, mouth wash has the ability to reach areas which are not easily reached with the use of a toothbrush. The product can be used before or after brushing, however some manufacturers recommend an order of use depending on particular ingredients.
Cosmetic mouthwashes can temporarily improve bad breath, and provide a pleasant taste, but may not address the bacteria which causes bad breath in the first place, limiting the use and benefits of the product. By comparison therapeutic mouthwash contains the required ingredients to control or minimise bad breath, plaque, tooth decay and gingivitis.
The appearance of bad breath results from VSCs – volatile sulphur compounds which are the leading cause of bad breath. These are created from the breakdown of food debris, bacteria and plaque. Cosmetic mouthwashes can cover up bad breath but this is only temporary as there are no active ingredients so there is no counter effect on bacteria or VSCs. However mouthwashes with therapeutic ingredients such as anti microbial can successfully address bad breath.
The best way to reduce and remove plaque and gingivitis is to brush daily for 2 minutes twice per day, using recommended techniques, interdental brushing and the use of a therapeutic mouth wash. These initiatives combined with regular dental check ups are the best way to achieve and enhance dental health.
Manufacturers seeking to gain the ADA Seal of Acceptance must demonstrate the effectiveness of their product in clinical case studies and trials. Results must be shown over a period of time in order for the approval to be issued.
Once you have perfected your own dental care routine, you should help your family to do the same. This will extend the benefits to your family who can enjoy great dental care and results. Leading by example is important, especially if you have children as they will naturally follow your actions.
Once you have established your home dental care routine, you should also follow guidelines to replace toothbrushes every 3 – 4 months maximum when they are worn as the effectiveness will be reduced. Using a mouth wash is a great way to enhance your dental health and confidence, and should only be used by children at the appropriate age and once they have mastered the use of the product. Mouth washes can also be used to sterilise toothbrushes for further improved hygiene.