What does the ideal dental hygiene routine look like?
Most people would agree that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is the bare minimum for a healthy smile. If you’re not brushing your teeth, you’ve got a long road of dentist appointments (and oral health issues) ahead of you.
Next is flossing. Despite recent questions regarding its effectiveness, we all know that flossing is important. Everyone should floss on a daily basis after brushing to remove food leftovers and bacteria that could later form plaque.
Anything else? The long-forgotten third step of a dental routine is mouthwash.
You’ve probably heard your dentist praise mouthwash for getting into the spots that brushing or flossing can’t reach. However, you might have also heard controversy over whether mouthwash is really necessary.
Below, we’re going to go over the pros and cons of using mouthwash, how to find one that has a healthy and pleasant rinse, and the secret to getting the best dental hygiene routine.
Fresh breath! No one wants bad breath. Mouthwash is first and foremost a way to end your dental hygiene routine with intensely fresh breath.
Lower your risk of periodontal disease. Dental hygiene is not just about your teeth. Your tongue, and especially your gums, need some love too. Without proper hygiene, your gums could get infected and develop periodontal disease.
Even if you do a great job at brushing your gums alongside your teeth, mouthwash is still a great way to prevent periodontal disease. When you swish mouthwash for 30-60 seconds, all areas of the mouth are covered and positively affected. Even if harmful bacteria is lingering in a nook and cranny between your teeth and gums, mouthwash can get it.
The Drawbacks of Mouthwash
May irritate canker sores. Mouthwash is often recommended for canker sores, because some mouthwashes can soothe the area and help it heal faster. Other mouthwashes, however, can inflame the canker sore and cause pain throughout the mouth. If you are using a mouthwash that does not agree with your canker sore, spit it out.
Could increase your risk of oral cancer. The biggest controversy surrounding mouthwash is its link to oral cancer. The research connected to these risks isn’t the best research around, but the results may still make you feel hesitant to swish.
What Mouthwash Should I Choose?
Overall, mouthwash is a great addition to brushing and flossing. Bringing it into your routine can really help you remove any leftover plaque and bad bacteria. All of the controversy surrounding mouthwash can typically be solved with one solution: choose a gentler mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol.
The biggest connection between mouthwash and oral cancer lies in alcohol. Sure, we may drink alcohol in our daily lives, but we don’t swish it in our mouths for 60 seconds. While alcohol mouthwashes are considered safe by the American Dental Association, it is completely fine to choose one without alcohol.
Want the Best Dental Routine? Get Regular Cleanings
Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash are great, but no dental hygiene routine is complete until you have a dentist appointment on your calendar. Patients should head to the dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year just to make sure everything is in tip-top shape, and to eliminate plaque that has built up between visits.
Don’t have an appointment scheduled? Give us a call.