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 mouth-rinses come in.
What Are mouth-rinses?
A mouth-rinse is an oral hygiene adjunct that helps maintain your oral health. It effectively reaches 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 mouth-rinses available in your supermarket or drugstore, there are actually only two types of them – fluoride and antibacterial mouth-rinses.
Fluorides mouth-rinses help strengthen the teeth, making it more resistant to acid attacks that lead to tooth decay; hence, they are also called anti-cavity mouth-rinses.
Antibacterial mouth-rinses, on the other hand, kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. An example of this type would be the chlorhexidine mouth rinses, which is prescribed for patients with severe form of gum disease.
Most mouth-rinses 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 Mouth-rinses?
To be effective, the mouth-rinse must be in contact with your teeth and gums for as long as possible.
But for the benefit of everyone, here is the proper way of using your mouth-rinses:
1) Dispense a correct amount of the mouth-rinse. Most of them come with a small cup that you can use to measure the proper amount.
2) Swish the mouth-rinse 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 mouth-rinse to continue working for a little bit longer.
4) If you choose the mouth-rinse for rinsing, avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 10 minutes.
If you use mouth-rinse that contain hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, rinsing with water after using the solution is recommended.
Allowing these kinds of mouth-rinses 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 mouth-rinses before tooth-brushing argue that mouth-rinses help loosen up plaque deposits and other debris, making them much easier to remove through brushing.
Furthermore, it gives you the option of leaving residual mouth-rinse in your mouth, providing it with more time to exert its effect.
Are There Any Safety Concerns With The Use Of Mouth-rinses?
Nonetheless, it is advised that you consult your dentist first because using them, especially fluoride mouth-rinses because excessive use of such may actually be damaging to the teeth.
And while mouth-rinses 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, mouth-rinses should only be used as an adjunct.