Pros and Cons of Mouthwash

Mouthwash is a topic that has been debated by people for years now. While some believe that using mouthwash is the perfect way to ensure oral hygiene, others are of the opinion that it can cause harm to their health. The truth is, both sides have valid points.

Mouthwash has been around for almost 2,000 years. The ancient Chinese and Greeks were some of the first civilizations to develop their own versions of mouthwash. These early versions were typically made from natural ingredients such as herbs and spices and were used to freshen breath and improve oral hygiene.

Fast forward to the 20th century and we see the introduction of modern mouthwash with the addition of antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine. Today, mouthwash has become a routine part of many people's daily oral care regimen and is available in a wide variety of flavours and types to suit everyone's preferences and needs.

If you are wondering whether mouthwash is good for you or if mouthwash is bad for you, continue reading to understand the benefits and the potential disadvantages of using a mouthwash.

Pros of Using Mouthwash

Fresh minty breath and brighter teeth are the two main reason people purchase and use mouthwash daily. Wondering about the mouthwash advantages that improve your oral health?

  • Reduces bad breath. Many adults use mouthwash for bad breath and to face the day with fresh breath. Consumption of onions, garlic, alcohol, coffee and dairy products can strengthen the foul-odour of bad breath. This is why some people use mouthwash after every meal.
  • Enhances oral hygiene. Aside from freshening breath mouthwash is commonly used to enhance your oral health by reducing the presence of bacterial growth. Antiseptic and antibacterial mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine, triclosan or thymol.
  • Prevents tooth decay and cavities. A stringent oral care routine with mouthwash containing fluoride can help protect against cavities and tooth decay. Fluoride protects the teeth by strengthening the outer layer known as enamel.
  • Reduces plaque and gingivitis.The ingredients of most mouthwashes target bacteria that cause plaque which can lead to gingivitis. Daily use is recommended to treat mild gum disease and reduce the chance of periodontitis developing.
  • Refreshing feeling and improved taste. Swishing mouthwash around the mouth can provide a refreshing feel and an improved taste in the mouth. The product is generally used for this reason alone before a meeting, a date or a speaking event.

Cons of Using Mouthwash

With all the benefits of using mouthwash, there are also some mouthwash disadvantages. Keep these points in mind:

  • Alcohol content. Most manufacturers of mouthwash add alcohol to destroy bad bacteria and germs to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The alcohol in mouthwash has been linked to development of mouth ulcers, mouth dryness, and reduction of salvia production.
  • Masks underlying dental problems. Using mouthwash to fight bad breath may hide the underlying cause of a medical condition known as halitosis. If you suspect you have chronic bad breath or halitosis, please ask your dental care provider for their advice, opinion and possible treatment.
  • Overuse and oral microbiome disruption. While mouthwash destroys harmful bacteria, it can also kill good bacteria, adversely affecting your oral health. This is seen with mouthwash containing antibacterial or antiseptic properties which target all bacteria. Always follow the mouthwash use instructions and don’t overuse mouthwash.
  • Risk of staining teeth and dental restorations. One of the largest disadvantages of mouthwash is its ability to cause staining of the teeth and may damage dental restorations. This, only associated with some mouthwash products.

Comparison Table: Mouthwash Types

Reduction of Bad BreathFreshens breathMay mask underlying issues
Enhanced Oral CareRemoves food particlesMay contain harsh chemicals
Prevention of Tooth DecayReduces growth of bad bacteriaOften substituted for brushing
Reduction of Plaque/GingivitisHelp reduce plaque buildupDoes not remove existing plaque
Refreshing FeelingImproves taste in mouthCan irritate mouth

FAQs About Mouthwash

Is using mouthwash everyday good?

Depending on the recommendation of your dentist, mouthwash is generally safe and effective to be used once or twice each day.

When should I avoid using mouthwash?

Do not use mouthwash if you have sores or cuts within the oral cavity. Those undergoing chemotherapy or who have a compromised immune system should avoid using mouthwash.

How long should I use mouthwash?

Swish the mouthwash for a time of 30 to 60 seconds before spitting out. Under 30 seconds, the mouthwash does not have adequate time to fight bacteria and freshen the breath.

What is the right way to use mouthwash?

Use the recommended amount listed on the product. Actively swish the liquid around the mouth and through the teeth before spitting it all out. Do not swallow mouthwash.

Should I rinse after mouthwash?

No. As most mouthwashes contain fluoride, rinsing will only remove the essential components of the fluoride.

Does mouthwash whiten teeth?

There are some mouthwash products designed specifically for whitening teeth. A mouthwash with carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide can help whiten teeth over time.

Can mouthwash remove stains?

There is specially developed mouthwash with whitening agents to help prevent future stains which may also partially remove stains.

Seek Professional Advice with Princeview Dental

If you are wondering if mouthwash is necessary for your oral hygiene routine, contact the team at Princeview Dental Group. We offer personalized dental plans to enhance your oral and overall health. Our friendly team provides regular oral care and emergency services. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (416) 231-4562 or fill out our form here.

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