Your Guide to Selecting the Right Mouthwash

 In Oral Health

selecting the right mouthwash gregorin dental anchorage alaska dentistAre you looking to add a mouthwash to your oral health regimen in order to ensure your teeth are healthy and clean? There are a variety of great benefits to doing so, but if you’ve started to look around at all the options out there, you may find that choosing one can be overwhelming. Use this guide to help you select the right mouthwash for your unique teeth and oral hygiene needs.

Antiseptic Mouthwash

One of the most popular types of mouthwashes on the market is the antiseptic mouthwash. This option contains alcohol and a chemical known as chlorhexidine gluconate, and it can be used to stop the growth of bacteria and to eliminate infections in the gums.

These mouthwashes are especially helpful for people who suffer from chronic bad breath, but it is important that you don’t overuse them. Getting too much chlorhexidine can actually cause your teeth to become discolored over time, and if you do notice this symptom, you should speak to your dentist about how to correct it.

Fluoride Mouthwash

Another popular option, fluoride mouthwashes contain sodium fluoride, which is useful in strengthening the teeth. Fluoride can also protect against tooth decay. However, before you use a fluoride mouthwash, you should consider how much fluoride you are getting from other sources. Most toothpaste options contain fluoride, as does tap water. Too much fluoride isn’t a good idea, especially for young children who are at risk of developing a condition called fluorosis.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

Some dentists refer to cosmetic mouthwashes as “useless mouthwashes,” as they are simply a way to freshen your breath. You can take a swig and swish before a big job interview, a date, or an important presentation, but you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that just because your mouth tastes minty fresh that it is actually clean.

A cosmetic mouthwash isn’t going to offer the same type of protection as antiseptic or fluoride washes. While they can help to keep your teeth looking clean, they are not going to benefit your oral health by reducing your tooth decay risk. Additionally, they won’t reduce bacteria, so you won’t have any additional protection against gum disease by using a cosmetic wash.

Natural Mouthwash

Over the past ten years or so, natural mouthwash has become especially popular, especially for people who are looking to avoid alcohol-based products. A natural mouthwash can work like a traditional mouthwash but may also be able to treat injury or infection. Some people may find that a homemade mouthwash works best for them and will use warm water with a pinch of salt.

Prescription Mouthwash

Sometimes known as “magic mouthwash,” a prescription mouthwash can only be given to you by your dentist. These washes are used to treat certain mouth conditions like inflamed gums or mouth ulcers. These mouthwashes typically include a few key ingredients in order to improve your oral health and to reduce your symptoms:

  • Glucocorticoids in order to reduce potential inflammation
  • Antibiotics like tetracycline to clear up any infection that may be affecting the teeth or gums
  • A local anesthetic like lidocaine for pain reduction
  • Maalox, which is an antacid that can protect your gums against damage
  • Nystatin, which is an antifungal medication that is used to specifically treat oral mucositis

It is important to remember that a mouthwash is only one part of your greater dental hygiene routine, and it should never be used to replace brushing and flossing. If you have questions about selecting the right mouthwash or other ways that you can keep your teeth healthy and clean, please contact our office to set up an appointment.


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