What are mouth rinses?


Mouth rinses or mouthwash is a product used for oral hygiene. Antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinse claims to kill the germs that cause plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. Anti-cavity mouth rinse uses fluoride to protect against tooth decay. Mouth rinses are generally classified either as cosmetic, therapeutic, or a combination of the two. Cosmetic rinses are over-the-counter products that help remove oral debris before or after brushing, temporarily suppress bad breath, diminish bacteria in the mouth and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste. Therapeutic rinses have all of the benefits of cosmetic rinses but also contain an added active ingredient that helps protect against some oral diseases. We prescribe special rinses for patients with more severe oral problems, such as cavities, periodontal disease, gum inflammation and dry mouth. Therapeutic rinses are also strongly recommended for those who can’t brush due to physical impairments or medical reasons.

Should I use a mouth rinse ?

We consider the use of fluoride toothpaste to be more than adequate protection against cavities. Anti-cavity rinses are beneficial, they have been clinically proven to fight up to 50% more of the bacteria that causes cavities. Initial studies have shown that most over-the-counter anti-plaque rinses and antiseptics are not much more effective against plaque and gum disease than rinsing with water. Mouth rinses can cause harm by masking the symptoms of an oral health disease or condition.

How should I use a mouth rinse?

Brush and floss your teeth well prior to using the mouth rinse. Then, measure the proper amout of rinse as specified on the container. With your lips closed and your teeth slightly apart, swish the liquid around with as much force as possible. Many rinses suggest swishing for at least 30 seconds. Finally, thoroughly spit the liquid from your mouth.

Teeth should be as clean as possible before applying an anti-cavity rinse to reap the full preventative benefits. You should not rinse, eat or smoke for 30 minutes after using an anti-cavity rinse.

Are there any side effects?

Yes, and they can vary depending on the type of rinse. Habitual use of antideptic mouthwashes that contain high levels of alcohol ( 18 – 26%) may produce a burning sensation in the cheeks, teeth, and gums. Many rinses with more concentrated formulas can lead to mouth ulcers, sodium retention, root sensitivity, stains, soreness, numbness, changes in tasteand painful mouth erosions. Most anti-cavity rinses contain fluoride toxicity if taken excessively or swallowed. Because children tend to accidentally shallow mouthwash, they should only use rinses under adult supervision. If you experience any irritating or adverse reactions to a mouth rinses, discontinue its use immediately and talk to your dentist.

What Is Tooth Decay, And What Causes It?


Tooth decay is the disease known as caries. Caries is highly preventable and it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime.

Tooth decay occurs when your teeth are frequently exposed to foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars) like soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, cake and even fruits, vegetables and juices. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods to produce acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing, the mineral structure of teeth, producing tooth decay and weakening the teeth.

How are Cavities Prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate your flow of saliva. However saliva alone is not sufficient to combat tooth decay. The best way to prevent caries is to brush and floss regularly. To rebuild the early damage caused by plaque bacteria, we use fluoride (a natural substance) to help remineralize the tooth structure. Flouride is added to toothpaste to fight cavities and clean teeth. The most common source of fluoride is in the water we drink. Fluoride is added to most community water supplies and to many bottled beverages. Your dentist may recommend special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or fluoride supplements if you have a high risk for cavities.

Who Is At Risk For Cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and those who live in areas without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. People with a lot of old fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay because the area around the old fillings are good breeding grounds for bacteria. Children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

See your dentist at least every 6 months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect a thorough dental examination is very important.