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Many of us instinctively reach for our bottle of mouthwash after we’ve finished brushing or even in between brushes as a way to kill bacteria, freshen breath, and leave our mouths feeling extra clean. Advertising has done a great job convincing many Americans that mouthwash is a crucial step in your oral hygiene routine, but have you ever stopped to wonder just how necessary that quick swish really is? Are the benefits of mouthwash worth the hundreds of dollars spent over the years? Today we’re looking into the pros and cons of the third step of your dental hygiene routine to see just how necessary mouthwash really is!

First Things First: What Is Mouthwash?

There are many different kinds of mouthwash from varying brands, all offering slightly different benefits. Looking at the ingredients can tell you a lot about the product you’re using. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol to help kill bacteria and germs in the mouth that cause bad breath and decay. If you suffer from dry mouth, you may want to avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes and opt for something specially designed for people prone to your condition. Fluoride is another common ingredient that helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities from forming, and some brands boast an extra strong fluoride recipe to help keep teeth healthy! Almost all mouthwashes will have a specific flavor and choosing between them comes down to your own personal preference.

But Does It Work?

Studies have consistently shown that mouthwash helps to cut down on bacteria and leads to a lowered risk of plaque buildup and gingivitis. Aside from helping to keep your mouth healthy, mouthwash also helps reduce bad breath and leaves your mouth simply feeling fresher. Some mouthwashes tout cosmetic benefits and are even specially formulated to help whiten teeth! There are dozens of different brands out there to choose from so it’s easy to find a mouthwash with the qualities you’re after. The American Dental Association (ADA) has a list of approved mouthwashes on their website, so be sure to cross reference yours to make sure it is up to the highest dental standards and provides you with all the benefits you need!

Things To Consider

While the benefits of mouthwash are great, there are a few things to be wary of. It’s important to note that spitting out mouthwash is essential, and children under 6 should not use mouthwash as they run the risk of swallowing more than is safe. Additionally, the use of saltwater as a natural, at-home alternative to store bought brands can be a great way to help heal a wound in your mouth or as a quick fix when you’re out of your standard mouthwash! Saltwater rinses should be limited to short term use, however, because salt can be corrosive to teeth if used over prolonged periods.

Mouthwash is a great addition to anyone’s oral healthcare regimen and—when combined with regular brushing and flossing—will help lead to a happier, healthier mouth!

If you have questions about what mouthwash you should be using, or would like to schedule a routine checkup, give us a call at Steger Smiles today!

Be proud of your smile.