Fact or Fiction: The Most Common Myths about Mouthwash

When used properly, mouthwash can be of big benefit to your oral health. Yet there seems to be quite a few common misconceptions about mouth rinses. Can you separate common mouthwash myths from the facts? Let’s find out!

  • Mouthwash cures bad breath. False – While mouthwash can certainly reduce bad breath, the effects are not long-term. Saliva dilutes the effects of mouthwash and some causes of bad breath reside in the lungs, not the mouth. Also, bad breath may actually be a symptom of something greater—such as stomach issues—and therefore is only masked by the effects of mouthwash.
  • Mouthwash fights gum disease. True – Bacteria that lingers on the teeth can cause gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. By using mouthwash, you can prevent the bacteria that would otherwise infect the gums and dental sockets.
  • Mouthwash can replace brushing if necessary. False – Mouthwash can help to reduce the level of bacteria in the mouth, but it cannot remove food residue and plaque as effectively as brushing. For this reason, mouthwash should only be used as a supplement to your oral care routine.
  • Mouthwash fights cavities.
 True – Fluoride rinse is an excellent method to help fight cavities. It strengthens your enamel and demineralizes your teeth, allowing it to prevent tooth decay. Therefore, mouthwash is a vital part of any oral health regimen.
  • Mouthwash fights plaque. True – While it doesn’t necessarily remove existing plaque, it does prevent the buildup of plaque. Using mouthwash is an excellent method to keep your teeth healthy, but it must also be paired with brushing and flossing to completely remove plaque from your teeth.
  • All mouthwashes are the same. False – There are a few types of mouthwash that serve different purposes. For example, antibacterial mouthwash will help you to control bad breath and plaque buildup by killing the bacteria that causes it. Fluoride rinse, on the other hand, is intended for those who don’t drink enough fluoridated water to help them prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Prescription rinses are for those suffering from gum disease or gingivitis, as it has bacteria-fighting properties.
  • Pregnant women shouldn’t use mouthwash. 
False – Actually, mouthwash is highly recommended for pregnant women. Prevention of dental issues like gingivitis and cavities can decrease the likelihood of pregnancy complications. By using mouthwash, pregnant women are much less likely to go into early labor.
  • It doesn’t matter how long you rinse with mouthwash. False – The alcohol content in mouthwash can make the rinse sting a bit, so it is understandable why some spit out mouthwash after only a few seconds. However, in order to have effective results, the mouthwash needs to be in contact with your gums and teeth for about 30 seconds. We recommend using the rinse for as long as is written on the instructions for use.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your oral health? Call Valley Dental Care to schedule a regular check-up so you can learn more about how to keep your mouth in good health and improve your smile.