Adults remember and kids know about the infamous fluoride rinse at the end of their routine teeth cleaning dental appointment. You may use mouthwash as a part of your daily at-home oral hygiene routine. However, it didn’t taste as bad as what the dentist use and it leaves a refreshing burning sensation in your mouth while the one used at the dentist didn’t. You may wonder if using mouthwash is necessary.
Should I Use Mouthwash?
It has been a source of debate amongst dentist about the use of mouthwash being essential in one’s oral hygiene routine. Some say that it’s important while others say it’s optional. Very few, however, say it should be avoided because it is harmful to a patient’s oral health. Mouthwash may be beneficial to the health of your teeth and gums as it reaches into the tight areas between teeth and on the surface of teeth and gums to clean away food particles that can turn into plaque if left alone. The liquid consistency enables mouthwash to penetrate and clean out areas in the mouth that dental floss and tooth brushes can’t.
The decision to use mouthwash is strictly up to you. There is no harm either way.
Types of Mouthwash
If you choose to use mouthwash, you may be overwhelmed by the large variety of mouthwashes available. Some have alcohol, others don’t. Some have fluoride, others don’t. There are mouthwashes for sensitive teeth, fresh breath, plaque protection and germ fighting. On top of that, there are different flavors. The best mouthwash for you is based on your personal preferences and your dental health needs and goals. It’s important to note that even if you use a mouthwash that has fluoride and fights plaque and germs and is alcohol free that it can be used as a substitute for flossing and teeth brushing. It isn’t. Mouthwash should only be used as an “add-on” that complements your established daily flossing and brushing regimen.
Fluoride or Fluoride-Free
Patients may be tempted to grab the fluoride mouthwash. Fluoride has been found to strengthen teeth, making them more resistant to tooth decay. This element is commonly found in most toothpastes because of its health benefits for teeth. Fluoride is even found in tap water. There are many sources of fluoride by which you can utilize to strengthen your teeth. Again, if you want more fluoride in your oral hygiene routine, go for it. With it being said that you’re already getting fluoride from your tap water and toothpaste, it’s okay if one’s mouthwash is fluoride-free. Some patients choose not to use fluoride in their mouthwash or toothpaste and drink bottled water to limit their consumption of fluoride as much as possible. There has been discussions about the potential health and oral risks of using high amounts of fluoride and some patients feel more comfortable avoiding fluoride.
Whether one uses fluoride or fluoride-free mouthwash or no mouthwash at all, it doesn’t replace proper flossing and teeth brushing. Even with the best at-home oral hygiene habits, it isn’t a substitution for the thorough teeth cleaning and oral examination conducted at your dentist office. Every patient should visit their dentist every six months for these routine cleanings and examinations.