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Is MOUTHWASH Good or Bad?

Introduction to Mouthwashes

Today we’re going to talk about mouthwashes. Are they good, are they bad, are they useful? Are they a waste of money? Are they just a big scheme to give you some flavored water to swish with? So I’m going to give you some tips when you go down that aisle in the supermarket or drugstore because it can be overwhelming. You’ve got a whole wall of mouth rinses, every color, shape, size, and lots of different brands.

The Overwhelming Choice of Mouth Rinses

So it can definitely be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. For a long time, the tried and true was your Listerine back in the day. You probably remember your grandparents had this, mine had it in that nasty yellowish orange color. That was horrible. It’s come a long way. They actually have zero-alcohol versions as well. Lots of different flavors. I’m a big fan of Listerine, but the thing you really need to look for when you’re looking for mouth rinses is you just want to make sure it’s ADA-certified. And the reason for that is they do a lot of research. They spend a lot of money, they spend a lot of background checks to make sure that what you’re buying is going to be helpful, it’s not going to be harmful, and you know what ingredients and materials are in there.

The Role of Mouth Rinse in Overall Oral Hygiene

Mouth rinses are great as an adjunct to proper home care, proper toothbrushing and flossing are absolutely important. Two minutes of brushing and flossing twice a day. But what we’ve found is that a mouth rinse actually helps get rid of that extra debris. So, as a supplement, mouth rinse is fantastic. I wouldn’t use it to replace flossing, and obviously can’t use it for brushing, but it’s fantastic for after a meal because not only does the physical swishing action of kind of 30 seconds of really getting in there and agitating get rid of the loose debris that’s kind of tucked into all those corners, but also it can have a soothing effect on your gum tissue and kind of help heal any minor nicks and bruises on those. So, all in all, I highly recommend a mouth rinse as an adjunct to your home care. And you don’t have to go with just Listerine scope. There are so many other brands out there that do an amazing job.

Exploring Mouth Rinse Brands and Types

Like I said, you just want to avoid ones that are natural or ones that don’t have ADA backing. One company that I really like is their breath. They have a lot of really great brands, different flavors, different formulations. This one was actually formulated by a dentist, and he made it a kind of cool story. He made it to help combat the bad breath of a family member.

Additional Tools for Oral Health: Tongue Scrapers

So one of those things, if you’re having bad breath issues and you’re doing a good job with your home care of brushing, flossing a mouth, rinse is definitely going to help. Something else you might want to consider is a tongue scraper to help get any extra debris off. So there are so many different ways we can help you get a fresh, healthy mouth. So a good example of a toothbrush scraper is something that’s going to have a big head and helps you get back there because the tongue, it’s really cool.

If you look at the tongue under the electric microscope, you can see all these deep grooves and bunks. And so just rinsing sometimes or normal brushing is not going to get rid of those bacteria that like to go deep into those grooves. So a nice tongue brush is going to help kind of scrape out and clean out in conjunction with a mouth rinse to clean everything off in case you’re walking down the aisle, and you don’t happen to have a dentist right next to you. This is the seal that we’re looking for, and we’ll put a little blurb on the screen to show you, but this lets you know that it’s a vetted product and it’s been approved. It’s also on the thorough breath products as well. One of the big things about Listerine is the alcohol burn that a lot of people don’t like.

And so the really cool thing about Listerine and a couple of other brands out there, they’ve actually come up with a non-alcohol version, which according to the research, is just as effective, but it doesn’t have that same burn to be honest it has kind of a salty taste to me, but that is just my taste buds. So whatever your fancy and flavor taste, strength, mouth rinses are definitely a great adjunct to your home care to help prevent plaque buildup and gingivitis.

Choosing Between Alcohol and Non-Alcohol Mouth Rinses

So a question we get a lot of the time for a mouth RIN is do I use a non-ACO alcohol version or traditional alcohol version? And to be honest, it really is a personal choice. A lot of times, alcohol can have a very intense, strong flavor, and a lot of people either like that to make it feel like it’s working or they don’t like that intense burn.

The big advantage of the non-alcohol mouth rinse is if you have someone who obviously can’t tolerate alcohol. If you’re concerned about someone abusing the product for the alcohol content, the non-alcoholic version is a great option that is equally as protective and does just the thorough job.

