Rockwall Oral Surgery

How To Choose The Perfect Mouthwash

While we all know to brush our teeth every day, sometimes our dental hygiene could use an extra boost. It might be time to consider making mouthwash part of your daily routine. Mouthwash, or oral rinse, is a liquid used to rinse your teeth and gums that can provide excellent dental benefits. But there are so many types of mouthwashes on the market; how can you know which one is the right fit for you and your teeth?

When selecting a mouthwash it is important to decide what you want to use it for. There are generally two types of mouthwashes: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash can help control bad breath and leave a pleasant taste in your mouth, while therapeutic mouthwash can provide further health benefits by using active ingredients. Your mouthwash can provide you different benefits depending on your oral health needs. While mouthwash should not be used as a replacement for a regular oral hygiene routine, it can be used to help combat the following conditions:

  • Bad breath
  • Gingivitis
  • Plaque
  • Dry mouth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Receding gums

Mouthwash products should always have the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance (ADA Seal of Acceptance). This seal proves that the product has been tested for safety and efficiency, and is recognized by dentists and consumers alike. In terms of ingredients, look for a mouthwash that includes the following ingredients:

Fluoride. A well-known ingredient, fluoride fights tooth decay and strengthens enamel.

Cetylpyridinium chloride. This ingredient helps reduce bad breath by fighting bacteria.

Chlorhexidine. This reduces plaque and controls gingivitis.

Essential oils. Essential oils can reduce plaque and help control gingivitis.

Peroxides. Various peroxides may be found in mouthwashes and can help whiten teeth.

While there are many great ingredients to help you choose a mouthwash, there are also some harmful ones that can be found in common products. Reading ingredient labels is vital to making sure you choose the right oral rinse for your dental health. It is best to avoid the following ingredients:

  • Alcohol: this can dry the mouth and be harmful to those trying to avoid alcohol. A dry mouth can lead to even worse breath, making this ingredient redundant and harmful.
  • Chlorine dioxide: this is a bleaching agent added to some mouthwashes to help whiten teeth. However, it has been classified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as a “hazardous gas” and can cause symptoms such as irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine: used to make common products foam more, this ingredient may cause contact dermatitis. 
  • Parabens: depending on the amount, parabens have also been linked to allergic reactions and can be harmful to a user.
  • Formaldehyde: surprisingly, formaldehyde can sometimes be found in common mouthwashes. It is a dangerous substance and may cause a higher risk of cancer, skin reactions, or respiration issues.
  • Saccharin: this synthetic sugar replacement can be harmful to teeth and should be avoided.

While there are a myriad of products on the market for oral care, it is always important to check ingredient labels to find the safest and most effective. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and don’t be fooled by claims of permanent breath freshness or teeth whitening. Always be sure to contact your dentist if you have any questions or problems.