Along with a toothbrush and floss, many Americans keep their bathroom medicine cabinet stocked with a bottle of antiseptic mouthwash. Sold in bright shades of blue, green, purple and more, a quick swig of mouthwash is often the final step in a daily oral hygiene routine. Some people may even skip brushing their teeth and reach for the mouthwash instead when they are in a hurry to leave the house. However, as with any product related to one’s health, it is important to learn all the facts about proper use. In today’s blog post, a dentist in Tyler considers whether daily mouthwash use is beneficial or harmful for one’s health.
Did You Know Mouthwash Contains Sodium?
Like many kinds of toothpaste, some varieties of mouthwash contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent critical for cleaning teeth. However, the cleaning agent is still a source of sodium – something most Americans already consume in excessive amounts.
Accidentally swallowing mouthwash can add to your daily intake of sodium. Although this small amount of sodium will not accumulate over time, it is still important to keep in mind when considering whether or not to use mouthwash every day.
Why Some Mouth Bacteria is Healthy
Many brands of antiseptic or antibacterial mouthwash boast that they will leave your mouth bacteria-free. However, this is not actually good for your oral health! Only a few of the bacteria in your mouth cause illness or cavities – the rest actually form the body’s first line of defense against harmful pathogens. There may be times when wiping out all the bacteria in your mouth is worth it – when disinfecting a wound, for example. However, killing all bacteria indiscriminately with the daily use of antiseptic mouthwash can leave a hole in your immunity and make you more susceptible to illness and disease.
Mouthwash as a Mask for Bad Breath
Many people use mouthwash to freshen up their mouth with a minty breath. However, there is a difference between normal bad breath from eating a garlic-laden dish and bad breath caused by an underlying medical condition. While brushing, flossing and using mouthwash can usually solve the former, if you have cryptic tonsils, incompletely closed wisdom tooth extraction pits, or an underlying disease or infection, using mouthwash will only temporarily mask the unpleasant odor of your breath. To truly eliminate your bad breath, partner with a Tyler dentist to treat the underlying dental health problem.
Being mindful about each step of your oral hygiene routine will help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come. If you do choose to include mouthwash in your routine, choose a brand that is not antiseptic and does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
About the Practice
Gentle Dental Care provides exceptional dental care to individuals and families in Tyler, Whitehouse, Bullard, Lindale, Flint and other East Texas communities. Led by Dr. Keith Garber, the team at Gentle Dental Care strives to ensure that every patient that walks through the door has a caring, positive and enjoyable experience. To learn more about good oral hygiene habits, visit their website or call the office today at 903-581-8882.