The Debate Over Fluoride Rinses

So you may be wondering what’s the difference between a traditional mouth rinse that is just used for a mouth rinse versus there are some products called fluoride rinses. Personally, I’m not as big a fan of the fluoride rinses. I think while they probably do a minimal job of introducing more fluoride into your teeth, fluoride basically helps build up that outer layer of the tooth surface. So, it helps prevent not only decay and breakdown, but it also helps prevent sensitivity. In my opinion, though, the amount of fluoride you get from a mouth rinse is not going to be adequate for someone who really needs that fluoride treatment.

So a lot of times in that situation, we go with custom-made fluoride trays or a fluoride varnish at your cleaning appointment because what that does is it actually traps the fluoride onto the surface of the tooth, and that allows the tooth to have time to really absorb that into its matrix and help kind of build-up that protective layer. I think a mouth rinse, while it’s not harmful, I just don’t think it does as good a job if your goal is to provide more fluoride content to the teeth, you’re going to want a custom tray that’ll hold that fluoride on there or a fluoride varnish. You probably remember when you were a kid. The different flavors, I think Grape and Strawberry-Cola, were big ones, the big foam trays we had to bite in there and hold for two minutes. That kind of direct access to the tooth surface is going to have a bigger impact than a fluoride-based mouthwash.

Labeling and Marketing of Mouth Rinses

So when you pick up a bottle of mouth rinse, a lot of times they’ll have a label on there, whether it’s designed for sensitivity, whether it’s designed as an antiseptic. My general take on that is the majority of these mouth rinses all serve the same general purpose, and a large part of that is the actual physical switching and removal of debris and plaque on the surface of the teeth and in between the teeth.

Having said that, these companies are successful, and they spend a lot of money to research and tweak their formulas, so if you are having an issue with sensitivity, it would probably benefit you to choose one that’s labeled as sensitive. They all serve the same sensitivity purpose, antiseptic purpose, and anti-cariogenic, which is basically just a big fancy word meaning we’re trying to get rid of cavities on your teeth.

Cavities are basically when you have sugar and bacteria that work together to build a plaque on the surface of the teeth. If you leave that plaque on the surface, it’s going to start eating away that enamel layer. Once it gets into that dentin, which is inside, then it’s like a straight freeway path to your nerve, which is going to be sensitive, potential root canals, potential extractions, and lots of bigger problems. And so the advantage of these mouthwashes is that they prevent that outer layer of enamel from really getting penetrated by that bacteria and plaque layer just laying on the teeth. So again, the physical part rinses and gets everything off, but there’s always microscopic levels of stuff left behind, and so the different formulations can impact that in different ways, but at the end of the day, pick one that is ADA-approved that you enjoy the flavor of that makes you want to use that. Rinse and compliance is the biggest thing.
So if you’ve got one that you like and it is above board, absolutely, I think it’s a great thing to add to your home care regimen.

The Ideal Oral Care Routine

One of the questions that we get a lot is what order should I do all this home care regimen? For me personally, I like to brush first, then floss, and then use mouth rinse because I feel like brushing. You remove a lot of that debris flossing, you get in those areas where the toothbrush can’t quite reach, and then the mouth rinse cleans everything away and leaves you with a nice fresh breath feeling. There’s really no wrong way. I think if you want to floss first and then brush, that’s awesome. We love anytime you floss and add that into your regimen, that’s great. Personally, I would probably go with the mouth rinse last because you clean off all the debris and all the extra material that you’ve kind of knocked off the teeth, and it leaves you with a great fresh breath.

The Verdict on Mouthwash

So, is mouthwash good or bad? Absolutely a hundred percent positive. Mouthwash is a great adjunct to your normal home care routine. It’s fantastic if you don’t have the ability to brush don’t have the ability to floss if you’re out after a meal. A quick rinse is going to not only freshen your breath but it’s also going to wash out a lot of debris and excess material until you can get home and brush and floss properly. I’m Brett Langston. Thank you so much for watching and spending time with us. If you have any questions or concerns you want to see us, we’d love to have you come down and make an appointment. If you are local and want to come in and see us, we’d love to sit down and talk with you. I’m Brett Langston. I’m here to help you watch your mouth.