Many people follow their regular brushing with a swish of mouthwash. But does mouthwash really help improve the health of your mouth, or does it just make your mouth feel clean and fresh? The truth is that it depends on what type of mouthwash you're using.
Some mouthwash is simply cosmetic. That means it tastes really good and can mask bad breath for a short time, but it doesn't actually contain anything that's going to help kill the bacteria that cause bad breath and other oral health issues. It's good if you want to get a bad taste out of your mouth or if you've just eaten garlic and don't want to repulse others, but it's not actually going to do anything more than that.
Therapeutic mouthwash, on the other hand, does contain at least one active ingredient that kills bacteria. This type of mouthwash will help control the underlying cause of bad breath, plaque, and gingivitis. These ingredients include fluoride, peroxide, chlorhexidine, and other things that target specific oral health issues. Often, a mouthwash will include several of these ingredients so that it battles multiple issues. Some of these mouthwashes, such as those that contain chlorhexidine, can only be obtained with a prescription.
In addition to mouthwashes that help battle bacteria, there are also some that include numbing agents. These mouthwashes are useful if you have pain in your mouth but can't get in to see us right away. They can help reduce the pain until we address its cause.
Which Is Better? If you're looking for a mouthwash that is going to help improve your oral health, you want to go with a therapeutic mouthwash. Unfortunately, these products aren't often labeled as therapeutic or cosmetic, so you'll need to look at the list of ingredients.
If you'd like to learn more about mouthwashes and which ones we recommend, give us a call. We can help you select a therapeutic mouthwash that will help address your specific oral health needs.