How mouthwash can help (and how it doesn't)

03/06/2012
by: Roy Smith, D.D.S.

Mouthwash is a great tool that aids in oral health; it helps remove germs and food particles missed by brushing, and freshens your breath. Mouthwash does a lot, but be mindful of what it doesn’t do. You would be amazed how many people think that mouthwash is an alternative to flossing and even brushing! Just to make sure we’re clear on this point: it’s not.

Mouthwash is great for reducing plaque causing bacteria, which can reduce your risk of gum disease. I recommend you choose a mouthwash that’s ADA approved, and that you use it at least once per day. This goes for kids too, but be careful with young children as most mouthwashes are not safe to swallow.

Mouthwash doesn’t replace flossing, brushing or dental visits. Think of mouthwash as just one tool in your arsenal against gum disease and bad breath rather than as a panacea. Despite what many mouthwash commercial would have you believe, 30 seconds of swishing and gargling does not magically clean your teeth and whiten your smile.



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