Mouthwash alone is not a substitute for proper brushing and flossing.
Today’s advertisements for mouthwashes (aka mouthrinses) are so appealing, one may think rinsing is sufficient for daily oral healthcare needs. Mouthwash alone is not a substitute for proper brushing and flossing, but it can be complementary.
Mouthwashes are primarily classified as either therapeutic, cosmetic or a combination of the two.
Cosmetic rinses can be found in the dental aisle at most markets. These products help remove debris, decrease bacteria in the mouth and freshen breath. Therapeutic rinses contain an added active ingredient that help protect against oral diseases as well as freshen breath. They are usually labeled as anti-plaque or anti-cavity.
In some cases, special medicinal rinses are prescribed for cases of periodontal (gum) disease, xerostomia (dry mouth) and cavities.
When choosing a mouthwash, avoid products with alcohol as it dries the gum tissues.
In most cases, there is no harm in using mouthrinse on a daily basis. Although with proper brushing and flossing it is not necessary.
As with most products, there can be side effects. Mouthwashes can lead to mouth ulcers, root sensitivity, stains, soreness and changes in taste sensation. If these systems arise, please discontinue use of the rinse.
Children under 12 years old are not recommended to use mouthwash. Proper brushing and flossing is sufficient and should be encouraged. Children with a high risk of decay (cavities) may be instructed by a dental professional to use a daily mouthwash with fluoride.