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Mouthwashes have become a fad nowadays – some simply rinse their mouth with a mouthwash instead of brushing their teeth, the reason being lack of time. While mouthwashes are effective up to a certain extent, the question is can they replace your brush and tooth paste?
Why is Mouthwash Used?
Mouth washes are used for multiple reasons; to prevent tooth decay, freshen your breath and to minimize plaque. It is also known to reduce gingivitis (gum disease) and plaque that harden on your teeth.
In order to understand the efficacy of mouth wash better, you need to know about the ingredients it is made up of. The basic ingredients are cleansing agents, water, alcohol and flavor causing substances. Certain active ingredients are also added to mouth wash which usually vary from product to product. Some of them are:
Fluoride which prevents decay of the tooth by making it more resistant.
Antimicrobials which reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth that lead to plaque formation in the teeth.
Salts, that have astringent properties, act as deodorizers to prevent bad breath.
Substances that reduce bad breath causing compounds.
Advantages of using a Mouthwash are:
Helps in preventing gum disease: Inflammation of the gums and teeth can occur when plaque causing bacteria are present on the teeth. Mouthwashes that contain antibacterial agents help in reducing these bacteria.
Reduces cavity: Mouthwashes that contain fluoride help in reducing cavities that affect your teeth. Cavities are holes in your teeth which form when bacteria in the teeth cause plaque.
Provides relief from canker sores: Mouth wash provides relief from canker sores by reducing the amount of bacteria present on the affected area.
Prevents pregnancy complications: Certain gum diseases release harmful bacteria in the bloodstream that can stimulate early contractions. Using mouth washes provides safeguard against these bacteria, thus, in turn, protecting your baby.
Disadvantages of a Mouthwash:
May irritate canker sores: Mouthwashes which contain alcohol in high concentrations can irritate canker sores in the mouth.
A risk factor for oral cancer: Certain mouthwashes may contain ingredients which increase the risks of oral cancer. It is therefore important for you to check the ingredients before using it.
Given that the benefits outweigh the cons, using mouthwash is good for you. You should not substitute brushing or flossing with using a mouthwash, though. Rather, it should complement them. If the mouth wash contains alcohol in decent amounts, then you are good to go. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist and ask a free question.
Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily brushing and regular cleanings at your dentist’s clinic, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options.
Start by speaking with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
If you are a candidate for whitening there are several ways to whiten your smile:
• In-office bleaching. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used. Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
• At-home bleaching. Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a specially made bleaching trays. Usage regimens vary. There are potential side effects, such as increased sensitivity or gum irritation. Speak with your dentist if you have any concerns.
• Whitening toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. "Whitening" toothpastes have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.