Mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your brushing and flossing routine. But before you buy that big bottle of mouthwash, consider these tips:
1. Some mouthwashes only give you a “fresh feeling” rather than actually curing bad breath. If you have serious bad breath, try to determine the cause rather than just masking it. Certain medications, gum disease and other illnesses can lead to bad breath. Ask your dentist for help.
2. A high percentage of alcohol in many mouthwashes can lead to a burning sensation in your mouth, cheeks or gums. If this is a problem for you, try an alcohol-free mouthwash. Alcohol isn’t the active ingredient in mouthwash, so non-alcoholic versions work just as well.
3. Choose a mouthwash with fluoride if you want to use it to fight cavities. Over-the-counter rinses without fluoride don’t help prevent cavities.
4. Mouthwashes that claim to kill plaque, gingivitis and more advanced gum disease should contain anti-microbial agents that will temporarily reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Some mouthwashes also prevent tooth decay by adding fluoride.
5. Don’t give mouthwash to children younger than age 6. They might not quite understand the “swish and spit” concept and could end up with an upset stomach if they swallow too much mouthwash.
Get more information on the benefits and risks of mouthwash and get informed before you swish.