There are many options when it comes to mouth rinses, but the right choice is often unclear.
Often we hear questions from clients at our office in Brooklyn Heights about how to choose the correct mouth rinse.
Although there is no clear-cut answer to this question, there are many things to consider when shopping for a mouth rinse or wash.
The oral health section of your supermarket or pharmacy has a wide variety of mouth rinses, all claiming to be anti-plaque, alcohol free, or anti-gingivitis.
But which mouth rinse is right for you specifically? Are mouth rinses even necessary or is good brushing and flossing enough?
“There are three major categories [of mouth rinses], from a consumer perspective,” says Michelle Henshaw, DDS, MPH and assistant dean for community partnerships and extramural affairs at Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.
These three categories of mouth rinses contain fluoride, anti-gingivitis, and anti-plaque mouth rinses, and cosmetic mouth rinse products.
Some of these products require a prescription, but many are served over-the-counter.
When shopping for mouth rinses and washes, it is best to abide by these three essential functions:
Fluoride-containing mouth rinses-
Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by helping your body strengthen enamel, which is the white, hard substance that covers teeth.
However, not many people will require a fluoride-containing according to Dr. Henshaw who says “you pretty much get that from your fluoridated toothpaste.”
“People with xerostomia (abnormal dryness of the mouth) might use this kind of mouth rinse, and there are other reasons, like dental caries (cavities),” says Henshaw.
While severe dry mouth can lead to a shift in the bacterial balance of your mouth, excess bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay.
Mouth Rinse to Freshen Breath-
There are loads of mouth rinses that designed specifically to freshen breath, but fail to deliver any further long-term dental health benefits.
“Cosmetic rinses reduce mouth odors, or halitosis,” Henshaw says. “Some do kill bacteria for a short time, but there is no lasting health impact that you could ascribe to them.”
Anti-Plaque or Anti-Gingivitis-
“For adults, it’s a good idea to include this kind [of mouth rinse] with brushing and flossing,” Henshaw says.
There is no doubt that brushing and flossing are still essential to good oral health. However, the fact of the matter is that sometimes those two are just not enough.
Anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis rinses can vastly improve your dental care habits by killing harmful bacteria.
“If it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval that means that the claims made on the bottle have been verified by an independent scientific body,” Henshaw explains. “These rinses work by killing a different spectrum of bacteria than the breath-freshening rinses,” claims Henshaw.
It is best to keep these three major categories in mind when considering a mouth rinse or wash.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with our dentists, Dr. Evelina Tolchinsky DDS or Dr. Inna Trogan DDS, then please call our office today! (718) 246-5677
Our dentists have served the residents of Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Dumbo, and all of our other surrounding New York communities for years.
You can find our office in the heart of beautiful Brooklyn Heights at 100 Pineapple Walk, Brooklyn, NY 11201