Facts about Mouthwashes

Mouthwashes or gargling rinses are useful additions to your arsenal in the fight against oral health problems. However, it is a mistake to believe that mouthwash can replace manual plaque and debris removal, such as brushing your teeth and flossing. Dr. Fondriest and his team clarify a few interesting facts about mouthwashes and rinses and their proper functions.

What are Mouthwashes?

There are two types of gargles, medicated and non-medicated. Some medicated gargling rinses are available over the counter, while others are prescribed by Dr. Fondriest for gum infections, oral ulcers, canker sores, or post-surgical use. Non-medicated versions, also known as cosmetic mouthwashes, are available over the counter. Every mouthwash is different, but there are a few common ingredients found in most brands. Detergents help break up and remove food debris and plaque from your mouth. Flavoring and coloring agents create the unique look and taste of a gargling rinse and create the fresh breath feeling you experience after rinsing. Alcohol, or another antimicrobial agent, kills germs that lead to tooth decay and bad breath. Preservatives stop the growth of bacteria within the mouth wash, and water dissolves all of the other ingredients together. Some versions also contain fluoride, a compound that combats acid attacks against the teeth.

What Mouthwashes are Not

Contrary to popular belief, gargles alone are not intended to fight against plaque and tartar buildup. As liquids, they are able to wash away particles and debris from areas where your toothbrush or dental floss cannot reach, and help you fight against tooth decay. They leave your mouth feeling cleaner and more refreshed. However, even with therapeutic mouthwashes prescribed by Dr. Fondriest, entrusting your oral health to gargling alone is a bit like washing a dirty dish by hand with only water and no dish rag. No amount of gargling rinse can replace proper manual dental maintenance. It is imperative that you only use mouthwash as a supplement to your daily oral health routine.

Oil pulling is another interesting type of rinse. The practice consists of swishing a tablespoon of edible oil such as coconut, olive oil, sunflower, or sesame oil in your mouth or “pulling” it through your teeth. It has been said to strengthen teeth and gums, and prevent decay, bad breath, and bleeding gums. the American Dental Association does not believe that there is any scientific proof of value to oil pulling.

Learn more about proper use of gargling rinses

Now that you’ve learned the proper use for your mouthwash, you are one step closer to achieving ideal dental health. For more information on maintaining a brilliant, healthy smile, or to schedule a dental appointment with Lake Forest family dentist Dr. James Fondriest, contact our office at (847) 234-0517. We offer superior general and cosmetic dentistry to patients from North Shore and Chicago.