How does mouthwash affect your teeth?

Dental Restoration

At South University Dental, our professionals recommend a daily regimen of brushing and flossing your teeth to maintain a sparkling smile. 

But what about mouthwash? Should this be part of the routine as well? While mouthwash products such as Scope, Listerine, ACT, and PLAX are primarily marketed to promote fresh breath, there are dental benefits to using these as well. 

By the same token, rinsing with mouthwash also comes with potentially negative outcomes if not done properly. Below are three positives and three negatives to bear in mind when it comes to the effect mouthwash has on your teeth. 

Strengthened enamel

Fluoride mouthwashes can create a refreshing effect on your teeth. When enamel has been weakened, fluoride rinses are a great way to infuse the new minerals needed to strengthen teeth in a way that makes them less susceptible to decay and cavities. A good swish with a fluoride mouthwash reaches the nooks and crannies of your mouth that can be harder to reach when brushing or flossing. 

Protection during pregnancy

That’s right, using mouthwash has benefits for pregnant mothers. Though not frequently mentioned as a risk factor, periodontal disease has been known to cause preterm/low-weight babies. When bacteria from a gum infection enters the bloodstream of a pregnant woman, this creates the type of inflammatory ‘alert’ that can tell her body begin contractions. According to a study done by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, mothers who regularly used mouthwash during their pregnancy had decreased odds of preterm labor. 

Improved appearance of teeth

Some mouthwash brands, such as Periogen, are actually formulated to dissolve plaque, stains, and tartar. If you’re looking to tear down the foundations of tartar build-up, this kind of mouthwash, while more expensive, may be worth the investment. 

Canker sore aggravation

Mouthwash and canker sores have a bit of a love/hate relationship. When used appropriately, some feel mouthwash can actually soothe canker sores. However, if left in the mouth too long, the alcohol can make uncomfortable canker sores or mouth sores evolve into something downright unbearable. 

It doesn’t get to the root of bad breath

There’s nothing like that clean, germ-busting, maximum-mint feeling you get after a good mouthwash rinse. However, the effects of mouthwash on bad breath are temporary. It doesn’t truly get to the cause of bad breath like brushing and flossing and does. Because of this, mouthwash should be viewed as an accessory to oral hygiene, not a replacement to brushing and/or flossing. 

Alcohol content

Most popular mouthwashes on the market do contain alcohol. Improper use, such as swallowing or over-rinsing can have negative effects. Additionally, the alcohol content in mouthwash has raised speculation and spurred studies that spark debate as to whether these products can cause oral cancer. While the discussion has raged for decades, nothing conclusive has surfaced, and the American Dental Association has put their stamp of approval on numerous alcohol-based mouthwashes, deeming them as safe when used as directed.

Questions? The Experts at Fargo’s South University Dental are a Phone Call or Email Away.

Do you use mouthwash as part of your oral health routine? Do you have questions about the product you’re currently using or alternatives that may be available? The professionals at South University Dental in Fargo help you make decisions that ensure the long-term health of your teeth and gums. If you’re looking for premium quality dental care in the Red River Valley, email our office or call (701) 232-8884. One of our friendly team members will happily help you schedule a convenient appointment time.