Since October is National Dental Hygiene Month, we are going to discuss the benefits of an often forgotten tool for fighting tooth decay – mouthwash or mouth rinse.

Mouthwash makes the mouth feel fresher, eliminates bad breath and reduces bacteria in the mouth that can lead to tooth decay.

Swishing a cupful of mouthwash in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing can provide a triple defense against cavities.

Dr. Hinze recommends mouthwash especially for patients who struggle with repeated tooth decay.

“Anything that dilutes the acid in the mouth is beneficial, even water,” he said.

Dr. Hinze said that some argue that mouthwash makes the teeth brittle, but he said decreased decay associated with the use of mouthwash outweighs that issue.

When buying mouthwash, Dr. Hinze said to be sure to choose one that contains fluoride, which provides that extra layer of protection against tooth decay. Without fluoride, the mouthwash may freshen breath but may not prevent decay.

“Anytime you get a chance to put fluoride on, it’s good,” Dr. Hinze said.

Mouthwash can be helpful in situations where you cannot brush, but it shouldn’t become a substitute for brushing.

And for patients who suffer from mouth sores, Dr. Hinze can offer a prescription-strength mouthwash that treats inflammation and reduces bacteria in the mouth that cause canker sores.

Mouthwash should never be swallowed, therefore it is mostly recommended for adults and children at least 6 years and older.

There are some concerns about using mouthwash with high alcohol content. Those concerns include dry mouth, teeth sensitivity and a decrease of good bacteria in the mouth. If you notice any of these or other problems after using mouthwash, discontinue using it and give us a call.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call us at (308) 995-5331.