Do You Need Mouthwash?
Were a nation obsessed with dental hygiene. We spend over two billion dollars a year trying to keep our teeth cavity-free and pearly white, our gums healthy, and our breath minty fresh. Although theres no doubt toothpaste and dental floss do the trick what about mouthwash?
Well, that depends.
First, a little background: The ingredients in various mouthwashes vary, but most popular commercial brands contain alcohol, detergent, flavoring agents, coloring agents, fluoride, preservatives and water. There are also three types of mouthwashes: Fluoride -- which strengthens your teeth and prevents cavities; Antiseptic which zaps bacteria (the cause of bad breath and most gum disease) and Total Care, which promises to solve all issues.
THE GOOD Theres evidence that mouthwashes formulated primarily to reduce plaque-producing germs and subsequent gingivitis (inflammation of gum tissue leading to periodontal disease), are at least 25% effective in doing so. Even better, those categorized as anti-cavity rinses with fluoride have been shown in clinical studies to fight up to 50% more cavity producing bacteria than those without fluoride.Over-the-counter mouthwashes formulated to help remove debris before or after brushing and suppress mouth odor or bad breath, have been shown to be effective for at least ten minutes following use (thats probably a shorter time than you thought.) They generally lose effectiveness after two hours. Nonetheless, its good to have a pleasant taste and fresher breaths.