What You Should Know About Choosing a Mouthwash

What You Should Know About Choosing a Mouthwash

Team General Dentistry, Oral Health

Choosing the correct type of mouthwash can be essential to oral health. While everyone knows you should brush and floss at least twice daily, not everyone realizes that choosing a proper mouthwash can enhance oral care.

Mouthwash can help people combat dental problems that do not respond to proper brushing and flossing. It also loosens plaque from the teeth. Mouthwashes on the market contain various active ingredients tailored to a patient’s specific dental issues.

Given the many options on store shelves, you may be confused about what to buy. Total Dental Care MD explains what you should know about choosing a mouthwash.

Types of Mouthwash Available

Here are the four main types of mouthwash on store shelves, along with their recommended use:

Germ-Killing Mouthwash

Over-the-counter germ-killing mouthwashes come in several varieties. These are great for preventing gum disease and tooth decay when combined with proper brushing and flossing.

Chlorhexidine gluconate is the active ingredient in most prescription mouthwash. As an antibacterial agent, it kills the germs that cause gum disease. It is an excellent choice for people with dental health issues like gum disease and periodontitis. Other antibacterials include triclosan and certain essential oils like thymol and menthol.

Products that kill a broad spectrum of microbes like bacteria, fungus, and viruses include alcohol-based preparations. Many people find alcohol-based mouthwashes too harsh, but they are effective. Cetylpyridinium chloride works well for bad breath.

Whitening Mouthwash

Whitening mouthwash often contains peroxide to help eliminate stains from teeth. These products often contain fluoride as well. Ensure that peroxide is at a safe concentration for mouthwash use, lower than 1.5 to 3 percent.

Fluoride Mouthwash

Most dentists recommend that children use fluoride mouthwash, especially if the tap water in their home does not contain fluoride. Fluoride works for people of all ages to prevent and slow tooth decay. Many dentists recommend that everyone uses fluoride mouthwash.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

According to the American Dental Association, mouthwash without fluoride or germ-killing ingredients is a cosmetic product. It makes your mouth taste fresh but does not give any health benefits.

Choosing Your Ideal Mouthwash

Ask your dentist or hygienist what problems you have with your oral health and what you should use for mouthwash. If gum disease is your main concern, consider getting a germ-killing mouthwash. You can ask your dentist if a prescription chlorhexidine product is best.

Dental health is as important as physical health, and some kinds of mouthwash can help you achieve a healthier smile. Your dentist or hygienist knows you and your oral health and can personally tailor their recommendations. Always ask a dental professional what product you should buy when in doubt.

Call Total Dental Care MD Today

If you have questions about mouthwash or your dental health in general, call Total Dental Care MD at 240-813-9111 to set up an appointment. We can walk you through choosing the best products for home use. Contact us for more information.