Just 31 percent of adults use mouthwash, despite its numerous oral health benefits. Mouthwash maintains oral hygiene and delivers active ingredients — chlorhexidine, alcohol, fluoride, and methyl salicylate, for example — to the teeth. But just how beneficial is mouthwash? And how can it improve your teeth and gums?
1. It Freshens Your Breath
Typically, mouthwash contains ingredients that banish bad breath. These include antibacterial agents, such as alcohol, which kill germs and bacteria in your mouth.
Other ingredients in mouthwash include fluoride, which strengthens your tooth enamel and reduces plaque. This keeps your breath smelling fresh. Fluoride is also found in many kinds of toothpaste. Mouthwash also includes germicides that eliminate germs and remove plaque buildup. Germicides keep your teeth feeling fresh long after you have used mouthwash.
Many Americans suffer from halitosis — the medical name for bad breath. Mouthwash products can cover up the problem. Using both mouthwash and dental floss can have an even bigger benefit and leave your teeth and gums in a much healthier condition.
2. It Prevents Cavities
Some mouthwashes can also prevent cavities. The fluoride in these products restores your tooth enamel and reduces tooth decay. Many famous mouthwash brands now contain fluoride.
Cavities are holes in your teeth that develop if you eat a lot of sugary foods and drinks. The acids in these items remove minerals from your tooth enamel and impact the overall health of your teeth. Regular use of fluoride-based products — such as mouthwashes and toothpaste — improve your oral health."When your saliva has fluoride in it from sources like toothpaste or water, your teeth are able to take it in," says the American Dental Association. "Once in your enamel, fluoride teams up with calcium and phosphate there to create the most powerful defense system your teeth can have to prevent cavities from forming."
3. It Removes Food Particles
Mouthwash is also effective at removing food particles — pieces of food that get stuck in your teeth. While brushing your teeth with a good toothpaste will get rid of most of these food chunks, mouthwash provides you with a deeper clean. Removing food particles in this way reduces the amount of plaque on your teeth and prevents bacteria growth.
Most people swish with mouthwash after brushing their teeth. However, consider using mouthwash before you brush. Because the product removes food hidden particles from your teeth, making brushing — and then flossing — so much more effective.
Using mouthwash just once a day can have a positive impact on your oral health and help you get rid of food stuck in your teeth. It freshens your breath, prevents cavities, and removes food particles. Look for a product that contains effective ingredients for the best results.