The Truth in Every Rinse: The Workings of Mouthwash


15253378-open-mouthSilently sitting on sinks and kitchen counter tops, your mouthwash plays probably one of the most underrated roles of a superhero. Countless times one swish of this liquid in the mouth has saved people from a bad first impression when meeting potential business investors or a first date. It does not need a cape to save the taste buds from the tragedy of undesirable food encounters. But, while its benefit is right on the spot, it does not last long.

Popularly regarded as the first aid to eliminating bad breath, it is true that mouthwash does relieve bad breath, but only temporarily. However, it should be emphasized that its function lacks the capability to remove the underlying causes of bad breath such as diseases involving the digestive system, dental cavities, and periodontal diseases. If a person finds the need to use mouthwash more than usual and necessary, it is strongly suggestive of underlying problems which should be assessed by a dentist. Therefore, it is technically right to say that the use of mouthwash is a preventive measure.

There are two classifications of mouthwashes. Therapeutic mouth rinse has antibacterial properties that can prevent build-up of bacteria and development of gum disease. Some of these therapeutic mouth rinses contain fluoride which helps in protecting teeth and strengthening them. The other type is referred to as cosmetic mouthwash. These are only used to relieve bad breath. They do not contain antibacterial ingredients.

On the other hand, mouthwashes can be also be classified into alcohol or non-alcohol. The majority of mouthwashes available on the market have alcohol in them. Alcohol can cause dryness of the mouth. Alcohol-free mouthwashes are generally milder and are more suitable for people with mouth sensitivity. Alcohol-free forms are also recommended for children because of the danger in accidental swallowing.

Aside from guaranteed instant fresh breath, using mouthwash can help with the removal of food debris in the mouth. Some people use it as a substitute for brushing and flossing, which is a grave mistake. The simple act of rinsing a liquid in the mouth can’t effectively free teeth from potential plaque-forming substances. According to dentists, it doesn’t matter the order of brushing, flossing, and rinsing as long as you perform each one in your oral hygiene routine.

Lastly, mouthwashes or mouth rinses are screened for quality and effectiveness. This is done by the American Dental Association. Those washes and rinses that are proven safe and suitable for public consumption carry with them ADA seals as proof that they are scientifically-tested. This proof also comes with a brief statement from ADA explaining why a specific brand earned the seal.