What a Dentist Says About Mouthwash

Your Asheville dentist wants you to stay healthy.

People use mouthwash for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s part of their morning ritual. Others use mouthwash throughout the day: before a big meeting, after the morning coffee or because of a funny taste. Some singers like to gargle before a performance.

It’s great to freshen your breath after that garlic you had for lunch or to give yourself a brisk wake-me-up in the sluggish period mid-afternoon. But mouthwash also plays a more significant role in your general dental health. Your Asheville dentist wants you to be aware of the many benefits you can get from using mouthwash regularly, including:

  • Reducing plaque
  • Helping to prevent or control tooth decay
  • Preventing or reducing gingivitis
  • Decreasing the speed that tartar forms on your teeth

Begin the Search

When you enter your grocery store or pharmacy, you’ll encounter miles of shelves full of all the different brands of mouthwashes on the market today. It can be a bit overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. Whichever mouthwash you choose, though, always follow the directions of your Asheville dentist. He can recommend the best mouthwash because he knows your teeth better than anyone.

A hallmark of an effective — and safe — mouthwash is the ADA seal shown clearly on the label. The American Dental Association’s seal of approval means that the product has been thoroughly tested and reviewed by an independent, scientific authority (in other words, someone other than the product manufacturer). You’ll also find a statement telling you why the product received the valuable seal of approval.

Markers of Excellence

The claims made by manufacturers must be clear to the ADA inspectors and to your Asheville dentist before they can give a recommendation for you and your family. For example, if a mouthwash claims to rid you of bad breath, it must be true for a prolonged period of time. Mouthwashes that claim to reduce gingivitis inflammation must demonstrate a significant improvement through clinical trials.

The primary uses of mouthwash generally fall into five categories that must meet the exacting ADA standards. Mouthwashes must:

  1. Freshen breath by chemically inactivating the compounds that cause odors
  2. Temporarily mask bad mouth odors with astringent salts
  3. Contain fluoride to help reduce tooth decay and make teeth stronger to resist decay
  4. Reduce plaque with antimicrobial agents that target bacteria directly
  5. Decrease the severity of early stage gum disease

Follow an Asheville Dentist’s Advice

Mouthwash is not a replacement for flossing and brushing. Instead, it serves as a complement to your daily dental hygiene. Your Asheville dentist can tell you which kind of mouthwash is best for your needs. You can use a mouthwash before or after brushing. It’s ideal for removing debris in your mouth at any time. Prescription mouthwash with stronger agents is available and may be more effective if you’ve had periodontal surgery. Ask us about it during your next visit.

— Dr. Stamatiades and the Zöe Dental Team