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When it comes to mouthwash, many people think it only gets rid of bad breath. In reality, many mouthwashes do much more than that, such as helping protect against gum disease. But how do you know if a particular mouthwash is right for you? For starters, make sure it has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association (ADA). Then it’s time to look at what ingredients and type of mouthwash your mouth needs.
Beneficial Ingredients in Mouthwash
You might already know that some mouthwashes have alcohol and some don’t. Alcohol-based mouthwashes have bacteria-killing benefits, but may not be right for people with dry mouth. There are also four groups of active ingredients that vary from mouthwash to mouthwash. Here are their benefits, according to the ADA:
- Antimicrobial agents act directly on oral bacteria to help reduce plaque, decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath.
- Fluoride helps reduce tiny lesions (tooth decay) on tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.
- Astringent salts can serve as temporary deodorizers that mask bad breath.
- Odor neutralizers act by chemically inactivating odor causing compounds.
The type of mouthwash is often a good indicator of whether it has some of these ingredients.
Types of Mouthwash
There are two basic types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:
- Cosmetic – These mouthwashes tend to taste good and can temporarily control bad breath, but they don’t eliminate the source (bacteria) of the bad breath. They also don’t prevent plaque, cavities or gingivitis.
- Therapeutic – This type of mouthwash tends to have more active ingredients that improve or maintain the health of your mouth. They fight plaque, gum disease, tooth decay and even bad breath. While you can get a prescription for a therapeutic mouthwash, some are available over the counter.
If you’d like to know more about the benefits of mouthwash and other ways you can maintain proper dental hygiene, schedule a consultation with us today!