| 06/25/13

There are dozens of different types of mouthwash on the market and it can be difficult to determine the right option that will best meet your needs. Mouthwashes can help inhibit plaque buildup, prevent or control tooth decay, treat or reduce gingivitis, and work to slow down plaque hardening into tartar. Rinsing with a mouthwash helps to remove debris and little food particles in the mouth.

This handy primer should help you make the right decision about which mouthwash is best for you!

Cosmetic Mouthwashes
These mouthwashes serve to help whiten the appearance of teeth. Cosmetic mouthwashes might ensure teeth look clean and healthy but they do not fight bad breath, plaque, or gingivitis because they do not kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. They often contain colorings and flavorings to make them more appealing, but do little from an oral-health standpoint.

Therapeutic Mouthwashes
These mouthwashes are designed to be a part of your successful oral hygiene routine because they help fight bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that cause bad breath and tooth decay. Mouthwashes in this broad category might contain a large variety of active ingredients such as fluoride, alcohol, and other anti-microbial agents. Therapeutic mouthwashes do kill bacteria, keeping breath fresh and clean. However, it is important to visit your dentist if you find yourself using it to mask or treat chronic bad breath, as that might be a sign of a more serious condition. One of the most common antibacterial mouthwash ingredients is alcohol. Alcohol based mouthwashes work really well at killing the bacteria that cause bad breath and help contribute to overall oral health. The latest studies have disproven a link between alcohol based mouthwashes and oral cancers1. However, they should not be used by children under 6 and can cause dry mouth, especially if overused. Alcohol-based mouthwashes are one of the most popular and most cost effective mouthwashes on the market.

Mouthwashes that contain the antibacterial ingredient cetylpyridinum chloride can help treat gingivitis. These mouthwashes can leave brown spots on the teeth, so it is important to get regular cleanings. It is a good option for those who need an alcohol free anti-bacterial mouthwash.

Designed to fight more advance periodontal disease, stabilized chlorine dioxide based mouthwashes help treat periodontal disease by killing bacteria. These mouthwashes do treat bad breath in the process, making them a good choice for those who do not want an alcohol rinse or those who have dry mouth.

Mouthwashes with fluoride help fight both cavities and periodontal disease. These fluoride reinforced mouthwashes help protect tooth enamel. These are ideal for people with soft teeth, those prone to cavities or for use after periodontal surgery. Your dentist can help you decide what concentration you need and which over the counter or prescription brand is best for your needs. It is important to remember that fluoride rinses do not contain antibacterial ingredients and are not a replacement for proper brushing, flossing and regular cleanings at the dentist.

1Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19838548

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