Sense and nonsense of mouthwash

The benefits of mouthwash do not outweigh the drawbacks.

If you brush, floss and use an interdental brush properly, you can safely omit mouthwash. If you do want to use mouthwash, choose a good one. Because many products contain harmful substances that are bad for your overall health. The dentists at tandzorg op maat can advise you on finding ‘healthier’ mouthwash.

Often mouthwash is used to hide unpleasant odors. But where in the past every dentist recommended mouthwash, today the use of mouthwash is increasingly frowned upon. What’s the reason behind that? We weigh the pros and cons.

Benefits of mouthwash

  • Kills bad bacteria in the mouth
  • Feel clean and fresh
  • Also the hard to reach places

Mouthwash kills the bad bacteria in the mouth. This provides a clean and fresh feeling. Oils like menthol and eucalyptol hide bad breath, while the fluoride reduces plaque. In this way, the mouthwash protects tooth enamel. Toothpaste also contains fluoride, but a toothbrush does not reach all areas of the mouth. Especially the small spaces between the teeth are not well cleaned by a toothbrush. Mouthwash does reach these areas, which is why many people use mouthwash as an adjunct to their oral care regimen.

The disadvantages of mouthwash

  • Kills good oral bacteria as well
  • Can contain alcohol and other harmful substances
  • Reduces the production of saliva
  • Bacteria are not properly rinsed away
  • Increases the likelihood of plaque formation

In addition to killing the bad bacteria in the mouth, mouthwash also kills the good bacteria. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which in turn can indirectly cause bad breath. A bad property of alcohol is that it draws moisture from the body, including the mouth. Dehydration results in less saliva being produced, which makes it harder for bad bacteria to be flushed away. These bacteria are precisely what cause bad breath.

Saliva generally makes plaque less likely to develop; a mouthwash with alcohol reduces saliva production and thus increases the likelihood of plaque formation.

Some mouthwashes contain harmful ingredients in addition to alcohol, such as saccharin (artificial sweetener), chlorhexidine, triclosan (used in antibacterial soap) and parabens (added to cosmetic products to preserve them). Researchers claim that these substances can be very harmful to health. For example, parabens are thought to contribute to the development of certain tumors.

Although mouthwash kills many bacteria in your mouth, the dentists at tandzorg op maat advise against excessive use of mouthwash. Stick to rinsing once a day to avoid serious health problems. In addition, choose the right mouthwash and use the mouthwash for up to two weeks in a row.

Better than hiding bad breath is addressing the cause. In many cases, the dental hygienist can work wonders, cleaning in places you simply cannot reach. The dentist will refer you to the dental hygienist after making a proper diagnosis.

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