Keeping teeth clean is high on many people’s priority lists, so it’s widely accepted that we’ll do everything we can to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly white. With numerous teeth cleaning regimes comes many secret formulas and just as many myths, so what about mouthwash?
We’ve been told through media advertising and regular visits to the dentists that we should be using mouthwash alongside our toothbrushes and floss to keep our teeth extra clean and healthy, yet there are actually plenty of myths surrounding this particular method of teeth cleaning. Here are some of the mouthwash stories that have made it in to teeth cleaning folklore and are widely believed to be true.
They’re All Equal = Myth
Mouthwashes have been advertised as being equally good for you when in fact, they are classed as either synthetic or therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash is designed to help loosen and remove bits of food that are stuck in your teeth, as well as get rid of any lingering bacteria and bad breath (temporarily). They are also meant to leave a refreshing taste in your mouth afterwards. However, there isn’t much more these products can offer you as far as cleaning teeth is concerned.
Therapeutic mouthwash is far better if you’re hoping to combat tooth decay and cavities. They include additional active ingredients from essential oils to chlorhexidine, chloride and fluoride. It’s important you speak to your dentist about mouthwashes once they bring it up so that you know exactly what brands you should be looking for.
It Gets Rid of Bad Breath = Myth
Those of us with bad breath search for all kinds of remedies to cope with problem, including mouthwash. However, the vast majority of mouthwashes prove to be ineffective at reducing bad breath and will only ever lead to a temporary fix at best. This is because bad breath originates from the lungs during exhalation and not your mouth. Any mouthwash ingredient that can freshen your breath for a few hours will also be countered by saliva, which contains proteins capable of reducing the effectiveness of mouthwash.
A Quick Rinse Is All You Need = Myth
Mouthwash is at its most effective when it’s swirling around your mouth for a good 30 seconds or so. It’s certainly not going make much of a difference if you’re rinsing and spitting it out in a couple of seconds. Unfortunately, mouthwash can have quite an unpleasant taste when left in your mouth for too long and can even sting the sides of your mouth to the point where you have no choice to spit it out. If you’re after the best results, keep mouthwash in your mouth for half a minute!
Mouthwash Is Harmless = Myth
Some brands do all they can to make their mouthwashes as healthy as possible but unfortunately, many use ingredients that can be harmful to us. Alcohol is present in many mouthwashes and, when used regularly, this can lead to a dry mouth and ultimately (ironically) bad breath. There have even been some studies conducted to assess the connection between alcoholic mouthwash and oral cancer, although it’s too early to say whether this is a genuine threat to oral health.
There are other ingredients you should be aware of that can cause teeth staining when used regularly. Other side effects include pain, stinging and an unpleasant aftertaste. The chlorhexidine present in mouthwash can cause you to lose your sense of taste temporarily and this can get worse the more you use it. It’s also not recommended that you ingest mouthwash as this could cause problems. For this reason, it’s recommended that you keep mouthwash away from small children.
You Don’t Need to Brush If You’re Using Mouthwash – MYTH!
This is certainly the most significant of all myths doing the rounds regarding mouthwash, as teeth brushing is definitely the most effective method of keeping teeth clean. Both flossing and brushing are highly effective ways of keeping teeth clean and get rid of far more plaque, dirt and food particles than mouthwash.
It’s important to realise that mouthwash is not a direct replacement to your standard teeth cleaning regime and is instead an add-on for you to use now and then. If your dentist decides that mouthwash would be a good choice for you, you should discuss this in detail with them so that you know exactly what kind of mouthwash you need and why. Mouthwash can be beneficial; just make sure you check the label!