Most consumers are under the impression that mouthwash is a necessary hygiene product for gums and teeth. But it’s actually not necessary. Mouthwash is merely one of many personal care products that people have been conditioned to use due to effective advertising more than any other reason. As long as you brush your teeth properly and see a dentist for regular cleanings, your teeth and gums should be maintained without mouthwash.
What Mouthwash Actually Does
On the surface, advertising has persuaded the masses to believe that mouthwash kills germs in your mouth. Yet some types of mouthwash contain alcohol, which dries out the mouth, making it a more comfortable home for bacteria. There are some mouthwashes, however, that do modestly fight plaque. Those products include the American Dental Association’s “Seal of Acceptance” for fighting plaque.
Doesn’t mouthwash at least eliminate bad breath? It does in the sense that it can cover up bad breath but it doesn’t resolve the underlying problem. Anthony Komaroff, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, says that brushing and flossing are much more important to maintaining healthy gums and teeth. He also says the best way to deal with bad breath is not with mouthwash, but by brushing the back area of the tongue where bacteria resides causing bad breath.
Proper Care of Teeth
Here are some basic tips for taking care of your teeth whether you decide to use mouthwash or not.
• Flossing teeth before you brush is an effective way of keeping teeth healthy
• The floss should wrap around the tooth in a “C” shape and be wiped from the bottom upward
• Flossing both sides of teeth is important
• Gentle, circular up and down motion should be used with the toothbrush on gums and teeth
• Toothbrushes should contain soft bristles