A mouthwash can be used when your dentist has advised you to use it, or just when you like to use it yourself. But do they work?
Some mouthwashes can make it easier for you to remove plaque, but they cannot replace your toothbrush and floss.
However, mouthwashes do aid in your oral health and give you a fresh breath and nice taste for some time! Mouthwashes can also be useful when you have starting cavities, when your gums are bleeding easily, or when you have had a treatment for your gums. So what is the best mouthwash to use?
So what is the best mouthwash to use?
Types Of Mouthwashes
Mouthwashes come in a number of variants, and these are the points to keep in mind when choosing a mouthwash:
Alcohol. Some people don’t like to use a mouthwash that contains alcohol, because the kids use it, or they had a history of alcohol abuse, or because they have heard it increases the risk of oral cancer. The latter has not been proven with normal use: twice a day (unless stated otherwise on the product you’re using) and don’t swallow. It is indeed not advisable to use a mouthwash containing alcohol when your kids are using it, as mouthwashes can contain over 20% of alcohol. Read more on kids mouthwash.
Sensitive Gums. People who have sensitive gums can find using mouthwashes to be irritating. In that case it is also advisable not to use a mouthwash that contains alcohol. There are a number of good mouthwashes that do not contain alcohol, as you can read below.
Plaque. Mouthwashes can have anti-bacterial properties next to the presence of alcohol. 20% of alcohol is not sufficient to kill all bacteria. Therefore mouthwashes contain other ingredients, such as eucalyptol and thymol. These ingredients are added at very low concentrations but can be toxic, which makes it important not to swallow.
Fluoride. Fluoride improves the strength of the enamel, as it deposits in the low-density areas of the teeth. It is therefore added to toothpaste, but it is also beneficial in mouthwashes.
Whitening. Some mouthwashes have ingredients that help in whitening your teeth. Read more about the best whitening mouthwash here.
Dry Mouth. Mouthwashes can help to moisturize your mouth when you have a dry mouth. Read more on dry mouth mouthwash in this article.
What Is The Best Mouthwash?
There are a number of good mouthwash brands on the market, which have been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) for being effective. Here is our list:
One of the most popular and best brands of mouthwashes approved by the ADA is Listerine, which has a broad range of products. Most their products contain alcohol, but if you don’t want a mouthwash that contains alcohol, Listerine has two options: Listerine Zero or Total Care Zero. Listerine has a number a variants, including antiseptic mouthwash, mouthwash containing fluoride for enhancing your enamel, and a mouthwash that does not have artificial dyes, sweeteners or flavors.
ACT is another popular brand of mouthwashes and for good reasons. Also approved by the ADA and with numerous variants ACT mouthwash is a great choice! They produce fluoride containing, alcohol-free mouthwashes and mouth rinse specifically for moisteruizing the mouth.
Swan antiseptic mouth rinse has few choices, as they only produce an antiseptic version that contains alcohol and does not have fluoride, but is proven to be effective by the ADA.
There are many types of mouthwash from other brands that can be used, although not all have been approved by the FDA. This means they have either not been tested or do not work. For a full list of mouthwashes approved by the ADA click here.
How To Use Mouthwashes?
Always read and follow the information and instructions on the product you are using. In general, you can use mouthwashes twice a day, after brushing.
It can be especially beneficial when you use a mouthwash before you go to sleep. During your sleep, your mouth dries making your teeth and gums more susceptible to bacteria, as your saliva has antibacterial properties.
Usually, you need to use the product for 30 seconds to 1 minute and spit it out (do not swallow!). Do not rinse your mouth with water and do not eat for at least 30 minutes after using the mouthwash, as the antiseptic ingredients and fluoride continue to work afterward.
These are the general guidelines, but, again, make sure to read the information on the product you are using.
Facts And Fiction About Mouthwashes
Everybody Should Use A Mouthwash
Not True. It is not essential to use a mouthwash, although using a mouthwash additionally can definitely help maintaining an optimal oral health. It can be necessary to use a mouthwash in some cases, like when you have an infection (make sure to consult a dentist!) or your health professional advises you to use it. It is essential though that you take good care of your teeth: brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
You Don’t Need to Brush When Using A Mouthwash
Not True. Using a mouthwash alone is not sufficient to prevent plaque and cavities from forming. Brushing twice a day and flossing are a must!
Mouthwashes Help In Maintaining A Good Oral Health
True. Daily use of a good mouthwash can help to reduce plaque formation and make your gums healthier, but only when you brush and floss daily.
Using A Mouthwash Prevent Cavities
True and Not True. Mouthwashes alone do not prevent cavities from forming, as it is required to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Mouthwashes do add to your overall oral hygiene and health.
Mouthwashes With Alcohol Are Dangerous
True and Not True. It is not advisable to use a mouthwash that contains alcohol when your kids are also using it since mouthwashes can contain over 20% of alcohol. Some people believe that alcohol-containing mouthwashes increase the risk of getting oral cancer. This has never been proven in clinical studies. Alcohol does, however, have a clear antiseptic activity.