Brushing and flossing, as most people know, are essential to maintaining dental health. However, rinsing with mouthwash is not typically included in this regimen, although the shelves at your local grocery are packed with options. Your dentist in East Lansing, MI Dr. Thomas Faiver, explains both the benefits and problems associated with mouthwash use.
Why should people use mouthwash?
Mouthwash, which comes in a variety of flavors and strengths, has been shown to help kill the germs that cause decay and gum disease, enhancing the actions of brushing and flossing. Mouthwash that contains fluoride, a natural mineral, can help to keep bacteria at bay as well as well as strengthen the teeth's enamel. A quick rinse of mouthwash can also freshen the breath temporarily. Most people tend to use mouthwash after brushing and flossing to rinse away any food particles left behind, but others find using it first to "prime" the mouth as a better option. Your East Lansing dentist can recommend certain brands and types for your dental health.
When is mouthwash not recommended?
As with most things, moderation is the key when using mouthwash. In addition to reducing "bad" bacteria, the antiseptic agents in mouthwash can also kill off the "good" bacteria that people need to maintain a healthy mouth. People who use alcohol-based mouthwash in excess of three times a day, especially in place of brushing or flossing, put themselves at a greater risk for oral cancer, according to a study published in the medical journal Oral Oncology.
The American Dental Association recommends that any type of mouthwash should only be used under a dentist's advice, so if you have questions about your oral hygiene routine, Dr. Faiver wants to hear from you! Contact our office in East Lansing, MI, to schedule an appointment today!