Mouthwashes have become a fad nowadays – some simply rinse their mouth with a mouthwash instead of brushing their teeth, the reason being lack of time. While mouthwashes are effective up to a certain extent, the question is can they replace your brush and tooth paste?
Why is Mouthwash Used?
Mouth washes are used for multiple reasons; to prevent tooth decay, freshen your breath and to minimize plaque. It is also known to reduce gingivitis (gum disease) and plaque that harden on your teeth.
In order to understand the efficacy of mouth wash better, you need to know about the ingredients it is made up of. The basic ingredients are cleansing agents, water, alcohol and flavor causing substances. Certain active ingredients are also added to mouth wash which usually vary from product to product. Some of them are:
Fluoride which prevents decay of the tooth by making it more resistant.
Antimicrobials which reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth that lead to plaque formation in the teeth.
Salts, that have astringent properties, act as deodorizers to prevent bad breath.
Substances that reduce bad breath causing compounds.
Advantages of using a Mouthwash are:
1. Helps in preventing gum disease: Inflammation of the gums and teeth can occur when plaque causing bacteria are present on the teeth. Mouthwashes that contain antibacterial agents help in reducing these bacteria.
2. Reduces cavity: Mouthwashes that contain fluoride help in reducing cavities that affect your teeth. Cavities are holes in your teeth which form when bacteria in the teeth cause plaque.
3. Provides relief from canker sores: Mouth wash provides relief from canker sores by reducing the amount of bacteria present on the affected area.
4. Prevents pregnancy complications: Certain gum diseases release harmful bacteria in the bloodstream that can stimulate early contractions. Using mouth washes provides safeguard against these bacteria, thus, in turn, protecting your baby.
Disadvantages of a Mouthwash:
1. May irritate canker sores: Mouthwashes which contain alcohol in high concentrations can irritate canker sores in the mouth.
2. A risk factor for oral cancer: Certain mouthwashes may contain ingredients which increase the risks of oral cancer. It is therefore important for you to check the ingredients before using it.
Given that the benefits outweigh the cons, using mouthwash is good for you. You should not substitute brushing or flossing with using a mouthwash, though. Rather, it should complement them. If the mouth wash contains alcohol in decent amounts, then you are good to go.