Is mouthwash necessary?

A quick walk down the oral health care aisle at the local supermarket bombards you with options in toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, and mouthwash options. While you know you need to brush your teeth and you know you should floss, you may ask yourself if mouthwash is necessary.

The answer is more than a simple “yes” or “no.” For those who floss daily, who brush regularly, and who visit the dentist at least once a year – no, mouthwash is not necessary. Yet, for those who rarely floss, who brush their teeth irregularly, and who do not frequent the dentist – mouthwash is an added component to your oral health care routine that can help protect your teeth and smile.

Mouthwash was created specifically for those who are more cavity-prone and for those who do not practice ideal oral care. Most mouthwash options contain ingredients that kill harmful bacteria that lives in the oral plaque that coats your teeth on a daily basis. Dental plaque is made up of millions of acid-producing bacteria that, when allowed to linger, will eat holes in your tooth enamel. These holes are actually cavities, and they are the most chronic oral health issues in the world. While flossing is the ideal choice for removing bacteria-laden plaque from the teeth, unfortunately, it is the most neglected oral health care habit. Mouthwash does not replace flossing because it does not remove plaque, but it does kill the bacteria in the plaque in order to prevent cavities and gum disease. It is important to choose a mouthwash with the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) seal of approval to ensure that you are successfully combating the harmful bacteria inside your mouth.

Mouthwash is also extremely beneficial to women during pregnancy. The extreme hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy impact the gum tissues within the mouth. A woman’s gums often become tender, swollen, and easily irritated, leaving them vulnerable to gum disease. Because the body has a single bloodstream, any infection inside the mouth can easily travel throughout the body. Gum disease has been directly linked to miscarriage, preterm labor, and low birth weight babies because of how easily infection can travel from the gum tissues to the uterus. Using mouthwash during pregnancy can help protect both an expecting mother and her growing baby.

Mouthwash is never meant to replace flossing, brushing, or dental visits. Adding it to your oral care routine can help protect your smile. Call Thousand Oaks Dentistry today for a dentist-approved recommendation.