What Is The Role Of Mouthwash In Preventing Cavities?

What Is The Role Of Mouthwash In Preventing Cavities?

May 01, 2023

You have been taught that brushing and flossing are important to prevent cavities and keep your smile healthy. While that’s completely true, additional oral hygiene practices like mouthwash are essential for optimal dental and oral health. Besides fighting cavities and oral infections, mouthwash can help keep your mouth clean and provide fresher breath.

What is mouthwash?

A mouthwash is a special liquid used for rinsing the mouth. It is passively held or swilled around the mouth or gargled. Mouthwash contains certain ingredients approved by the ADA for specific purposes. It’s essential to ensure that you choose a mouthwash with the ADA’s seal of approval to ensure its safety and purpose.

Types of Mouthwash

There are several types of mouthwash that you can choose from. Each contains specific ingredients and comes with its set of benefits and cons. They include:

  • Antiseptic mouthwash

This mouthwash contains antibacterial and alcoholic agents that help eliminate oral bacteria and germs. It’s an excellent option for protecting your mouth from cavities, gum diseases, and oral thrush.

  • Fluoride mouthwash

As the name suggests, fluoride mouthwash contains fluoride, an essential mineral that helps remineralize and strengthen your teeth, making them more resistant to damage and cavities.

  • Natural mouthwash

These natural-based mouthwash contain natural ingredients like salt, herbs, and essential oils that freshen your breath and kill bacteria and germs. You can make them right in the comfort of your home.

  • Whitening mouthwash

As the name suggests, whitening mouthwash contains whitening or bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that help remove stains on teeth. This mouthwash is used for cosmetic purposes and may not help prevent cavities.

Choosing the Right Mouthwash

Since each mouthwash has specific purposes, choose the one that’s right for your needs. For instance, antiseptic mouthwash is best for protecting healthy teeth against cavities. Fluoride mouthwash is ideal for people with sensitive teeth and also helps protect your teeth against cavities. Our dentist near you can help you choose the right mouthwash based on your oral needs. Visit our dental clinic in Longmont if you experience side effects from a certain mouthwash.

How mouthwash prevents Cavities

Below are key ways how mouthwash can help you maintain optimal dental health:

  • Killing bacteria

One of the key purposes of mouthwash is to destroy harmful oral bacteria. When uncontrolled, these bacteria produce harmful toxins that erode the teeth’ enamel, causing decay, cavities, and tooth loss. Antibacterial mouthwash contains antibacterial agents that eliminate harmful oral bacteria, preventing decay and cavities.

  • Reduces plaque and tartar buildup

When you don’t brush your teeth as regularly as you should, the harmful oral bacteria combine with the saliva and other debris to form a sticky film of bacteria on teeth and along the gum line called plaque.

If not cleaned promptly, plaque hardens into tartar, which requires professional cleaning to remove. Rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash can help remove, prevent, and reduce the buildup of bacterial deposits, protecting your teeth against enamel erosion and cavities.

  • Strengthen the enamel

While the enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, it’s not indestructible. Since the enamel comprises more than 95% minerals, it’s vulnerable to erosion from acids from oral bacteria and foods. Mouthwash containing fluoride helps restore the lost minerals in the enamel, strengthening your teeth and making them more resistant to dental caries.

When should you Use Mouthwash?

While very effective at keeping your breath fresh and preventing cavities, you must use mouthwash correctly. It’s important to note that you should use mouthwash in addition to regular brushing and flossing, not as an alternative.

Unlike a brush or floss, mouthwash can’t effectively remove food debris and plaque from the teeth and along the gum line. Not brushing and flossing will encourage bacterial plaque and tartar buildup, making you more susceptible to cavities and damage.

You should brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once. You can use the mouthwash once or twice daily or as appropriate for your specific oral needs. Contact our Longmont dentist if unsure when or how often you should use mouthwash.

Learn more about mouthwash

Do you need more information about mouthwash for protection against cavities? Or are you looking for recommendations on the right mouthwash for your oral needs? Contact Mertz Family Dentistry to book your consultation today.

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