When you hear the term “oral hygiene,” the first thing that probably comes to your mind is tooth brushing. Tooth brushing, coupled with flossing, are the main methods of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. But did you know that even with the combined effect of these mechanical cleaning, they still do not clean your mouth 100%? This is where mouthrinses come in.
What Are Mouthrinses?
A mouthrinse is an oral hygiene adjunct that helps maintain your oral health. It effectively reach areas that both brushing and flossing can’t. It is also a great aid for patients who can’t brush their teeth due to dexterity problems.
What Type Of Mouthrinses Are Available?
Despite the numerous varieties of mouthrinses available in your supermarket or drugstore, there are actually only two types of them – fluoride and antibacterial mouthrinses.
Fluorides mouthrinses help strengthen the teeth, making it more resistant to acid attacks that lead to tooth decay; hence, they are also called anti-cavity mouthrinses.
Antibacterial mouthrinses, on the other hand, kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral health problems. An example of this type would be the chlorhexidine mouthrinses, which is prescribed for patients with severe form of gum disease.
Most mouthrinses today are both anti-cavity and antibacterial. Before choosing which kind suits your needs, be sure to consult your dentist first to avoid using one that is ineffective for the oral health problem you’re trying to get rid of.
What Is The Proper Way Of Using Mouthrinses?
To be effective, the mouthrinse must be in contact with your teeth and gums for as long as possible. Instructions for use are printed at the back of the bottle, but most patients ignore these, resulting to decreased effectiveness of the mouthrinse.
But for the benefit of everyone, here is the proper way of using your mouthrinses:
1) Dispense a correct amount of the mouthrinse. Most of them come with a small cup that you can use to measure the proper amount.
2) Swish the mouthrinse vigorously around your mouth for about 30-60 seconds.
3) Spit out the solution and use a new one to rinse your mouth. Spit out the solution. You may also use water for rinsing, but the suggested method allows the mouthrinse to continue working for a little bit longer.
4) If you choose the mouthrinse for rinsing, avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 10 minutes.
If you use mouthrinse that contain hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, rinsing with water after using the solution is recommended.
Allowing these kinds of mouthrinses to persist in the mouth may cause irritation, dryness, and other problems.
When to Use – Before or After Brushing?
This is the one big question that has always raised a debate. There are logical arguments for both sides, and there’s not a single study which proves that one is more effective over the other.
Those who prefer using mouthrinses before tooth-brushing argue that mouthrinses helps loosen up plaque deposits and other debris, making them much easier to remove through brushing.
However, the other side opposed this, saying that the short amount of time the mouthrinse is in contact with the teeth is not enough to loosen anything. They added that using mouthrinses after brushing helps disinfect the mouth after all the plaque deposits and debris have been cleared.
Furthermore, it gives you the option of leaving residual mouthrinse in your mouth, providing it with more time to exert its effect.
Are There Any Safety Concerns With The Use Of Mouthrinses?
Mouthrinses undergo the same clinical testing and quality control as other medicine, so you can be sure that they are safe.
Nonetheless, it is advised that you consult your dentist first because using them, especially fluoride mouthrinses because excessive use of such may actually be damaging to the teeth.
And while mouthrinses have been proven to be effective for their given purpose, always keep in mind that they should not replace mechanical cleaning by brushing and flossing. Instead, mouthrinses should only be used as an adjunct.