Mouthwash was first mass-produced commercially in the late 1800s. While the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of mouthwashes remains limited to improving breath and preventing plaque buildup, today you can find a mouthwash to achieve any number of desired results, including:
- to freshen breath
- to help prevent or control tooth decay
- to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth)
- to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease)
- to reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth or to produce a combination of these effects
- to relieve dry mouth
Basic ingredients include water, alcohol, cleansing agents, flavoring ingredients and coloring agents. Active ingredients vary depending on the type of mouthrinse, but they can be placed into four general groups:
- Antimicrobial agents act directly on oral bacteria to help reduce plaque, decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath.
- Fluoride helps reduce tiny lesions (tooth decay) on tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.
- Astringent salts can serve as temporary deodorizers that mask bad breath.
- Odor neutralizers act by chemically inactivating odor causing compounds.
Your dentist can advise you whether you need a mouthwash and what kind of mouthwash to use depending on your oral health needs. If you have difficulty brushing and flossing, a mouthwash may provide additional protection against cavities and gum disease. When selecting a mouthwash look for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, which have been tested for their safety and effectiveness.
Angell’s Dentistry serves Troy, Birmingham and surrounding metro Detroit communities. We are committed to helping you keep your mouth healthy. Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup and be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.