Monday, March 28, 2016

How important is using mouth wash?

            There was a recent article in TIME magazine discussing how important and safe mouth wash is in your normal oral hygiene routine. Below we will discuss some of the benefits and limitations of different mouth rinse options.

Can I use a mouth rinse instead of brushing and/or flossing?
            While mouth rinses can be an effective adjunct to your normal brushing and flossing routine, they are definitely not a substitute. They are not designed to replace brushing twice each day and they are not designed to lessen the frequency of dental visits. But they can help to improve your breath and are safe when used properly.
             One exception to this is chlorhexidine gluconate rinse. This is a prescription strength rinse that may be given following a surgical procedure. Following gum tissue grafting, the surgeon may want you to avoid brushing that area to allow for proper healing. Chlorhexidine may be used for a short time to help clean the area. But it is important to remember this is not a long term solution.

What kind of mouth wash should I use?
            The three most common recommendations we have are Crest Pro-Health, Listerine, and ACT. We don’t recommend Scope because it does not have any anti-bacterial properties. It only freshens your breath.
  • Pro-Health is all alcohol free and contains some fluoride to help fight tooth decay.
  • The Listerine has options that are alcohol free and with alcohol. Both can be affective but the alcohol can feel abrasive to some. There are a number of different options with some varying degrees of fluoride. Consult your dentist or dental hygienist on which is best for you.
  • ACT contains fluoride and has an offering designed specifically for children.

Are there any side affects to using a mouth rinse?
            The ADA (American Dental Association) believes there are no substantiated risks to using mouth wash once or twice per day. However, some people may have a mild allergy to different rinses. Symptoms may include red and inflamed gums or a ‘stringy’ white residue on their tissue. Both of these side affects are reversible when you discontinue use and do not cause any permanent problems.

            With so many options available, your best bet is to talk with your dentist and hygienist about what mouth rinse could best work for you. This will help narrow down your options simplify your decision.

For more information, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

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