The key to good teeth is deceiving simple: consistent strong dental hygiene practices over a lifetime. Easier said than done, we know but it is true. A strong home oral hygiene routine is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. What is a strong oral hygiene routine? Is mouthwash an important part of that? Let’s take a closer look at important dental habits and the effectiveness of mouthwash. 


The Basics

While healthcare has changed dramatically over the last few decades, basic dental care has not. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly are the best ways to fight plaque and dental decay. That’s because the number one issue behind dental issues is plaque. Proper brushing removes plaque from the teeth and proper flossing keeps the gaps between teeth and gums clean and healthy. 



Mouthwash has no measurable effect on plaque. Swishing a liquid in your mouth may feel good, but it does not remove existing plaque. That being said, mouthwash can have some positive effects. 


It’s important to realize that there are many different kinds of mouthwash out there. Some mouthwashes contain antibiotics and may be prescribed to fight some kind of infection. Of course, those antibiotics kill healthy mouth bacteria as well so they should not be used as part of your day-to-day dental routine. 


Some mouthwashes may contain chemicals that actually have a detrimental effect on your oral health. Chemicals like cetylpyridinium chloride are common in some mouthwash brands, but have been linked to teeth staining and irritation. 


The best types of mouthwash are alcohol free and contain fluoride. These mouthwashes won’t irritate your mouth, but will provide both the benefits of fluoride and a fresh feeling. 



The bottom line is this: Mouthwash may be needed to address a specific problem like an infection, but generic mouthwash is not needed for a successful oral-hygiene routine. However, mouthwash can leave you feeling clean and refreshed and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you like using mouthwash, be sure to find one that is alcohol-free and includes fluoride



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