Walking in to the oral hygiene isle at your favorite store can be overwhelming, even for us as professionals. There are so many things to choose from. Today we will focus on the mouthwash aspect of this isle and help you make a decision! So, here is an overview of the main things you will see while shopping.
Antiseptic mouthwash: The most common brand of Antiseptic mouthwash is Listerine, however there are many store brands that offer an equal option. Just look carefully at the label and be sure it specifically uses the word “antiseptic”. Any flavor, any brand will work, although not all generic brands will carry the seal of approval from the American Dental Association. This type of mouthwash has the highest ability to kill germs of any mouthwash on the market. It is generally a 30 second rinse that you can perform 1-2X daily after your brushing and flossing routine. Expect a little bit of a spicy burning sensation during your rinse. No worries, this just shows how well it’s really working! The soft mint flavors or similar offer less burn while you rinse.
Fluoridated mouthwash: Many different companies now offer a fluoridated mouthwash. You can look for them by Act, Listerine, Arm and Hammer and generic brands. Fluoride functions in preventing cavities by killing bacteria and remineralizing spots that may be breaking down on our teeth due to plaque, diet, enamel deficiencies or poor oral hygiene. It is a naturally occurring element that plays an important role in making teeth stronger. It is best used as a ONE MINUTE rinse after brushing and flossing before bed.
Dry mouth rinse: Common companies you may recognize that make dry mouth rinse are Boitene and Act. These are both alcohol free rinses that help soothe dry and irritated oral tissues and stimulate a healthy salivary flow. Many medications or circumstances can lead to a chronic dry mouth, which leads to discomfort, bad breath and a higher risk of decay. Using a rinse can reduce some of these symptoms.
Whitening rinse: Most major brands provide a whitening mouthwash option. Their effectiveness and flavor options can vary widely. The important thing to know before investing time and money into this type of rinse is that it is not made to alter severely stained teeth. They can aid in preventing new stain once heavier stain is removed by your dental professional, and brighten your smile to varying degrees. The degree in which you will see a change will greatly depend on your commitment to the product, how many stain creating things are in your daily routine (smoking, coffee, tea, juices and red wine) and the shade your teeth started at naturally. It will certainly aide in whitening, but don’t expect to have a Hollywood smile by simply using a rinse alone.
There are many other rinses out there that fit into a vague category that can only be described as providing a wide spectrum of effectiveness for cavity prevention and killing bacteria. Some good rinses, some not even worth it. If you have questions about your favorite mouthwash, ask your hygienist at your next routine visit. Heck, why not even bring the bottle in with you so they can take a look at what it is! That’s what we are here for.