This is something our patients at Leeds City Dentalcare often ask, and while its use is generally not strictly necessary, many people do like to freshen up their breath by using mouthwash. There are lots of different types for sale, and the choice can often seemed quite bewildering. It is worth paying a bit of attention to the label, as mouthwashes can be considered to be either therapeutic or cosmetic.
Therapeutic or Cosmetic?
Therapeutic mouthwashes contain ingredients that actively help oral health, for instance they might help fight plaque bacteria and they may contain antimicrobial agents, or other useful ingredients such as fluoride. You’ll find some are designed to help reduce the risk of gingivitis or gum disease, while others help fight tooth decay. Some even contain small amounts of bleach to help whiten teeth, although their effects will be very subtle. In contrast cosmetic mouthwashes are merely used to freshen up breath, and will only have a temporary effect. Most mouthwashes have at least a few other ingredients in common including water, flavouring, colouring and some type of cleansing agent.
Deciding If Your Mouthwash Needs to Be Alcohol Free
A lot of mouthwashes, including some of the most popular brands contain alcohol, and this particular ingredient can produce a burning sensation when used. It may be well worth choosing a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol, especially if you are in a busy household with young children who might accidentally swallow this liquid instead of spitting it out. It’s also worth avoiding if any of your family members have ever had a problem with alcohol in the past.
Mouthwash for Sensitive Teeth and Gums
Many of our patients looking for dentist Leeds for their sensitive teeth and gums, and this problem may be exacerbated by using a strong mouthwash. In this case it’s well worth looking for a mouthwash especially made to soothe the gums rather than irritate them, and to choose one that doesn’t contain any alcohol. You may even find some mouthwashes contain natural ingredients.
Using Mouthwash Correctly
It is important to read the label on your mouthwash and to use it correctly. The label should tell you how long you need to swirl it around your mouth before spitting it out, and whether or not you need to dilute it. You’ll definitely get maximum benefits from following the instructions. You should never swallow mouthwash, and if somebody in your household accidentally swallows a large quantity then it’s worth seeking professional advice, just in case.
Prescription Mouthwashes or Those Containing Chlorhexidine
If you have recently had some form of oral surgery or are currently fighting gum disease then Dr David Brown or one of our other dentists may prescribe you a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine. You can also buy mouthwash containing this active ingredient from your local chemist. Chlorhexidine is a very powerful antibacterial agent, but it can sometimes stain the teeth brown, and this is one of the reasons it’s not generally recommended for longer-term use. However these brown stains can be removed during a professional cleaning with one of our hygienists at Leeds City Dentalcare so these effects are purely temporary and it is a very useful ingredient in helping patients regains their oral health.