Mouthwash: important pros and cons you need to consider


Mouthwash is helpful in the daily hygiene of the oral cavity, because it reaches places where the toothbrush can not penetrate, eliminating food debris and bacteria and giving a pleasant breath.

What is mouthwash?

Mouthwash is a product whose composition contains various substances designed to destroy as much as possible the bacteria in the oral cavity. It is found under different colors or flavors and assortments whose composition is specially designed to be able to adapt to different categories of patients. That is why it is advisable to consult a dentist before purchasing a certain mouthwash. Among the components of mouthwash found in commerce are: water, alcohol, different flavors, dyes, various detergents, fluorine, preservatives, chlorhexidine; each mouthwash having all or only some of them.

Chlorhexidine is a powerful antimicrobial found in most mouthwashes but also in commercial toothpastes. Among the benefits it brings is the fact that it is absorbed in the tooth enamel and in the oral mucosa so that it is released gradually ensuring good protection for longer periods of time.

Types of mouthwash

Cosmetic mouthwash- is perhaps the most common type of mouthwash and is easily found on shelves for personal care products. It has no active ingredients that have a consistent role in protecting the teeth. It is commonly used to remove food debris from the oral cavity, for refreshment and a pleasant smell, but its role is limited here. For stronger effects in the protection of teeth, however, we must use other types of mouthwash.

Therapeutic mouthwash- is the one that is prepared only according to the doctor’s prescription. It has a stronger antibacterial and antiseptic action and therefore contains more concentrated substances. Such water can contain antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and even antacid elements, all for a stronger effect. The doctor will monitor during the treatment as seriously as possible its effects and the evolution of the diseases for which it was prescribed.

Fluoride mouthwash- is prescribed to patients with caries, who do not regularly consume fluoridated water. If there is already fluoride in the drinking water and therefore fluoridated water is consumed, the addition of fluoride supplements increases the risk of dental fluorosis. Therefore, fluoride should not be added to dental hygiene products without a doctor’s prescription.

The advantages of using mouthwash

  • Reduces the risk of cavities- the mouthwash makes your tooth enamel stronger and can protect against cavities.
  • Relieves discomfort caused by canker sores or superficial ulcerations- mouthwash can relieve pain and discomfort caused by canker sores or superficial ulcers, because it detoxifies the area and removes bacteria that cause irritation. Menthol and alcohol also have a weak calming effect on these areas
  • Helps prevent gum disease- gum disease is characterized by inflammation of the gums due to bacterial plaque or bacteria or food debris that remains between the teeth or between the tooth and the gum. Mouthwash helps eliminate bacteria that cause plaque.
    Protects during pregnancy -gum disease is a common condition during pregnancy. Gum infections can trigger an inflammatory effect, and this can cause contractions. The more you try to keep your gums healthy, the lower the risk.

The disadvantages of using mouthwash

Regarding the disadvantages, contraindications and risks of mouthwash, if it is a mouthwash for therapeutic use, there are several situations to consider. For example, chlorhexidine mouthwash should not be used by people under 18 years of age. Also, although it is used successfully by people with gingivitis, it can aggravate periodontitis. In addition, it is prudent that pregnant women and lactating women should not use chlorhexidine mouthwash, as it has not been established whether it is safe for the fetus or the baby if it is accidentally swallowed during hygiene.

It is also good for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children to avoid mouthwash with fluoride, unless the dentist has recommended it otherwise, as this ingredient can cause allergic reactions in their case. It is necessary that the mouthwashes indicated by the dentist for a certain oral condition be used exactly as recommended by the doctor (not simply to refresh the breath, for example).

Mouthwashes containing alcohol have been suspected to influence oral cancer, but an analysis of several studies concluded that the use of mouthwash cannot be considered an independent risk factor for the development of brain or throat cancer. However, the use of mouthwash with alcohol can increase the risk of these cancers if the person also faces other risk factors.



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