Word of Mouth
August 19, 2005
Why use mouthwash

I am an advocate for mouthwash, but I strongly believe that it is often misused. Most people use mouthwashes to cover up bad breath instead of getting it treated, and this at times leads to an array of problems as bad breath can be a symptom of several diseases, systemic and oral, and should be treated rather than covered up. {{more}}

There are a number of mouthwashes on the market, each of them providing different effects but are generally designed to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, remove food particles and temporarily reduce bad breath.

Most of the mouthwashes such as Scope are mainly cosmetic, providing fresh breath for up to three hours. These work by washing away food particles and leaving a fresh taste in the mouth.

Listerine, Corsodyl and Oraldene are a few of the mouthwashes that actually kill some of the bacteria in the mouth that cause gum disease and bad breath and are best used if recommended by your dentist, as they do have some side effects.

Plax, a pre-brush rinse, has been clinically proven to loosen the plaque on the teeth making it easier to remove when brushing. This rinse is often recommended to patients to prevent gingivitis (gum disease).

Fluoride mouthwashes, such as ACT, have been shown to provide benefits to oral health as the fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel, protecting the tooth from decay. ACT is ideal for older children and adults who are highly susceptible to tooth decay, whether it is due to snacking habits or lack of good oral home care.

Of course, no mouthwash can replace brushing and flossing regularly, but if used for the correct purpose can compliment your home care to protect your teeth and gums from disease.

• Dr France is a Dental Surgeon and the owner of Dental Care Dental Clinic. She can be reached at sfrance@vincysurf.com or 456-2125.