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Should I Use Mouthrinse?

Should I Use Mouthrinse?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using mouthrinse. I just haven't emphasized enough to my patients the specific reasons for using it. As for myself, I don't use mouthrinse routinely.

Let me explain: mouthrinse can be beneficial for certain oral conditions if it contains specific ingredients. However, it's not a substitute for mechanical flossing and brushing – it's more like a shower with just water. It can rinse off some debris, but it won't fully clean out all those surface germs and sticky biofilms without proper brushing and flossing.

If someone is brushing their teeth properly, there is no need to use mouthwash. So when is mouthwash necessary?

Firstly, I recommend using mouthwash rather than brushing immediately after consuming acidic beverages like orange juice, cola, or soda. Toothpaste contains abrasive agents to clean the tooth surface, and if you brush your teeth right after consuming acidic drinks, the erosive effect of the beverages is compounded with the abrasive action of toothpaste, leading to increased tooth surface erosion. Therefore, after consuming acidic beverages, it is better to rinse with water or mouthwash, or wait for about 30 minutes to 1 hour for the neutralizing effect of saliva before brushing.

Mouthwash is also necessary for individuals who have difficulty brushing their teeth properly. People who have undergone oral surgeries such as wisdom tooth extraction, tooth extractions, or dental implants are recommended to use mouthwash for oral hygiene for about 3 to 5 days after the surgery. Additionally, for individuals with disabilities or conditions that make proper brushing difficult, mouthwash is advised after brushing.

For those who are more susceptible to cavities, opting for a mouthrinse with extra fluoride can be beneficial. Standard fluoridated mouth rinses typically contain 500ppm fluoride, whereas regular toothpaste usually contains 1000-1500 ppm of fluoride. By using a mouthrinse with a higher fluoride concentration, you can provide your teeth with an extra delivery of fluoride, which may help strengthen enamel and provide added protection against tooth decay. Remember to consult with your dentist to determine the best fluoride mouthrinse for your specific dental needs.

Dry mouth can be caused by medications, cancer therapy, health conditions, or age, and it increases the risk of oral issues. For dry mouth patients, using a dry mouth-specific mouthrinse available in the market can be beneficial in providing relief and maintaining oral health. These mouthrinses stimulate saliva production and provide a protective coating for oral tissues, reducing discomfort and the risk of oral problems. Consult with your dentist to find the best solutions for managing dry mouth based on your individual needs.

"But Dr. Jung, using mouth rinse makes my bad breath disappear!"

Sure thing! Some mouth rinses are designed to tackle bad breath, using antibacterial agents to neutralize odors temporarily. It can freshen your breath, but it won't fix the root causes of bad breath (halitosis).

Remember, mouthrinse is not a substitute for regular oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily – that's crucial for maintaining good oral health. Additionally, a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco, and scheduling regular dental check-ups are crucial components of a comprehensive oral care routine.

If you still want to give mouthrinse a shot, follow the instructions on the bottle, and don't swallow it! If you decide to use mouthrinse routinely, make sure it doesn't contain alcohol, as there are many studies linking it to increased oral cancer risk with long-term use. Also, if the alcohol content in the mouthrinse evaporates along with saliva in the mouth, it may not effectively wash away the bacteria causing cavities, resulting in the growth of normal bacterial strains and the development of plaque or tartar. Moreover, mouthwash can cause irritation to taste buds and mucous membranes, potentially leading to fungal infections like oral candidiasis.

When you encounter any issues or persistent problems, talk to me or your dentists for some expert advice. Keep that smile shining bright!

Dr. Gloria Jung, DDS, BSc


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