a man with mouthwash in his hands

While everyone knows that a strong oral health practice is essential for maintaining the health of your teeth and mouth, it’s not always clear exactly what that should entail. Brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings are vital parts of caring for your oral health, but what about mouthwash? Mouthwash is not an essential part of caring for your teeth and mouth, but it does have several benefits and can be a valuable addition to a daily oral hygiene practice for many people.  

Why Should I Use Mouthwash? 

Mouthwash provides your mouth with a fresh and clean feeling. It can also reassure you that your breath is fresh. Mouthwash can benefit your oral health by reducing the bacteria within your mouth, which in turn works to reduce how much plaque is allowed to form on the teeth.  

Using mouthwash regularly can work to prevent the onset of periodontal disease. If the mouthwash contains fluoride, it can also help to reduce cavities when used consistently. These benefits also lend themselves to the fresh and clean feeling that we all want when caring for our oral health.  

Brushing your teeth properly twice per day and flossing daily are the most important parts of an oral hygiene practice, and when you ensure to do those two things, mouthwash isn’t strictly necessary. That being said, most dentists will agree that adding mouthwash to your morning and evening routine is a good idea.  

What Causes Bad Breath? 

The most popular reason that people chose to use mouthwash is to counteract bad breath. When working to remedy a bad breath problem, it is important to understand the causes. Often, the food that you eat contributes to smelly breath, sometimes because the food itself has a potent smell (garlic, curry, pickles, etc.) or due to improper oral hygiene. Smoking tobacco is also a common cause of bad breath.  

In most cases, brushing and flossing thoroughly and regularly is enough to counteract bad breath. There are, however, underlying medical conditions that can contribute to chronic bad breath. Some people may also suffer from chronic dry mouth as a result of certain medications or health problems. In these cases, there are specialized mouthwashes available that can help significantly. Sometimes things such as oral surgery, chronic sinus inflammation, and acid reflux can lead to bad breath. In these cases, it is important to consult with a physician before you attempt to treat the symptoms on your own. 

What Kind of Mouthwash Should I Use? 

There are so many different types of mouthwashes available on the market, that it can be hard to know which one is right for you. For most people, a mouthwash with fluoride is the best option and will benefit your oral health. Your dentist can also help you by providing you with their recommendations and best advice.  

Whatever mouthwash you choose, always look for a mouthwash that has the Canadian Dental Association’s seal of approval. This will help to ensure that the mouthwash you use will help to fight off cavities, prevent periodontal disease, and keep your mouth as healthy and clean as possible.  

How Do I Use Mouthwash? 

It is very important to remember that mouthwash alone is not enough to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Mouthwash is best used after a thorough cleaning with brushing and flossing. Put the recommended amount of mouthwash into your mouth and swish it around, and gargle it at the back of your throat. Then you can spit the mouthwash out, but don’t rinse! Allowing the mouthwash to stay on the teeth after use optimizes its benefits.  

Just as every mouth is different, each individual oral health routine should be unique to each person. If you haven’t already, discussing the best way to care for your mouth with your dentist or dental hygienist is a great idea. Your dentist will welcome the opportunity to help you better understand and care for your mouth. At Stonegate Dental, we pride ourselves on providing the most up-to-date and valuable information about how to best care for your oral health to each and every one of our clients. If you want to learn more about the best way to care for and optimize your oral health or get started on your own custom care plan, call our Guelph Dentist’s office today!  

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