When you care about the health of your teeth, you make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly. But after brushing and flossing, is mouthwash really necessary? Let’s talk about how mouthwash affects your mouth so you can decide if it’s right for you.

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
It’s important to keep your teeth clean in order to keep them healthy. When you eat, food particles or sugary residue can be left behind, which can react with the bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Plaque is a clear, sticky substance that is home to hundreds of types of bacteria that can erode the enamel or outer layer of your teeth and lead to cavities if allowed to remain on the tooth for too long.

Your saliva is your body’s way of helping to keep your teeth clean and free of cavity-causing bacteria and plaque, but foods and drinks that are high in sugar or carbohydrates can throw off your body’s natural balance. Brushing and flossing regularly after meals is important because it works to remove plaque and keep your teeth clean and healthy.

When You Can’t Brush
What about those times when you’re in a rush or don’t have access to a sink and can’t brush your teeth after a meal? Mouthwash can be a great temporary stand-in to help wash away bacteria and plaque. Brushing and flossing is still important as soon as you have the chance, but mouthwash can be helpful in the meantime because of how mouthwash affects your mouth so that food particles are less likely to stick around and cause issues like bad breath that are commonly caused by an overgrowth of bacteria.

Benefits of Mouthwash
The benefits of mouthwash also go far beyond simply acting as a temporary solution to quickly freshen your breath or for when you’re not able to brush your teeth. How mouthwash affects your mouth can depend on the type of mouthwash you choose. Different mouthwashes have different active ingredients for different purposes so it’s important to find the right mouthwash for your dental care needs.

Ingredients such as menthol or eucalyptol (essential oils) have antiseptic properties to fight bad breath and plaque while ingredients like fluoride can be helpful to remineralize and strengthen your teeth against sensitivity and cavities.

Anti-bacterial mouthwashes aim to break down the bacteria, eliminating the number of “bad guys” living in your mouth. Fluoride-based rinses seek to remineralize weakened enamel and prevent decay in the future.
It can be helpful to talk with your dentist to determine which mouthwash ingredients will best benefit your dental health and compliment your dental care routine.

Call our McKinney, Rowlett, Sherman, Greenville, Rio Bravo or Montgomery dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.