Mouthwash is one of the three major tools that you should be using each day to achieve optimal oral health. It serves to reduce the build-up of plaque, prevent tooth decay, and freshen your breath. It can even prevent gum disease! Mouthwash should be held in the mouth and swished around, but never swallowed. While it will not replace brushing your teeth and flossing, using mouthwash should be a part of your daily dental care duties. Heed these do's and don'ts of buying mouthwash to make sure that you get the most from these daily experiences.
Do Look for Fluoride in Mouthwash
If you are not choosing a toothpaste with fluoride, you should make sure that your mouthwash has it. In fact, it's not harmful to have it in both your toothpaste and your mouthwash. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride is good for the prevention of tooth decay—those small but undesirable lesions on tooth enamel that can lead to cavities and worse!
Don't Use an Alcohol-Based Mouthwash for Kids
When selecting mouthwash for your children to use, never select one that is alcohol-based. Children under the age of six may swallow the liquid, which can be harmful in large-enough or repeated doses. Instead, look for child-friendly mouthwashes for kids who are under the age of six or even older if you fear they may have problems with accidentally swallowing the mouthwash. If you think you may be sensitive to alcohol, you can also find alcohol-free mouthwashes for adults, but they are sometimes considered more cosmetic in nature.
Do Ask Your Dentist for Recommendations
Feel free to ask your family dentist any questions that you have about using or buying mouthwash. You can even ask your dentist for recommendations. Your dentist is going to give you objective information about the type of mouthwash that will best suit your specific dental-care needs. For example, if you are prone to tooth decay, they may recommend a restorative mouthwash. Be sure to let your dentist know your preferences and needs before asking for a recommendation.
Finally, keep in mind that it is important to make swishing with mouthwash a regular part of your routine to get the most benefits from it. While you may enjoy the benefits of fresh breath when you just use it occasionally for that perk, mouthwash is best used each day as part of your dental care routine.