Is Mouthwash Really Needed?

A research study was conducted to identify and comprehend the use of mouthwash and its benefits when used by adults. The idea behind the study was to understand and also increase the awareness among the public on the role of mouthwash in one's life.

There exists a lot of knowledge gap among people with many misconceptions associated with the role of mouthwash usage for healthy gums and teeth. Studies outline that oral hygiene played a key role in determining the use of mouthwash.

Although mouthwash commercials try their best to make us believe that complete oral hygiene cannot be achieved without the use of a mouthwash, read on to know more facts about this belief.

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What Does A Mouthwash Do?

A mouthwash is a kind of rinse, but this cannot replace your daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing twice. Mouthwashes are ideally used to freshen one's breath. A few mouthwashes, especially the ones such as fluoride rinses, are capable of protecting the teeth from acids that are produced when affected by plaque bacteria. In case you face gum issues or fungal infections, your dentist might prescribe specific mouthwashes.

Some mouthwashes provide the anti-cavity benefit from fluoride while others can contain germ-killing ingredients that can prevent the build-up of plaque on teeth.

Most of the rinses contain alcohol which can pose a problem in case a lot of mouthwash is swallowed accidentally. However, alcohol-free mouthwashes are also available. Natural mouthwashes are suited for those who have sensitive gums. Natural mouthwashes contain ingredients such as aloe vera and chamomile.

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Is A Mouthwash Really Required For Healthy Teeth And Gums?

If you follow oral hygiene wherein you floss and brush your teeth daily along with regular professional cleanings, then mouthwashes are really not necessary.

Mouthwashes tend to be effective only on the surface of your teeth. If there is already bacteria and plaque build-up then mouthwashes wouldn't do anything to penetrate them.

Mouthwashes are just mainly efficient in masking bad breath (not even effective in curing them). However, if you still wish to continue using mouthwashes, choose one that contains antibacterial ingredients so that it can act as a plaque fighter.

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Pros Of Mouthwash

For many, mouthwash is a habitual part when coming to maintaining oral hygiene. Below are some of the pros of using a mouthwash.
• Mouthwashes are capable of fighting cavities. They are good at rinsing away bacteria that would otherwise lead to decay. Also, if your mouthwash contains fluoride, then that's an added benefit. Fluoride-based mouthwashes give protection against cavities by strengthening the teeth's enamel.

• Mouthwashes can keep the gums healthy. Fewer bacteria stick around on the gums preventing inflammation or gum diseases.
• Mouthwashes enable the whitening of teeth. They can help in the removal of stains.
• Mouthwashes act as breath fresheners, which can be a great confidence booster.
• Mouthwashes are said to soothe canker sores (mouth ulcers). Using a non-alcohol based mouthwash can allow the healing of such painful ulcers to be faster. It works by eradicating inflammation-causing bacteria.

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Cons Of Mouthwash

Some of the disadvantages of using mouthwash are stated below:

• Mouthwashes can cause irritation. The ones with high-alcohol content have strong antibacterial features. This can irritate the tissues inside the mouth. Therefore, alcohol-based mouthwashes delay the healing of canker sores.
• If you accidentally consume mouthwash, it could be dangerous, especially due to the high alcohol content in most of the mouthwashes. This being the reason why mouthwashes are not recommended for children under the age of six.
• Mouthwashes lead to dry mouth. Excessive use of alcohol-based mouthwash can leave your mouth extremely dry. This can also cause tooth sensitivity apart from cavities and bad breathe.
• Potential oral health problems get masked due to the use of mouthwashes. A chronic condition of bad breath and chronic halitosis get masked when you use mouthwashes regularly. Chronic bad breather requires immediate medical attention from a dentist. Masking it using a mouthwash is not considered healthy.

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The Bottom Line...

Some doctors swear by the fact that bad breath is caused by bacteria residing in a small region at the back of your tongue, which can easily be cleaned by brushing them using your toothbrush and therefore does not necessarily require the use of a mouthwash. Brushing away these bacteria is said to be more effective than using a mouthwash just to mask your bad breath.

Using a mouthwash cannot substitute the regular need for brushing and flossing. Also, just using a good mouthwash will not ensure a good oral health - but brushing and flossing at least twice daily will. Mouthwashes just serve to be a complimentary habitual ritual in your daily oral hygiene routine. Also, professional dental check-ups are a must at regular intervals so that you always maintain a good oral health.

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