Not All Mouthrinses Are the Same
Generally, there are two types of mouthwashes: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes can temporarily cover bad breath with a pleasant taste. These rinses do not contain the ingredients which fight bacteria; therefore, the source of bad breath is untouched. Additionally, cosmetic rinses do not treat plaque, reduce the severity of gingivitis, or prevent cavities. Unlike cosmetic mouthrinses, therapeutic mouthwashes eliminate the odor causing bacteria known as volatile sulfur compound. They may also contain fluoride which builds back enamel strength to help prevent tooth decay.
Common Ingredients in Mouthwashes
- Antimicrobial Agents: These substances help fight plaque, treat gingivitis, and control bad breath.
- Fluoride: This naturally occurring mineral builds back eroded or damaged tooth enamel, preventing tooth decay and sensitivity.
- Astringent salts: Acting as deodorizers, astringent salts in mouthwash temporarily masks bad breath.
- Odor neutralizers: By chemically inactivating VSC, or volatile sulfur compound, odor neutralizers stop the source of most bad breath.
- Alcohol: Many mouthwashes contain up to 27 percent alcohol by volume. This adds the bite and increases the flavor of mouthrinses.
Special Considerations for Mouthwash
Mouthwash cannot adequately substitute a good oral hygiene regimen, including brushing and flossing. Mouthrinses are a good supplement for use before or after brushing because they can rinse away some food debris. Children under the age of six should not use mouthwashes because the child may swallow the mouthrinse and become ill. Additionally, you should always choose an American Dental Association approved mouthwash and consult your dentist before making it a part of your daily routine.
Can Mouthwashes Be Bad for You?
In 2008, the Australian Dental Journal published a literature review by Michael McCullough and Camile Farah, in which the scientists suggested persistent use of mouthrinses containing alcohol could increase your risk of oral cancer by five times. While excessive alcohol consumption is often cited as a contributor to oral cancer, the ADA said “the available evidence does not support the connection between oral cancer and mouthwashes containing alcohol ”
Quality Dentist in Chicago
Bring your tricky dental hygiene questions to Dr. Fondriest or his hygienist at our Lake Forest dentist office. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, we offer quality preventive dentistry to help your teeth feel squeeky clean, and help you achieve peace of mind. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call our Chicago cosmetic dentist at 847.234.0517. We serve patients from Grayslake, Barrington, Lake Forest, Winnetka, Highland Park, North Shore, and Chicago.