Mouthwash is an extremely common oral health product–almost as popular as toothpaste and floss. But not much is known about this liquid tool for many Americans. To understand what mouthwash is and how it can help your teeth, here are some myths about this agent.

Mouthwashes are created equal. False. Not all mouthwash products have the same effect on teeth and your gums. While none that are approved by the FDA could be considered bad, some are developed to be therapeutic while others are designed to rid your mouth of bad odors. When you use a cosmetic mouthwash, you will be able to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, bad breath will be lessened, and the bits of food in your mouth are loosened. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwashes contain ingredients like fluoride, chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride. These benefit your oral health because these have the ability to fight off cavities and reduce the plaque in your teeth. Fluoride also remineralizes the teeth and prevents them from breaking down due to plaque.

Mouthwash can do no harm. While there are exceptions, it is true that mouthwash is not dangerous. However, there are types of mouthwash that contain high amounts of alcohol, which in turn dry out your mouth. This can lead to bad breath as well an an influx of bacteria that love the dry, heated conditions of your mouth.There are also types of mouthwash products that are free of alcohol, but these may not be as effective in cleaning your mouth. Talk to your dentist to find out which product will do the best things for your mouth, because every person has a different oral situation.

Mouthwash is a substitute for toothbrushing. Using mouthwash is a good way to reduce bacteria in the mouth. It is not effective in any way, however, if not used in conjunction with toothbrushing. The effects of mouthwash are superficial compared to the deep clean that brushing provides. If you use mouthwash after brushing your teeth you have cleaned your mouth out of any trapped particles and give your mouth a fluoride boost. If anything, you should brush your teeth and floss before even thinking about mouthwash. Mouthwash is a supplementary treatment and not a solution by itself.

Mouthwash is solely for the mouth. While mouthwash is obviously used in the mouth to clean the teeth, many people forget about the other uses of mouthwash. For example, it can also be used for cleaning and sanitizing other dental accessories such as braces, retainers, mouth guards, etc.

The initial burn means you should spit it out. Mouthwash can sting, especially in people with sensitive mouths. If your mouthwash is causing you pain, contact your dentist and do not use the product until the cause is assessed. However, if you use it for simply a quick swish thinking that the initial sting means it has done its job, you are sorely wrong. Mouthwash should be used for about 30 seconds at a time before being rinsed out for it to take effect.

If you have more questions about whether or not mouthwash is right for you, or some of your misconceptions about mouthwash have not been addressed in this article, contact us today at A Beautiful Smile.