You may think of mouthwash as something you use to freshen your breath. While it is true that using mouthwash can help prevent bad breath, it actually does a whole lot more to keep your teeth and gums healthy. At American Dental, we know that an oral health regimen that includes two daily brushings, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash is the best way to improve the health of your teeth and gums. Here’s more about how mouthwash works and how it keeps your mouth healthy.
What Causes Unhealthy Teeth and Gums?
In order to understand how mouthwash works to keep the teeth and gums healthy, we must first understand what causes oral health problems in the first place. As you go about your daily activities, your teeth are under constant assault from bacteria, acids, sugars, and food particles in your mouth. These bad actors work together to erode tooth enamel and damage the delicate tissue of the gums.
Let’s start with food and beverages. The foods and drinks you consume contain sugars and acids that leave a residue in your mouth. This residue tends to settle in between the teeth and along the gumline. The bacteria that live in your mouth love to eat sugar, and as a result, bacterial colonies can form in the areas where it settles. As they go through their life cycle, these bacteria release harmful byproducts and when they die, their bodies become calcified, creating buildup called plaque. Over time, plaque buildup hardens to become tartar, which is damaging to teeth and gums. If plaque and tartar are not removed, it can lead to issues like tooth decay and gum loss, and even require emergency dentistry services.
How Does Mouthwash Work?
Brushing your teeth twice daily is a crucial step you can take to get a healthier mouth. Unfortunately, brushing alone won’t prevent oral health issues. That’s because your toothbrush can’t reach the narrow spaces between your teeth or remove buildup along the gumline. That’s where flossing and mouthwash come in. Both of these methods are designed to remove plaque bacteria and food particles from between the teeth and around the gums.
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Choosing a Mouthwash
There are many different types of mouthwash on the market today, and they can all help you improve your oral health. Mouthwash may contain any or all of the following ingredients:
- Fluoride – This chemical is proven to improve the strength of tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.
- Antimicrobials – These are intended to kill excess bacteria in the mouth.
- Astringent Salts/Odor Neutralizers – These attack the root cause of bad breath or cover it up with a deodorizer.
- Whiteners – These include chemicals like peroxide, which can remove stains and whiten teeth.
No matter which type of mouthwash you choose, it will absolutely lead to a healthier mouth when used daily in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Regular dental checkups are also an important part of the equation, so if you’re a Chicago resident looking for the best dentist in the area, get in touch with American Dental. We have 7 locations to serve you, so visit our locations page to find the one closest to you and click the “Make an Appointment” button to schedule your checkup today!